Homeric Hymns to Artemis

Diana of Versailles
I sing of Artemis, whose shafts are of gold, who cheers on the hounds, the pure maiden, shooter of stags, who delights in archery, own sister to Apollo with the golden sword. Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earthquakes and the sea also where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is satisfied and has cheered her heart, this huntress who delights in arrows slackens her supple bow and goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoebus Apollo, to the rich land of Delphi, there to order the lovely dance of the Muses and Graces. There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and in deed. [Image: Diana of Versailles; Roman copy of a Hellenistic original.]

Homeric Hymn XXVII.Trans. H.G. Evelyn-White.

Artemis as Mistress of Beasts

Muse, sing of Artemis, sister of the Far-shooter, the virgin who delights in arrows, who was fostered with Apollo. She waters her horses from Meles deep in reeds, and swiftly drives her all-golden chariot through Smyrna to vine-clad Claros where Apollo, god of the silver bow, sits waiting for the far-shooting goddess who delights in arrows.

[Image: Artemis as Mistress of Beasts (Potnia Theron); from a Boeotian vase, c. 700 BC. Greek religion assumed that a symbiotic relationship existed between hunter and hunted, and Artemis is both a killer of wild animals and their protectress: "Thou who art gracious to the tender cubs of lions, and all the suckling young of roving beasts" -- Aeschylus, Agamemnon 134.]

Homeric Hymn IX. Trans. H.G. Evelyn-White.


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