Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Artemis Bust

Roman copy of the statue of Artemis by Kephisodotos
4th century BC  
Made from Carrara marble
Located: Palazzo dei Conservatori, first floor, hall of the Tauriani-Vettiani

The Greek goddess Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, a mortal female, and the twin sister of Apollo, the sun god. Artemis became the moon goddess and rode her silver chariot across the sky every night. She used her silver arrows to shoot beams of moonlight down upon the earth. This sharpshooting goddess also became known as the goddess of the hunt.

Even though she was the chief huntress for the Greek gods and goddesses, Artemis also offered her divine protection to the wild animals, especially the young ones. While all animals are sacred to Artemis, she had a particular fondness for the deer of the forest. She was typically accompanied on her journeys by a stag, nymphs and her hunting dogs.

Artemis gained Zeus’ approval to remain an eternal virgin. She neither consorted with males, nor did she bow to their leadership. Artemis punished numerous men for offending her and killed any guy unfortunate enough to see her. She would rush to aid any female who asked for her help, however. Greek women having trouble with childbirth would ask her to relieve their pain with her silver arrows. Dying females often begged Artemis to grant them fast and painless deaths.

Artemis is associated with Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt. The Greeks usually depicted Artemis as a tall, slim female who roamed the forest in silver, flat-heeled sandals and a short tunic. Females of the time customarily wore long tunics, but Artemis’ shorter garments allowed her to move freely while she hunted. She’s almost always shown carrying her bow with a quiver of arrows slung across her back.


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