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ARTEMIS PAGE TWO
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As always in Greek Mythology, Artemis also had her dark side,
showing her as a fierce and vengeful warrior.
although she is the protector of the young, she kept the Greek
Fleet from sailing to Troy, until Iphigenia, a royal maiden,
daughter of the Commander in Chief Agamemnon was sacrificed to
Why? Because the Greek soldiers killed one of her creatures, a
hare, together with her young.
On the other hand, when women died a quick and painless death,
they were said to have been slain by Artemis’ silver arrows.
Artemis was vindictive and there were many who suffered from her
anger. One of her actions was to join Apollo in killing the
children on Niobe. This is a fascinating story, and it served to
remind the ancient Greeks not to disrespect the deities, a
lesson in what is called "hubris":
Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus and married to Amphion, king of
Thebes, by whom she became the mother of six fine sons and six
daughters. Other poets attribute to her four, six, eight,
twelve, eighteen or twenty children. Take your pick.
Being proud of the large number and perceived godly qualities of her children, the foolish Queen
deemed herself superior to Leto, who, as Niobe mockingly said, had given birth to only two
She was bold enough to proclaim as much to the citizens of
Thebes, asking why they would deign worship distant gods when
her godly children were right here on earth, ready to be adored
Apollo and Artemis would have none of this impudence and
disrespect shown to their mother. Indignant at such presumption,
the twins proceeded in cold blood to slay all the children of Niobe.
According to the poet Homer all the children of Niobe fell by
the arrows of Apollo and Artemis; but later writers state that
one of her sons, Amphion or Amyclas, and one of her daughters, Meliboea,
However, Meliboea turned pale with terror at the
sight of her dying brothers and sisters, and was afterwards
For nine days their bodies lay in their blood without any one
burying them, for Zeus had changed the people into stones; but
on the tenth day the gods themselves saw fit to put them under
the ground, unable to tolerate the rank stench.
The time and place at which the children of Niobe were destroyed
are likewise stated differently. According to Homer, they
perished in their mother's house; and, according to Apollodorus,
the sons were killed by Apollo during the deadly chase on mount
Cithaeron, and the daughters by Artemis at Thebes, not far from
the royal palace.
According to Ovid, the sons were slain while they were engaged
in gymnastic exercises in a plain near Thebes, and the daughters
during the funeral of their brothers, ironically enough.
A repentant and disconsolate Niobe, after the death of her
children, went from Thebes to Lydia, the home of her father
Tantalus, where Zeus, at her own request, metamorphosed her into
a stone, which during the summer always sheds tears of regret
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