ARTEMIS (AR-ti-mis) was the virgin goddess of the hunt, moon, and chastity. She helped women in childbirth but also brought sudden death with her arrows. Artemis and her twin brother Apollo were the children of Zeus and Leto. In some versions of the myth, Artemis was born first and helped her mother to deliver Apollo.
Niobe, queen of Thebes, once boasted that she was better than Leto because she had many children while the goddess had but two. Artemis and Apollo avenged this insult to their mother by killing all or most of Niobe's children with their arrows. The weeping Niobe was transformed into stone, in which form she continued to weep.
For a while, Orion, son of Poseidon, a mighty hunter also, dwelt with her, but this did not please Apollo. One day, while Orion was swimming in the sea, Apollo challenged his sister to an archery contest. The contest was to see who could be the first to hit a bobbing black target in the sea. Artemis took aim and hit it squarely. Of course, the object was Orion’s head and Apollo had tricked her into killing him. Upon realisation of her error, Artemis took Orion and placed him among the stars.
Artemis is connected with another hunter, Actaeon, the grandson of Cadmus of Thebes. While on his return from a hunting trip, Actaeon, heard noises coming from a glade in the forest, upon rounding a large tree, he gazed upon the beautiful Artemis bathing with some nymphs. Fearful that Actaeon would tell all about his chance meeting with the goddess, Artemis prevented him from leaving the forest by changing him into a stag, and the fifty hunting dogs that Actaeon had with him promptly devoured him.
Artemis is generally depicted as a young woman clad in buckskins, carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. She is often accompanied by wild creatures such as a stag or she-bear.