Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Twin sister of Apollo. The virgin goddess of hunting, wilderness, and fertility, depicted by a crescent above her forehead. She was accompanied by her nymphs and together they wandered through the forests. Her only weapons were bows and arrows made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes. Artemis was born one day before Apollo. Immediately after her birth, Artemis helped her mother travel to Delos from Ortygia and there she gave birth to Apollo. As a result, Artemis became know as the protector of children and women in labor. Her arrows, however, could bring sudden death to the women giving birth. Artemis had the power to heal, but she could also spread diseases like leprosy, rabies and gout. When she was three years old, Artemis asked her father Zeus to grant her eternal virginity. Since she was possessive of her chastity, she gravely punished any man who tried to take it away from her. Actaeon suffered a grave punishment when while he was hunting, he accidentally came upon Artemis and her nymphs bathing. When Artemis saw that he was watching them, she transformed him into a stag and set his own hounds upon him who tore him up into pieces. Orion suffered a similar fate. One legend among others tells that Orion tried to rape Artemis so she sent a scorpion to kill him and his dog, after which Orion became a constellation and his dog became Sirius, the dog star. Another legend says that Orion and the scorpion that bit him both transformed into the constellation Scorpio. Zeus, disguised as Artemis, seduced one of Artemis’ nymphs, Callisto, who then gave birth to Arcas the ancestor of the Arcadians. When Artemis found out she became enraged and transformed Callisto into a bear. She then killed her with her bow and arrows. Callisto was then transformed into the constellation the Great Bear.
In different areas of Greece she was worshipped as either the goddess of fertility or of the hunt.