Classical Greek Mythology

Origins of the Greek Gods

What are Artemis’s origins?

Artemis, too, originated in the East, probably in Anatolia where the great Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Selcuk, Turkey), finished in 550 B.C.E., was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Anatolian Artemis existed long before the completion of that temple and was famously depicted as a fertility goddess with her chest and stomach covered by what have traditionally been identified as breasts but which many modern scholars have decided are bull testicles or gourds.

Whether breasts, testicles, or gourds, the Artemis at Ephesus had been associated mythologically with other Earth mothers, including the Cybele, the great mother of the Phrygians, also worshiped in Anatolia. When the Greeks included her among their Olympian family, they stripped her of her fertility aspect and made her a virgin huntress and the twin sister of Apollo.


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