Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt (Hades: Supergiant Games):
Artemis, like many figures in mythology, had multiple sides to her identity as a goddess. Artemis was primarily associated with wildlife, archery, and virginity. Traditionally, Artemis was portrayed equipped with bow and quiver, wearing a chiton and hunting boots. The portrayal of Artemis within the game Hades released by Supergiant Games heavily trends towards representing Artemis as potnia theron, or mistress of wild animals, and draws upon traditional depictions of Artemis throughout myth and ancient art.
As was mentioned in the lectures from Lesson 4, historical depictions of Artemis as potnia theron included representations of Artemis with wings and grasping animals in both hands. Artemis’ grasping of animals by the throat displays her total control over wildlife. In addition, the specific placement of Artemis’ grip on the wildlife’s throats is important to note, as the throat is one of the most vulnerable areas on a living being’s body. This further demonstrates the culling and total control Artemis held over the lives of wild animals.
In Supergiant Games’ depiction of Artemis, she is depicted as a woodland huntress moreso than a goddess. Artemis’ attire consists of a cloak, archery brace, headpiece, hunting boots, quiver, and a fur stole. Artemis wears a dress that is cut short in order to allow her to move freely on the hunt and not constrict movement, prioritizing practicality and freedom of movement over regality or fashion. Likewise, her hunting boots, bow, and quiver are also standard articles of hunting equipment. Supergiant Games’ depiction of Artemis is perhaps more primal and wild than that of classic Ancient Greek or Roman depictions. Moving away from the refined nobility of gods and goddesses, Artemis in this representation is a huntress through and through. Artemis looks less divine and more earthly, as is emphasized by the color scheme used in the character model. Artemis and her attire are all various shades of green and brown - muted colors generally associated with the earth and nature, in contrast with colors such as white or gold that are often associated with regality and divinity. To further reinforce the relationship between Artemis and nature, her stole, archery brace, and headdress incorporate animal features such as tails, fur, and antlers. Artemis is designed to look like an entity that is completely integrated with her environment, which is earthly instead of godly.
In contrast with ancient depictions of a potnia theron, Artemis in this iteration is not grasping animals by the throat in each hand. Instead, Artemis is accompanied by three birds perched on her bow. It is important to note the position of the birds relative to Artemis; they are directly to the side of her and occupy only a small portion of the lower half of the character model. The birds are worthy companions of Artemis, so much so that they are allowed to exist side by side with her, even if they are of lesser import than the goddess. This shift from a depiction of control over wildlife to partnership focuses less on Artemis’ role as a culling entity and more as a caretaker and companion of wildlife. References to Artemis’ existence as a twin and opposite of Apollo (the sun) are seen in this interpretation through the presence of a moon symbol on Artemis’ collarbone as well as in her headpiece. The headpiece is an interesting aspect of Artemis’ attire, showing what appear to be different stages of the moon encircling her head. In this way, while Artemis’ connection to wildlife and the earth is emphasized, her divine and heavenly connections are not ignored completely.
As an ancient Greek goddess, Artemis has been portrayed in an infinite amount of different ways across centuries. Some portrayals focus on Artemis’ connection with the moon, others on her connection to purity and virginity, and others on her existence as potnia theron. Supergiant Games, in their depiction of Artemis decided to emphasize the primal nature and earthly characteristics of a hunter goddess while recognizing the stature and nobility of an Olympian.
Artemis, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus:
Artemis is one of the three maiden goddesses of Olympus, and in Greek religion is considered the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, chastity, and childbirth. The Romans recognized her as Diana. She is fierce and strong, and will not hesitate to destroy those who mean to harm the ones she protects. She is well-known for her skills in hunting, her perfect aim, and sharp focus. Artemis was the daughter of Leto and Zeus and also had a twin brother named Apollo. She is usually depicted as a young maiden huntress that wears a skirt or white drapes, boots, a bow accompanied with a quiver of arrows, and a dog or deer close behind.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a prominent and pinnacle location for the followers of Artemis. It rose sometime before 7th century BC, which was the first record of the temple when it was destroyed in a flood. During the rule of King Croesus of Lydia, he ordered the temple to be rebuilt out of marble. It was built in 550 BC, but again was destroyed by fire in 356 BC. There was a myth that the fire was able to destroy the temple because Artemis was away assisting in the birth of Alexander the Great and couldn’t protect the temple. But the following of Artemis was strong and it was rebuilt, larger and stronger than it ever was over the course of 120 years. It was on a 425 feet by 239 feet platform (Niles). The temple was 342 feet by 163 feet, with 127 60 feet-tall columns that supported the temple (Niles). To protect it from more disaster and destruction, it was built northeast of the city on soft marsh-like ground so that the temple could weather earthquakes (Niles). The followers of Artemis were sometimes called the Cult of Artemis because of its strength and perseverance in the constant destruction of their pinnacle site of worship. The cult remained strong in Ephesus until Christianity swept over most of the world. And the temple was destroyed yet again in 262 AD, but this time by the Goths, which is a tribe from present-day Germany. With the destruction of the temple and the presence of Christianity, the temple was never rebuilt again and the Cult and worship of Artemis faded into history. All that remains are fragments of the temple and its memory of being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Death of Actaeon, Titian, 1559-1575, National Gallery, London, UK (Late Renaissance Mythological painting)
Artemis, Death of Actaeon
The Death of Actaeon is an artwork painted in oil on canvas by Titian, an Italian Renaissance painter. Under his excellent brushwork, Titian portrayed the tragic death of hunter Actaeon as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. While the ardent hunter lost his way in the woods, he, unfortunately, stumbled upon the goddess Diana and caught a glimpse of the divinity when she was bathing in nudity. Young Actaeon received his punishment instantly as Diana turned him into a stag so that he could never reveal what he saw to others. In the Death of Actaeon, Titian illustrated vividly the scene in which Actaeon was hunted down and eventually killed by his hounds. The history and underline meaning behind this exceptional art piece were certainly worth studying.
As one of the six mythologies that Titian created for King Philip II of Spain, the complex painting underwent numerous revisions. Since the Death of Actaeon was produced around the last few years of Titian’s life. The completion of the painting became a well-known subject that scholars constantly argued about. The painting did not make its way to the public’s eye and remained in Titian’s studio until his death. According to documented letters between Titian and King Philip, titian had dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to perfect his work. In the letter, he explained that “the ardent desire that I have to do things that are worthy of Your Majesty, from which it follows that I ...seek always with all my industry to polish and enhance to them (The National Gallery).” The questioning as to whether the painting was finished was due to the examination of Titian’s change of technique. It is believed that Titian might have wished to do different effects on Diana’s dress or to add a string to the bow that she is holding (The National Gallery).
While there is constant debate as to the completion of the painting, the depiction of the scene itself raised varied opinions surrounding the vengeful nature of Artemis.
On the left of the painting stands Artemis with a bow in her hands aiming toward Actaeon depicted as a standing stag. The painting revealed Artemis’s cruelty in defense of her chastity. Artemis’s vengeful nature was not only shown in the story of Actaeon but also in her avenge of Hippolytus’ death and her punishment to Niobe by killing all her daughters. The stories of Artemis’ vengeance may be a reflection of the Athenian attitudes toward violence. In the article “The Ethics of Retaliatory Violence in Athenian Tragedy”, Willian Allan explained that revenge to ancient Athens was considered appropriate and essential. Revenge is a necessary response for it brings honor and reputation to the one being injured or insulted (Allan). To the Athenians, to avenge may be a way to ensure their status in society. Vengeance was to bring punishment to the ones who did wrong and to bring justice to the ones wounded.
Artemis, Piraeus, Statue of Artemis
The statue of Artemis was found in Piraeus, Paris in 1959. It consisted of a pair of bronze statues of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, and chastity. Artemis is one of the twelve Olympians. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto and has a twin brother named Apollo. She is one of the virgin goddesses who was the protector of young girls. Bow, arrows, quiver, and deer are typical symbols of Artemis.
The statue was built around 360 BCE and it was exhibited in an archaeological museum in Piraeus. It was found in a votive pit with two other bronze statues, one of these is the statue of Apollo and another one is the statue of Athena. Even after many centuries, we can still clearly see some details on the statue. The goddess that this statue depicts wears a maiden’s peplos instead of the usual short hunting chiton that Artemis used to wear and her hair is braided at the top of her head according to the archaeological museum of Piraeus. There is a sign showing that the quiver was missing on the back of the statue while the position of fingers indicates that the statue was holding a bow. All characteristics shown on the statue indicate that the statue is likely a late Classical sculpture and attributed to a north-east Peloponnesian workshop and the sculptor might be Euphranor or his school.
Two statues had different heights, one was 1.94 meters while the other one was 1.55 meters. There are slight differences between the two statues. However, they share lots of similarities. These two bronze statues depict the appearance of Artemis very well. Although some parts of these statues were lost, the audience can still explore more about the appearance of Artemis from these statues.
It is great that there are paintings and statues to depict the appearance of the goddess. People are always curious about what goddesses look like when they are reading the myth. Statues and paintings visualize people’s imagination of the goddess. Also, through hints presented on statues or paintings, people can relate these characteristics with the symbol and representation of goddesses. From these artworks, we can also see the status of Greek mythology in people's hearts. Because of the importance of Greek mythology that many portraits, statues, and temples have appeared. And these artworks also carry people's beautiful imaginations of these greek goddesses.
Vincent Pamerleau, Statue of Artemis, October 2nd, 2018, Ubisoft Entertainment, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Statue of Artemis Agrotera
In Ubisoft Entertainment’s 2018 AAA game, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Artemis is presented through the “Statue of Artemis Agrotera” on the island of Mykonos. Along with this many of the divinity’s characteristics are portrayed through the daughters of Artemis and their related “The Goddess’ Hunt” questline. The depiction of the goddess was heavily influenced by historical references and literature. Portraying the level of importance and majesty of a divinity to the player requires great attention to detail which can unfortunately be limited by the medium being used. Pamerleau and his colleagues’ – Hugo Puzzuoli, Nathaniel LaMartina, and Sabin Lalancette – were limited by the fact their work was to be presented in a video game (Pamerleau). Even so, their creation encompasses a large amount of Artemis’ attributes and mythical appearances quite well, however, some alterations and omissions are evident.
In the video game, Artemis is still certainly the goddess of the hunt and wild animals as “agrotera” is a cult epithet meaning “the huntress”. On the statue the player can see many of her iconic attributes present, which we have discussed and seen in class through readings, lectures, and images. As is always an element of the goddess, we see her bow and arrow. Her quiver is out of sight, and presumably hidden behind her clothing but the arrow is present, nonetheless. Her dress, the chiton, and diadem are very clearly inspired from her ‘Diana of Versailles’ statue we were shown in our lectures. Taking a closer look, we can also see the inclusion of what appears to be buskins and a hair ribbon. The pointing of her arrow toward the sky in a stance akin to archers raining down a hail of arrows likely pertains to the “arrow-pouring” epithet from Homer ("Statue).
There are a few key aspects missing from her statue. Her torch is the most important and notable of omissions in the game, present neither on the statue nor on any of her main related stories or quests (“Statue/Darikooistra). There are many alterations made to the goddess and her portrayal, lots of which can be attributed to delegation of characteristics to related content or because of the limitations of the game. Her affiliation with young, nubile, virgin girls, and childbirth is evident in the aforementioned questline involving interactions with “The daughters of Artemis”. They are a cult of unmarried, young, huntresses who worship Artemis and need a champion (Darikooistra). The common affiliation of wild animals – deer, goats, boar, bears, and quails – is missing from the statue yet readily and consistently at hand in the quest line, we are told and even see them partner with wolves, boars, and bears for protection and in battle (Darikooistra). A depiction of an animal with the statue is missing, unlike in the “Diana of Versailles”, and can be seen as “relocated” to the cult of worshippers. Their connection to the wildlife, hunting, and herding, fits well with Artemis’ Homeric epithet potnia theron. The cult can also be seen as a depiction of the epithets locheia, “of childbirth”, and kourotrophos, “child-nourishing”. While Artemis never had any actual children, this group has named themselves her “daughters”, worships her ways, and in a sense draws power and purpose from the goddess. Another difference is the statue’s presence on Mykonos instead of Delos which is a commonly related location and where her twin, Apollo’s, “Colossus of Naxians” stands both in the game and real world (“Colossus).
The developer and designers’ available medium was a video game in which engagement and continuation of the story are very important aspects. Added on to that is the limitation in both map size and average graphical ability of the day’s devices. With these limitations Pamerleau and his colleagues had the task of enlightening the player of a mythical divinity, her domains, and attributes while not detracting from the game and other divinities. Given their restrictions and the drawbacks, causing the statue to be placed away from one of her commonly affiliated locations and forgoing the representation of a torch, they still managed to produce quite a powerful piece. Making alterations was a necessary sacrifice and even so they produced a final product which correlated with what we know of Artemis strongly.
Allan, William. “The Ethics of Retaliatory Violence in Athenian Tragedy.” Mnemosyne, vol. 66, no. 4/5, 2013, pp. 593–615. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24521877. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.
"Colossus of the Naxians." Assassin's Creed Wiki, assassinscreed.fandom.com/wiki/Colossus_of_the_Naxians. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.
Darikooistra, et al. "The Goddesses' Hunt - Assassin's Creed Odyssey Wiki Guide - IGN." IGN, 21 Jan. 2019, www.ign.com/wikis/assassins-creed-odyssey/The_Goddesses%27_Hunt. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.
Ministry of culture and Sports: Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. Ministry of Culture and Sports | Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. (n.d.). http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/4/eh430.jsp?obj_id=4548.
Niles, R. (2019, July 19). The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Drive Thru History®. https://drivethruhistory.com/the-temple-of-artemis-at-ephesus/.
Pamerleau, Vincent. "Assassin's Creed Odyssey Statues." Vincent Pamerleau, vincentpamerleau.artstation.com/projects/zAA0lL. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.
"Statue of Artemis Agrotera." Assassin's Creed Wiki, assassinscreed.fandom.com/wiki/Statue_of_Artemis_Agrotera. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.
The National Gallery, London. “Titian's 'Diana AND ACTAEON'.” The National Gallery, n.d.,www.nationalgallery.org.uk/research/research-papers/titians-diana-and-actaeon?viewPage=3