Thursday, April 5, 2007

on further thought

While I certainly wasn’t thinking about it at the time, the story of Niobe isn’t entirely fair to Artemis. It’s true that Artemis spent most of her time killing wild animals and various people who offended her (she was, after all, the goddess of the hunt). But she was also the goddess that women prayed to when giving birth.

Artemis and Apollo were twins, and Artemis, who was born first and apparently quite precocious, helped her mother to deliver her brother. She was therefore the goddess of midwives and of childbirth and gave women in labor the gift of a safe birth or an easy death.

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