Exceptional in Wisdom and Deed: the Homeric Hymns to Artemis

Homeric Hymn to Artemis [9]

“Sing of Artemis, Muse, the far-shooter’s sister,
The archer maiden, Apollo’s playmate.
She has her horses drink from the reed-growing Meles,
Then drives her chariot quickly through Smyrna
To vine-growing Klaros, where Silverbow Apollo
Is seated, waiting for the far-shooting Archer.
Greetings to you and all goddesses with my song.
I begin to sing you and with your strength.
Now that I have begun, I turn to a different hymn.”

Ἄρτεμιν ὕμνει, Μοῦσα, κασιγνήτην Ἑκάτοιο,
παρθένον ἰοχέαιραν, ὁμότροφον Ἀπόλλωνος,
ἥ θ᾿ ἵππους ἄρσασα βαθυσχοίνοιο Μέλητος
ῥίμφα διὰ Σμύρνης παγχρύσεον ἅρμα διώκει
ἐς Κλάρον ἀμπελόεσσαν, ὅθ᾿ ἀργυρότοξος Ἀπόλλων
ἧσται μιμνάζων ἑκατηβόλον Ἰοχέαιραν.
καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε θεαί θ᾿ ἅμα πᾶσαι ἀοιδῆι·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ σέ τε πρῶτα καὶ ἐκ σέθεν ἄρχομ᾿ἀείδειν.
{σέο δ᾿ ἐγὼ ἀρξάμενος μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς

Homeric Hymn to Artemis [27]

“I am singing of glorious Artemis with her golden missile,
That reverent maiden, the deer-shooting archer,
The twin sister of Apollo, the god of the golden sword.

She delights in hunting through the shaded mountains
And the peaks shaped by winds, aiming her golden bow
And releasing deadly, sorrowful shots. The mountains
Tremble at her passing; the forests echo terribly
From the cries of the beasts. The earth itself bristles
Along with the fish-filled sea. But with her courageous heart
She takes every turn, bringing murder to the wild creatures.

But when the animal watcher, the archer, is pleased
And has lightened her mind, she packs up her bent bow
And returns to her dear brother’s great home,
Joining Phoebus Apollo in the rich realm of the Delphians,
To help guide the Muses and Graces in their beautiful dance.

That’s where she hangs up her back-curved bow and leaves
Her arrows, putting a gorgeous gown over her skin
And leading the chorus out to sing in immortal voices
A hymn for fine-ankled Leto, how she bore two children
By far the best of the immortals in wisdom and deeds.
Greetings, children of Zeus and fine-haired Leto.
I will keep you in my memory with another song too.”

Ἄρτεμιν ἀείδω χρυσηλάκατον κελαδεινήν,
παρθένον αἰδοίην ἐλαφηβόλον ἰοχέαιραν,
αὐτοκασιγνήτην χρυσαόρου Ἀπόλλωνος,
ἣ κατ᾿ ὄρη σκιόεντα καὶ ἄκριας ἠνεμοέσσας
ἄγρηι τερπομένη παγχρύσεα τόξα τιταίνει,
πέμπουσα στονόεντα βέλη· τρομέει δὲ κάρηνα
ὑψηλῶν ὀρέων, ἰαχεῖ δ᾿ ἔπι δάσκιος ὕλη
δεινὸν ὑπὸ κλαγγῆς θηρῶν, φρίσσει δέ τε γαῖα
πόντός τ᾿ ἰχθυόεις· ἣ δ᾿ ἄλκιμον ἦτορ ἔχουσα
πάντηι ἐπιστρέφεται θηρῶν ὀλέκουσα γενέθλην.
αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν τερφθῆι θηροσκόπος Ἰοχέαιρα,
εὐφρήνηι δὲ νόον, χαλάσασ᾿ εὐκαμπέα τόξα
ἔρχεται ἐς μέγα δῶμα κασιγνήτοιο φίλοιο
Φοίβου Ἀπόλλωνος, Δελφῶν ἐς πίονα δῆμον,
Μουσῶν καὶ Χαρίτων καλὸν χορὸν ἀρτυνέουσα.
ἔνθα κατακρεμάσασα παλίντονα τόξα καὶ ἰούς
ἡγεῖται, χαρίεντα περὶ χροῒ κόσμον ἔχουσα,
ἐξάρχουσα χορούς· αἳ δ᾿ ἀμβροσίην ὄπ᾿ ἰεῖσαι
ὑμνέουσιν Λητὼ καλλίσφυρον, ὡς τέκε παῖδας
ἀθανάτων βουλῆι τε καὶ ἔργμασιν ἔξοχ᾿ ἀρίστους.
χαίρετε, τέκνα Διὸς καὶ Λητοῦς ἠϋκόμοιο·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὑμέων <τε> καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ᾿ ἀοιδῆς.

Red Fi=figure of Artemis holding a bow looking to the right
Red Figure vase with Artemis, München, Staatliche Antikensammlungen NI 7514

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