Artemis and Orion: The Heartbreaking Tale of a Mortal and a Goddess

Artemis and orion all you need to knowArtemis and Orion in Greek mythology are lovers who faced a tragic ending in their love story. The relationship between Orion, a mere mortal, and Artemis, the goddess of hunting, was devastated by none other than her twin brother, Apollo, who was provoked by his jealousy. 

Read on to know more information about these characters.

Who Are Artemis and Orion?

Artemis is the Greek goddess of hunting, vegetation, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, and chastity in ancient Greek mythology and religion. Orion was gifted with a fine physique, and good looks, possessing great prowess as a hunter despite being a mere mortal. They were lovers who hunted together.

Artemis and Orion Love Story

The story of Artemis and Orion and Apollo was another version that led to Orion’s tragic demise. There was a spreading story about Actaeon’s death at the hands of Artemis, but as brave as he is, Orion ignored this horrifying story and continued his journey to the forest where the goddess hunts because he was said to be passionately in love with Merope, one of Artemis’ nymphs.

He continued following Merope wherever she goes while keeping his distance from the goddess. One day, as he was hunting together with his dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, he saw something white in the bushes. He advanced stealthily, thinking it was a flock of birds. He instantaneously realized it was the seven nymphs dressed in white tunics when he was near.

The nymphs ran off as fast as the wind, but Orion chased them as quickly for he was big and strong. Just as he reached out to grasp Merope, the nymph cried out for help and Artemis immediately acted as if she heard them. The goddess turned the nymphs into flocks of white doves and they flew away.

As they soared higher, Artemis asked Zeus to help them. The nymphs were suddenly turned into a cluster of seven stars and lived together in the sky. Afterward, people called them “Pleiades” or the “Seven Sisters.” The goddess, later on, approached Orion but was dazzled by the huntsman’s appearance, strength, and courage.

Artemis and Orion’s Friendship

Soon, Artemis and Orion became fast friends. They spent time exploring the forest and hunting together, challenging each other to relays and archery competitions. At nighttime, they entertained each other by telling stories while sitting by a fire, and the forests were filled with their laughter.

Unknown to them, Apollo became jealous of their friendship. He wondered how his twin sister can love a mere mortal. Artemis told him that Orion was heroic, and that made Apollo furious. He plotted a plan against Orion right away.

Artemis and Orion Lovers

Artemis and Orion fell madly in love with each other; they became lovers, friends, and each other’s companions when hunting wild animals or exploring the forests. Artemis was very fond of Orion, the only person she ever cared for.

You may find it a bit odd that Artemis has a love story because she mostly spent her life hunting and doesn’t have much interaction with her followers. Well, maybe it was a clear indication that her love for Orion was real. But sadly, their love story is not the ideal one that has a delightful ending.

Other stories revealed that there were also minor deities who tried to pursue Artemis, but all ended in rejection. Her refusal of the river god Alpheus led him to kidnap her. It came to her knowledge that Alpheus was coming to get her as his new bride so she covered her face with mud. The deity did not recognize her and just walked past her. The goddess eventually ran away unharmed.

The Scorpion

While Orion was sleeping, he dreamed about a giant scorpion appearing in the forest to challenge him. He immediately reached for his sword and hit the scorpion, but he could not pierce its armor. They fought all night long. The scorpion almost pierced his heart when he woke up, but then he realized that it was just a nightmare.

He got up and walked outside drenched in sweat and shocked to see that the scorpion from his dream was in front of him. Apollo sent the scorpion to kill Orion. He immediately battled with the scorpion and similar to his dream, he could not pierce the scorpion’s armor. The creature moved closer and closer to him which makes him decide to swim off from shore.

While Orion was escaping from the creature, Apollo approached his sister and told her that Candaeon, an evil man who attacked a forest priestess, was there trying to flee by swimming across the sea. The idea of someone who attacked her own people infuriated Artemis. She went to the sea straight away, and Apollo quickly pointed out the man swimming far out in the sea whom she did not think was Orion.

Artemis’s Arrow

Artemis abruptly released her arrow, and it accurately hit the right spot – her Orion. Confused by her brother’s relief, she instantly realizes that it was the man whom she loved. Apollo tricked her. She desperately swam out to the sea, hoping she could still revive Orion. However, she was too late, as the huntsman’s spirit already departed his body.

In the famous version of their love story, Artemis killed Orion by accident because of Apollo’s deception. While swimming away to escape from a monstrous scorpion sent by Apollo, the goddess threw her arrow accurately without recognizing who the person really was as she can only see his head in the distance. Apollo’s overprotectiveness toward his sister and jealousy of her love for Orion leads to the death of the hunter. He cleverly manipulates his sister to do the deed to avoid future conflict.

Full of anguish and regret, the goddess took Orion’s body using her silver moon chariot and placed her lover in the sky as a tribute to her friend who bears the same name, the Orion constellation.

The story of the tragedy between them spread across Crete. Artemis appealed to Asclepius, the god of medicine who specialized in healing, to bring Orion back to life but Zeus refused the idea of bringing the dead back to life as there was a fine line between gods and mere mortals. Orion then gains immortality by living among the stars in the sky.

The Stories of Orion

There are several ancient accounts of the story of Orion. Most of the myths are contradictory and varied. One of the references says that he was born in Boeotia with the ability to walk on water granted by his father Poseidon. He once became a huntsman for King Oinopion of Chios but was blinded and banished from the island after raping Merope, the king’s daughter.

Orion navigated across the sea to Lemnos to seek help in recovering his sight. He appealed to the god Hephaistos who sent him to the rising place of the sun where Helios brought back his vision. As he returned to Greece, he looked for Oinopion with the wish to obtain his revenge, but the king hid in an underground chamber made of bronze.

Different Versions of Orion’s Life

One of the most famous stories from various accounts of Orion’s death is when he boasted that he would hunt down and kill all the beasts of the Earth. His bragging angered Mother Earth, Gaia, who took his boasting as a threat. Thus, she decided to send a scorpion to put an end to Orion’s life. The scorpion and Orion were then placed among the stars as constellations that opposed each other where one rises as the other sets—the Scorpio and Orion constellation.

However, in a different version, Artemis killed Orion for raping her handmaiden named Oupis. There was also a reference that Artemis slew Orion for trying to rape her. The stories linked to Orion have a resemblance to those about other mythical hunters in the region of Boeotia.

One example was the hunter Cephalus, who was said to have been seduced by the goddess Eos. Another was the Boeotian giant named Tityos who was killed by Apollo and Artemis using their bows and arrows for attempting to violate the goddess Leto the way Orion attacked Oupis.

Also, there is the story of Actaeon who was killed by Artemis while hunting in the forest. Based on some legends, the young man Actaeon walked past Artemis while she was bathing in the sacred pool. Actaeon was captivated by the beauty of the goddess, so he stood still. When Artemis saw the young man, she threw a handful of water and turned Actaeon into a stag as the drops touched his skin.

FAQ

Why Was Artemis Famous?

Artemis was famous because she is the daughter of the goddess of music, Leto, and the mighty king of the gods, Zeus. She was considered the most prominent lunar deity, together with the other Moon goddesses, Selene and Hecate. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Diana.

Her twin brother is Apollo, with whom she has a pretty strong relationship. They were both born for greatness. Apollo was a major Greek god associated with music, bow, and divination. Meanwhile, Artemis was the favorite goddess among their rural populace. Both of them are considered kourotrophic deities or protectors of young children, especially young girls.

Artemis, as a child, wished to be a great explorer and huntress. She lived in the mountain forests of Arcadia together with the seven nymphs given by her father Zeus to protect her. She received a bow and arrow made of pure silver from the Cyclops and hounds gifted by Pan to help her hunt. Her archery skills became exceptional and rivaled even those of Apollo. She spent days and nights hunting the silent forest that mortals stayed clear of to avoid upsetting the goddess.

Conclusion

Artemis and Orion’s love affair led to a heartbreaking moment as fast as their friendship led to something beautiful. However, it is not really surprising because tragic love stories are common in Greek mythology.Artemis and orion tragic love story

  • Artemis is the Greek goddess of hunting.
  • Artemis and Orion’s love for each other was forbidden because he was a mortal and she was a goddess.
  • They both have a love for hunting, which is why they became friends and then fell in love.
  • Apollo’s jealousy led to Orion’s death, as he was shot by an arrow by Artemis because she didn’t know it wasn’t him, she thought he was an animal to hunt.
  • Orion’s life ended by becoming a constellation because she wanted him to live forever.

This is yet another story that gives you butterflies in your stomach but then quickly turns into a tragedy. However, this story at least makes us look up to the stars each night and realize there is still beauty hidden even in the most tragic moments.

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