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 Artemis Orthia - is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly.

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Presentation on theme: " Artemis Orthia - is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly."— Presentation transcript:


2  Artemis Orthia - is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities).  Poseidon – god of the sea  Apollo – god of music, prophecies, poetry, and archery. Also said to be the god of light and truth. Is associated with the sun. He is Artemis's twin brother.

3  Artemis was the goddess of fertility and childbirth, protector of children and women’s health. She was associated with forests and uncultivated places. She is sometimes called the "mistress of the wild thing" and is shown in art as a woman (sometimes with wings) holding animals. Orthia was an earlier Spartan goddess about whom little is known. The combining of the two deities became a particular Spartan religious observance.  The sanctuary of Artemis Orthia stood near the Eurotas River outside the centre of Sparta. Here there were temples, altars and an area for spectators. Below is a photograph of the ruins of the Temple of Artemis Orthia as it appears today. Beyond, in the distance, are the Taygetos mountains.


5  The cult had the following features: May / June was a time of separation of young men in the wild and a cheese-stealing ritual at the altar of Artemis Orthia. The altar was defended by older youths with whips.  An endurance test took place in front of family and friends. Songs and dances were followed by a parade of the young men in fine clothes after their ordeal.  At the site archaeologists have found many small votive lead figurines and masks used in the cult.

6  Lycurgus – his ‘life’ written about by Plutarch.  He was supposedly the legendary ‘lawgiver’ who organised the Spartan state along military lines.  Scholars argue as to whether he existed at all, was 3 men or to what extent he changed Spartan society.

7  Helen of Troy was originally Helen of Sparta – the wife of Menelaus and the most beautiful woman in Greece.  The Dioscuri were Castor and Polydeuces (or Pollux), the twin sons of Leda and Zeus and the brothers of Helen of Troy.  Pollux was a formidable boxer, and Castor was a great horseman. Together, they were the "Heavenly Twins," often associated with the constellation Gemini.  Castor and Pollux abducted and married Phoebe and Hilaeira, the daughters of Leucippus; Castor was then killed in a battle.  Pollux was granted immortality by Zeus, but he persuaded Zeus to allow him to share the gift with Castor. As a result, the two spend alternate days on Olympus (as gods) and in Hades (as deceased mortals).


9  They were the chief priests.  They made all public sacrifices.  One king would have run festivals.

10  Graves only for men who die in battle OR women who die in childbirth = HEROES.  The rest buried in unmarked graves or may have been cremated.  Only funerary customs we know of are for kings.

11  It is Herodotus who gives us details of the events that took place following the death of a Spartan king.  When a Spartan king died, horsemen travelled all over Lakonia, informing the inhabitants.  In the city of Sparta itself, women went around beating a cauldron.  After this, two people from each house, a man and a woman, were expected to join in the mourning. Failure to do so resulted in heavy penalties.  All residents of Sparta joined in the mourning, striking their foreheads as a sign of their grief.  For a period of ten days following the burial of the king, meetings were not permitted for markets or to ordain or to select magistrates.




15  This was "The Festival of the Unarmed Boys". The festival was held in the Spartan agora (market place). It commemorated the Battle of Thyrea fought against Argos c.550 B.C.  The festival featured: choral performances; the setting up of images of Apollo and Artemis; “boxing” amongst boys and men.  Although much has been written about the violent aspect of the festival, it has been interpreted as a "rite of passage" on the way to manhood, an initiation that indicated membership or belonging to the community. In it we see the whole warrior code to initiate the young soldier to a life of physical excellence, a life that would involve enduring pain for the good of the Spartan state.

16  Interestingly, older men (about 30) who were unmarried or without children (agamoi) were not permitted to participate.  Perhaps it was felt that they had not made that very important contribution to the Spartan state: healthy children!

17  The Karneia, a harvest festival celebrated for nine days during the month of August (late summer), was an extremely important festival for the Spartans.  It was a celebration of migration, the colonisation of the city, the foundation of the Doric peoples and of various military events.  For this celebration, the men were divided up into nine groups of three phratries who dined together and each occupied a skias, an area which contained tents.  In addition, some citizens carried models of rafts, which also symbolised the coming of the Dorians.  These activities were to represent the early history of Sparta, including the migration and colonization.

18  Another aspect of this festival was the foot-race, which resembled a chase of prey, rather than your standard race. One young man, who first prayed to the city-gods, ran while other unmarried men, who were called the staphulodromoi (grape- cluster runners), chased him.  The young man ahead of the rest was dressed in woollen fillets (ribbons around the head), which was similar to an account of human sacrifice by the Thessalians as described by Herodotos and is possibly derived from an earlier celebration of Karneios.  If they caught the frontrunner, it was a good omen for the state and, if not, the future was bleak. The consequences of this race and the chasing of a human are rather interesting as it was primarily the agamoi who participated.  Five unmarried people, called the karneatai, were chosen from each phyle to cover the costs of the festivals, including both sacrifice and chorus. (In early Sparta, the Karneia was a musical festival which included both men and women and a dance of armed men.)

19  Demetrios of Skepis described the Karneia and the games as a reflection of the military training system, which has been echoed by many modern scholars in an attempt to understand this festival.  Overall, the Karneia had a communal aspect, emphasising heroic exploits. However, another point to be made is the pacifist nature of the Karneia.  During the festival, Spartans were not allowed to venture to wars or battles. This was the reason behind the late arrival of the Spartans at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.

20  This was a festival named after Hyakinthos, a youth who was lover of the god Apollo and died when Apollo accidentally hit him with a discus.  The flower of the red hyacinth was believed to have sprung from his blood. In his grief, Apollo ordained an annual festival.  This festival was held at the ancient shrine of Amyclae (about five kilometers from Sparta). This site was the location of a huge statue of Apollo, the tomb of Hyakinthos and an open area for festival dances.  The festival took place over three days in the (summer) month of July.

21  Athenaeus, writing in the 2 nd century A.D., has given an account of this festival which basically revolves around mourning for Hyakinthos and praise of Apollo: The festival had TWO stages:  The first stage involved rites of sorrow and mourning in honour of Hyakinthos. There was a ban on the wearing of wreaths and on joyful songs. Offerings were placed at the dead youth’s tomb. The eating of bread and cakes was forbidden; there was a special funeral meal, then a day of ritual grief.

22 The second stage involved rejoicing in honour of Apollo, the wearing of wreaths, the singing of joyful songs, sacrifice to Apollo, a festive meal, a procession to Amyclae, choral song and dance. The historian Hooker has interpreted the festival as a festival for the dead on one hand, combined with a thanksgiving for life on the other.

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