Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Artemis and Archery

#Artemis and #Archery
some thoughts on the depiction of Artemis as an Archeress
The #greek #goddess NOT the fictional DC comics Amazon!

Many of you may have seen statues of Artemis wearing a short tunic with a hunting hound or deer by her side and presumed the images were Classical Greek art when they were actually Roman Dianas or Hellenistic works.

However the oldest known images of Artemis generally show her in her aspect as Potnia Theron Mistress of Animals like this Corinthian vessel from about 640 BCE



Artemis begins to be shown as an Archeress in the late Archaic and Classical period on vessels like these:


Artemis with her brother Apollo



Artemis firing her bow


Notice that she's shown wearing long robes not the sleeveless huntsman tunic of later art and NO ARM GUARD or Bracer.

With the Scythian Archers patrolling the streets of Athens artists must have been aware there were other styles of archery and bow shapes. Or were they?

I am wondering perhaps if a partial inspiration of this was some unknown ritual involving priestesses shooting a bow since as far as we know even upper class aristocratic women did not practise archery as a sport or hunt even in Sparta?

Another possibility is that potters and painters of pottery simply didn't get out of the studio often and observe actual archers?

Or being aware of Persian archers they were trying to make Artemis look as Greek as possible?