britomartis

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britomartis

Cretan goddess sometimes identified with the Greek Artemis. According to Callimachus in Hymn 3 (3rd century BC), Britomartis was a daughter of Zeus (king of the gods) and lived in Crete; she was a huntress and a virgin. Minos, king of Crete, fell in love with her and pursued her for nine months until she, in desperation, leapt from a high cliff into the sea. She was caught in fishermen's nets and hauled to safety. For her chastity she was rewarded by Artemis with immortality. She was worshipped as Dictynna, goddess of the nets (dictys) or of Cretan Mount Dicte. The Greeks also identified her with Aphaea, a primitive local goddess of Aegina whose temple there is famous for its pedimental sculptures.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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