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For the genus of moths, see Agrotera (moth).

Agrotera (Gr. Ἀγροτέρα, "the huntress") was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis,[1][2][3] and the most important goddess to Attic hunters.[4]

At Agrae[5] on the Ilissos, where she was believed to have first hunted after her arrival from Delos, Artemis Agrotera had a temple, dating to the 5th century BC, with a statue carrying a bow.[6] During the Boedromia, on the seventh day of Boedromion (roughly, the beginning of September), an armed procession would take 600 goats to this temple,[7][8] where they would all be sacrificed by the polemarch in honor of the victory at the Battle of Marathon. This rite derived from a vow made before the Battle of Marathon,[9] which in turn derived from the custom of making a "slaughter sacrifice", or sphagion (σφάγιον), to Artemis Agrotera before a battle. The temple was destroyed in 1778,[4] when the Ottoman forces occupying Athens set about demolishing ancient sites for building material to construct a wall around the city.[10] The ruins of the temple survive today on Ardettou Street, tightly surrounded by modern buildings. There is an ongoing campaign for the expropriation of adjacent buildings and the restoration of the temple.[11]

Under this name she was also worshiped at Aigeira,[12] Sparta, and elsewhere.[13] The name Agrotera is synonymous with the epithet Agraea, but Eustathius derives it from the town of Agrae.[14][15][16]

This epithet was also sometimes applied to the nymph Cyrene.[17]


  1. ^ Homer, Iliad xxi. 471
  2. ^ Xenophon, Cynegeticus 6.13
  3. ^ Bacchylides, 11.37-42
  4. ^ a b Parker, Robert (2005). Polytheism and Society in Athens. Oxford University Press. pp. 56, 178, 400, 419. ISBN 0-19-921611-8. 
  5. ^ a town or district in the southeast of Athens
  6. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece i. 19. § 7
  7. ^ Plutarch, On the Malice of Herodotus 26, 862a
  8. ^ Aristophanes, in The Knights, places the number of sacrificed goats at 1000, while Aelian records it as 300
  9. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agroteras Thusia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 427. 
  10. ^ Petropoulos, Thrasy (2006-01-12). "Demolition begins on priceless site". Athens News. pp. A05. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  12. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece vii. 26. § 2
  13. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica iv. 2. 20
  14. ^ Eustathius, On the Iliad p. 361
  15. ^ Concerning the worship of Artemis Agrotera at Athens, see Dict. of Ant. s.v. Ἀγροτέρας ζυσία, p. 31.
  16. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Agrotera". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 83. 
  17. ^ Pindar, Pythian Odes 9.6

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

External links[edit]

  • - information on the archaeological site of the temple of Artemis Agrotera