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Britomartis

In Greek mythology, Britomartis ("sweet maid", "good maiden", "sweet virgin") was a nymph (an Oread) also known as Aphaea and Diktynna. She was also associated with Potnia[?] and Artemis.

Britomartis was worshipped as the Minoan goddess of mountains and hunting.

Britomartis was a daughter of Carme, the daughter of Euboulos, by Zeus. She was pursued by Minos and threw herself into nets to escape him. Artemis made her a goddess (here named Diktynna), patron of mountains, shores, nets and ports. Alternatively, she fled to Aegina, where she was worshipped as Aphaea.

In Minoan art, and on coins, seals and rings and the like throughout Greece, Britomartis is depicted with demonic features, carrying a double-handed axe and accompanied by feral animals.

As Diktynna------ A xoanon[?], a cult wooden statue, of Britomartis, made by Daedalus, sat in the temple of Olous[?]. In Chersonesos[?] and Olous, she was often portrayed on coins and was heavily worshipped in those cities; the festival Britomarpeia was held in her honor. As Diktynna, her face was pictured on Cretan coins of Kydonia[?], Polyrrhenia[?] and Phalasarna[?] as the nurse of Zeus. On Crete, she was connected with the mountain where Zeus was said to have been born--Mt. Dikte[?]. Though temples existed to her in Athens and Sparta, she was primarily a goddess of local importance in Western Crete, such as Lysos[?] and West of Kydonia[?]. Her temples were said to be guarded by vicious dogs stronger than bears.

As Aphaea------ Britomartis was worshipped primarily on the island of Aegina in Mycenaean times, where the temple "Athena Aphaea" was later located. A temple to her also existed on the outskirts of Athens, at the Aspropirgos[?].

Many scholars believe that Britomartis was the name of a Minoan deity, who later diversified into Aphaea on Aegina and Diktynna in Western Crete. Eventually, both goddesses were subsumed into the cult of Artemis.



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