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For the genus of crambidae (grass moths) called Agrotera, see List of crambid genera: A, or subfamily spilomelinae.

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, 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.[9]

Under this name she was also worshiped at Aigeira,[10] Sparta, and elsewhere.[11] The name Agrotera is synonymous with the epithet Agraea, but Eustathius derives it from the town of Agrae.[12][13][14]

This epithet was also sometimes applied to the nymph Cyrene.[15]


  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. ^ Petropoulos, Thrasy (2006-01-12). "Demolition begins on priceless site". Athens News. pp. A05. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  10. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece vii. 26. § 2
  11. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica iv. 2. 20
  12. ^ Eustathius, On the Iliad p. 361
  13. ^ Concerning the worship of Artemis Agrotera at Athens, see Dict. of Ant. s.v. Ἀγροτέρας ζυσία, p. 31.
  14. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867), "Agrotera", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, pp. 83,  
  15. ^ Pindar, Pythian Odes 9.6

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1870).

External links

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


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