ARTEMIS IN SICILY AND SOUTH ITALY: A PICTURE OF DIVERSITY, by Tobias Fischer-Hansen
ARTEMIS IN SICILY AND SOUTH ITALY
A PICTURE OF DIVERSITY
Introduction – Syracuse
Demeter and Kore make up the most prominent part of Diodoros Siku- los’ survey of significant cults in Sicily (5.3.2-3). Also, the virgin goddesses Artemis and Athena are singled out for their attachment to the island, and in the division of the island into spheres of influence Athena is allotted Himera, Artemis Syracuse (5.3.4 – 4.2). Nevertheless, Artemis has little mention in Diodoros considering the evidence for her cult in Sicily offered by other written sources and epigraphy, and by structural remains and votive material.1
The division of divine territories in Sicily was seen by B. Pace as a reflec- tion of an original, indigenous conception of nature divinities, and Pace saw also an indigenous origin behind several of the Sicilian pastoral-, spring- and cave- or grotto-cults affiliated with Artemis.2 There is no clear testimony of indigenous influence upon the cult of Artemis brought to the island by early Greek settlers; signs of indigenous elements reflected in Greek cult seem valid primarily in regard to the cults of Herakles and Demeter-Kore.3 However, the antiquity of the cult of Artemis in Sicily is apparent from the close ties between Artemis, Athena and Kore described by Diodorus (5.3.4).
Syracuse, the main centre for the cult of Artemis in Sicily, had from early times at least one major polis sanctuary, apart from territorial sanctuar- ies, nature and spring cults, and cults perhaps affiliated with the chthonic divinities. Testimony also of the cult of the divinity is the month name Artamitios.4 The many sources regarding the different aspects of her cult in Syracuse makes this city a useful point of departure for our survey. 5