Artemis Agrotera / Kharisteria

by Melissa

(6 Boedromion) A feast of Artemis the Huntress, at her temple outside the walls of Athens at Agrai on the Ilissos, where legend said she first engaged in hunting after she left her native Delos.  Most festivals of Artemis are, in fact, held on the 6th of the month.  The 6 Boedromion is also thought to have been the date on which the battle of Marathon occurred. In fact, the city made a vow to sacrifice a goat to Artemis for every Persian killed, but as it happened, since that would have depleted the herds of Attica, the Athenians decided to amortize the dept and instead sacrificed 500 yearly, at a ceremony called the Kharisteria (“thanksgiving” or “thank offerings”). Apparently, Ares was also included in the festivities in some way; Burkert noted that Ares and Artemis were jointly worshiped before a battle by the Spartans (p 60), there being a link between the art of war and that of the hunt.

Today, this is an occasion to honor both Artemis and the Heroes of the Battle of Marathon.  Read the histories about the battle (in Herodotos) and join in commemorations, if possible.

Parke, H. W., Festivals of the Athenians, 1997, London, pp 54-55.
Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion, 1977, 1985