When did Hestia, Athena, and Artemis decide to become maiden goddesses?

  • 7
    This might just be a personal preference of mine. But I don't really understand why people keep asking questions along the lines of why/how did [fictional character x] do [action y]. It makes sense to ask why real life uncle bob became a maiden goddess. Real life uncle bob has free will. But in the case of a goddess like Hestia, I don't think it makes sense to treat her being a maiden goddess as a decision. I think a better question would be to ask why did the Greeks portray Hestia as a maiden. Hestia (and other mythological characters) don't have free will, their authors, however, do.
    – user62
    Mar 3, 2016 at 4:40
  • Ok, Il take out the why.
    – bleh
    Mar 3, 2016 at 23:34
  • 1
    replacing why with when doesn't really address my comment.
    – user62
    Mar 4, 2016 at 3:37
  • I think Athena and Artemis chose to be maidens when they were born because as goddesses who were independent and strong women they couldn't have a man who ruled them as a husband would. Mar 6, 2016 at 21:40
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    @Hamlet The authors of the myths might have given these goddesses a reason to remain virgins. Asking for this fictional reason seems quite meaningful to me.
    – user1324
    Mar 14, 2016 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


There is one poem by Callimachus that describes Artemis asking her father to allow her to remain a virgin forever as a child.

Artemis we hymn – no light thing is it for singers to forget her – whose study is the bow and the shooting of hares and the spacious dance and sport upon the mountains; beginning with the time when sitting on her father’s knees – still a little maid – she spake these words to her sire: “Give me to keep my maidenhood, Father, forever: and give me to be of many names, that Phoebus may not vie with me. And give me arrows and a bow – stay, Father, I ask thee not for quiver or for mighty bow: for me the Cyclopes will straightway fashion arrows and fashion for me a well-bent bow. But give me to be Bringer of Light1 and give me to gird me in a tunic2 with embroidered border reaching to the knee, that I may slay wild beasts.

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