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Artemis and Iphigenia

Artemis saving Iphigenia. 8623: Artemis og Ifigenia, rekonstrueret. Originalen af marmor findes i Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Romersk kopi efter aeldre forbillede hellenistisk 2./1. årh f.Kr. (Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen).

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia

Some have said that this goddess demanded human sacrifice, and that she once, being particularly angry with Agamemnon, for having said, after shooting a deer:
“Artemis herself could not do it better.” (Apollodorus, The Library “Epitome” 3.20).

… demanded that this impudent speech be punished. Accordingly, when the Achaean fleet was at Aulis, the goddess kept it wind bound until the Achaeans sacrificed Iphigenia, Agamemnon’s daughter, as a remedy to that inconvenience.

On the other hand, it has been told that when the girl was about to be sacrificed, she vanished, being saved by Artemis, who substituted for her a deer at the altar and transported her to Tauris, where she became her priestess. In this barbarian country, which today is called “Crimea” and is the large peninsula in the northern coast of the Black Sea, Iphigenia lived several years sending strangers to the altar, where they were butchered by attendants in the course of nonsensical rites supposed to honour the goddess.

But Iphigenia herself says:

“… Men of this country, being murderers, impute their sordid practice to divine command. That any god is evil I do not believe.” (Iphigenia. Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 390).