The Hunters of Artemis are maidens (which can be human, demigod, or nymph) who have sworn loyalty to the maiden goddess Artemis/Diana to join her in the Hunt and reject love for as long as they live. They gain eternal youth as long as they don't break their vows.
DescriptionThe Hunters of Artemis immensely enjoy hunting monsters and whatever else they see fit at Artemis's side. They are her maidservants, her companions, and her sisters in arms. Usually, only about twenty of the Hunters accompanied Artemis at a time, while the remaining girls engaged in their own activities at the current location of the Hunt. They are usually accompanied by animals that will help them hunt, such as wolves and hunting birds.
As the protector of maidens, Artemis would punish men who dare to lay eyes on her Hunters. Additionally, because of their oath, many of the Hunters have become so isolated from males that they have come to distrust them, dreading even travelling with them, as seen in The Titan's Curse and The Last Olympian, though there have been a few males that were accepted into the Hunt. However, some hunters like Thalia Grace are completely fine with travelling with men.
HistoryShortly after her birth, Artemis requests to be taken to Olympus to see her father Zeus. He swears on the River Styx to grant her anything for her birthday. Among others, she asks for a group of all-female followers, marking the beginning of the Hunters. After acquiring a bow and arrows from the Cyclopes and a pack of hunting dogs from Pan, Artemis assembles her group of followers. Many mortal girls and nymphs were delighted at the idea of living freely in the wilderness without being married off or courted by lovesick gods.
Desiring a herd of golden deer to pull her chariot, Artemis gathered the Hunters to assist in capturing them. Britomartis, a demigod who Artemis would later reward as a minor goddess known as the "Lady of Nets", sets snares and concealed nets to capture their prey. The other Hunters make noise to lure out the golden deer, and as expected, four of them charge straight into the traps. The fifth runs off to safety and is given Artemis' blessing.
Artemis punished several men who dared to lay eyes on her Hunters. Actaeon was one such man who fell victim to Artemis' wrath. After a hard day of hunting, he stumbles upon Artemis and the Hunters bathing one night. Falling in love at the sight of Artemis, he reveals his presence to the goddess and insists that she marry him. Angered by his words, Artemis transforms Actaeon into a deer and rouses his own fifty hunting dogs from their sleep to tear their master apart.
Another day, a boy named Sipriotes catches Artemis bathing one time. Begging for mercy not to meet a fate similar to that of Actaeon, he is instead changed into a female by Artemis, who offered him the choice of death or gender change. Having accepted the latter, Sipriotes then joins the Hunters.
Artemis' favorite Hunter was Kallisto, who accidentally attracted the attention of Zeus. While she was separated from the other Hunters, Zeus appeared to her in the form of Artemis herself. He attempts to seduce Kallisto, but when she rejects his advances, he reveals his true form and has his way with her. Ashamed of what had happened, Kallisto attempts to keep the encounter with Zeus a secret. Her pregnancy is exposed, however, when the Hunters go swimming in a lake one day. Angered by her father's actions but unable to forgive Kallisto for lying to her, Artemis sadly transforms her former best friend into a bear, warning Kallisto that the next time they meet she will have to kill her.
Following this incident, Artemis befriends the giant Orion on the island of Delos. Impressed by his hunting skills, she allows Orion to join as the first ever male Hunter. Soon, he and Artemis become close friends, so much so that Apollo fears his twin sister would be renouncing her oath of maidenhood. He inflicts insanity upon Orion, who starts hunting all animals he finds. This rouses the mother earth Gaea from her sleep and counters by sending a giant scorpion to kill Orion. When Artemis finally found Orion's corpse, she honored him in the stars as a constellation with the scorpion nearby, thereby immortalizing his story. In some myths Apollo challenges Artemis to a archery competition with Orion disguised as a rock.
The last male to join the Hunt was Hippolytos, a handsome prince who had no interest in romance whatsoever. For this reason, he incurred the wrath of Aphrodite. When Hippolytos visited his father, King Theseus of Athens, Aphrodite heightened their anger during an argument, resulting in Theseus drawing his sword and striking his son dead. When Artemis received word of this, she immediately rushed to Hippolytos' tomb and took his body to her nephew Asclepius, the best physician in all of Greece. Using the Physician's Cure, Asclepius brings Hippolytos back to life. She then takes Hippolytos to Italy, where he becomes a priest of one of her sacred shrines and lives to old age.
The Hunters are briefly mentioned when Luke Castellan tells Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Tyson the story of Agrius and Oreius' mother. Apparently, their mother was ordered by Aphrodite to fall in love. She refused and went to Artemis for help, becoming a Hunter. But Aphrodite got revenge by enchanting the woman into falling in love with a bear, resulting in Artemis abandoning her in disgust.
The Hunters appear at the beginning of the book, saving Percy and his friends from a Manticore by the name of Dr. Thorn, though they are too late to save Annabeth (because she fell off a cliff with Dr. Thorn and was kidnapped. The Hunters set up camp and Artemis interviews Percy and Bianca di Angelo about what the Manticore said to them. At the same time, Bianca pledges to Artemis to become one of the Hunters, after arguing with Percy about her brother. Artemis immediately realizes something is stirring and that she must hunt it. Zoë Nightshade says that the Hunters will set out immediately, but Artemis refuses, saying that the task is too dangerous for anyone but a goddess. She tells Zoë that the Hunters must go to Camp Half-Blood while she is away and that she will get a ride for them from her brother. Zoë protests that the Hunters hate Camp Half-Blood and that the last time they were there, several cabins burned down. Dionysus apparently blames the Hunters; Zoë insists it was "foolish campers" who were to blame. When Apollo arrives, he greets Artemis by calling her his 'lil' sis." Sibling bickering occurs until Apollo begins greeting others. When Apollo offers to help Zoë with her pack, she responds by "recoiling, her eyes flashing murderously," and Artemis is forced to intervene. When they finally get Apollo to focus and get everyone loaded onto the "sun bus," the Hunters pile into the bus "as far away as possible from Apollo and the rest of us highly infectious males," as Percy remarks.
The Hunters stayed in Artemis' cabin and participated in a not-so-friendly/intense game of Capture the Flag. After this game of Capture the Flag, the Oracle walks down from the attic and personally gives Zoë a quest. Zoë, Bianca, Thalia, Percy, and Grover go on a quest to go search for Artemis and Annabeth, who are in trouble. At first, Phoebe (a Hunter) was supposed to go, but instead, she was poisoned when the Stoll brothers gave her a T-shirt covered with Centaur Blood, which made her bedridden for a while. The Hunters quickly realized that the Artemis Hunting Tour T-shirt had been a trap as revenge for Phoebe hitting Travis in the head and putting arrows in Connor's helmet. It is later revealed that Aphrodite had given the brothers the T-shirt so that Percy could follow the Hunters on their quest.
At the end of the book, Zoë perished at the hand of her father, Atlas, as in the prophecy, when she leaped between him and Artemis to save her goddess' life. Artemis loved her so much that when Zoë died, she placed her in the sky as a constellation. Bianca was also one of those who died during their quest to find Artemis and Annabeth. The day before her sixteenth birthday, Thalia joined the Hunters so she could avoid the Great Prophecy.
During the Battle of Manhattan, Percy finds himself short due to all the demigods of Ares' cabin staying behind because the Apollo cabin wouldn't give them the Flying Chariot. Just then, Thalia leads the Hunters to help with the help of two more lieutenants under her orders. It is said that the Hunters have doubled in size at the beginning of the book. Many Hunters are lost in the battle, but if they had not joined in, the battle would have been lost. After the battle, Artemis convinced Hades to allow all the Hunters who died in the battle to pass to the realm of Elysium in the Underworld.
The Hunters are first mentioned as helping to find Percy. Later, when Jason Grace, Coach Hedge, Piper McLean, and Leo Valdez were recovering from falling into freezing waters, a pack of wolves lead by Lycaon try to kill the group with the exception of Jason. The four try their best to defend themselves, but without having a weapon made of silver, all they could do was hold them off. A silver arrow then hits Lycaon and he and his pack retreat as the Hunters arrive. As the Hunters set up camp, Thalia, Jason, and Leo enter a cave to talk about Jason's past while Piper and Hedge receive medical care in one of the tents that another Hunter, Phoebe, had set up. Leo later wants to get the blueprints for the tents after he sees them fold up into tiny squares, that are about the size of a pack of chewing gum. Thalia later leads the Hunters to defend the Wolf House and finds the place where Hera was being kept. They attack the wolves, though Khione interferes by freezing them all. They are later saved by Hera. Thalia gives Piper a business card, saying that the Hunters could use someone like her. Near the end of the book, Piper throws the card into the fire at camp as she was not interested because of her love for Jason preventing her from living a life of maidenhood.
Reyna is abducted by the Hunters in San Juan and taken to the Amazon's hideout. There they tell the praetor about Orion before they are attacked by him. The Hunters and Amazons fought him as Reyna, Coach Hedge and Nico shadow traveled away from them.
While on their hunt for the Teumessian Fox, the hunters visit Indianapolis and encounter Apollo turned into a human. They help him escape Commodus' palace with Meg McCaffrey and Peaches and even aid in defending the Waystation.
Leaders and Lieutenants
- Hemithea (now mortal)
- Josephine (now mortal)
- Orion (formerly, deceased)
- Hippolytus (formerly, deceased)
- Anticlea (before became the mother of Odysseus)
- Britomartis (became goddess)
- Polyphonte (before giving birth to Agrius and Oreius, later turned into an owl after giving birth)
- Kallisto (formerly, turned into a bear)
- Arethusa (formerly)
- Bianca di Angelo (now Reborn)
- Phoebe (killed by Orion)
- Naomi (killed by Orion)
- Celyn (killed by Orion)
|“||I pledge myself to the Goddess Artemis. I turn my back on the company of men, accept eternal maidenhood, and join the Hunt.||”|
–Oath to Artemis
The Hunters have a silver aura similar to their mistress.
- Eternal Youth: Hunters are immortal (can't die of illnesses, age, etc.) unless they fall in love or they fall in battle.
- Archery: They have excellent aim with their bow and arrows.
- Enhanced Physical Prowess: They are naturally stronger and faster than a mortal, demigod, or nymph. Percy describes them as running "as fast as a cheetah".
- Zoolingualism: They can talk to wild animals. Particularly wolves.
The Hunters carry special equipment that makes setting up a camp site easy. For example, they have small boxes (about the size of a pack of chewing gum) that can easily be carried in their bags, but can expand into a full sized silver tent. In the summer, Hunters wear white shirts, silver jackets, silvery camo pants and black combat boots. In the winter, they wear silver ski jackets, blue jeans and the same boots.
The weapons appear whenever they are needed by the Hunters.
- Silver bows
- Silver arrows able to kill monsters
- Fart Arrows
- Trip wire arrows
- Hunting Knives made out of Celestial Bronze
- While the Hunters carry around weapons that are the color of silver, Zoë mentioned in The Titan's Curse that their hunting knives are made out of Celestial Bronze.
- The hunters have a PO Box in Wyoming, as revealed in The Tyrant's Tomb.
- In The Dark Prophecy, it is revealed that Hunters must reject all romantic forms of love, including non-hetero forms.
- However if a hunter does fall in love with a fellow hunter, she may negotiate with Artemis to leave, much like priests and nuns in the Catholic Church.
- Thalia, Annabeth, and Piper are all offered the chance to become a hunter
- Thalia only accepts Artemis's offer the second time, she refused the first time because she would have to leave Luke and a younger Annabeth.
- The Hunters are often mistaken for Amazons, who are allowed to fall in love, don't worship a certain goddess individually and can die from old age unlike the Hunters.
- However, the Hunters and the Amazons have some connections and are known to work together.
- In many myths, the Hunters were in fact Nymphs while Artemis becomes the source of their lifeforce, which make all hunters nymphs of Artemis herself.
- In some myths, Atalanta was a huntress.
- Reveled in The Titan's Curse, the Hunters have won Capture the Flag 57 times in a row