Artemis protector of children:
Maiden goddess Artemis protected newborn children and young women during labour, the most important moment of their life- childbirth mortality rates were pretty high for both infants and mothers. According to a version of the myth, when Artemis was young she assisted her mother Leto as she leaned on the trunk of a palm-tree to deliver her twin brother Apollo.
The numerous statuettes of girls and boys that were found in the sanctuary- dating at the 2nd half of the 4th century B.C- indicate that at this time Artemis mainly appears as a goddess of labour and child protector. That is why she is called Locheia and quite often she is also identified as Eileithya- goddess of confinement.
Parents dedicated statuettes of young children probably as thank-offerings either for a successful childbirth or children’s recovery from an illness. The aim of this dedication was to set the children under the constant supervision and protection of the goddess. Apart from their garments, women dedicated also the garments of their children to Artemis as well.
Besides a religious centre, the sanctuary functioned as a place of education as well. The children that served the goddess were trained to contribute to the well-being of society as active citizens.
The children here wear their everyday clothes- a chitor or a himation- and they hold in their hands an animal- rabbit or puppy-, a bird, or an object- possibly one of their favourite toys.