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BRITOMARTIS ("sweet maiden"), an old Cretan goddess, later identified with Artemis. According to Callimachus (Hymn to Diana, 190), she was a nymph, the daughter of Zeus and Carme, and a favourite companion of Artemis. Being pursued by Minos, king of Crete, who was enamoured of her, she sprang from a rock into the sea, but was saved from drowning by falling into some fishermen's nets. She was afterwards made a goddess by Artemis under the name of Dictynna ("diktuon", "a net"). She was the patroness of hunters, fishermen and sailors, and also a goddess of birth and health. The centre of her worship was Cydonia, whence it extended to Sparta and Aegina (where she was known as Aphaea) and the islands of the Mediterranean. By some she is considered to have been a moon-goddess, her flight from Minos and her leap into the sea signifying the revolution and disappearance of the Moon (Pausanias ii. 30, iii. 14; Antoninus Liberalis 40).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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