The Hunters of Artemis are maidens, though there has been a few males that were accepted into the hunt, that can be human, demigod, or nymph. Each hunter has sworn loyalty to the maiden goddess Artemis, to join her in the Hunt and reject men for as long as they live while also becoming immortal as long as they do not break their vows.
The Hunters of Artemis are gifted with excellent ranged capabilities and hunting skills, possess eternal youth as long as they do not fall in battle or break their vows of rejecting males, and immensely enjoy hunting at Artemis's side. They hunt monsters and whatever else they see fit. They are her maidservants, her companions, and her sisters in arms. They are however sworn to be a Hunter forever and to be an eternal maiden. Because of this, many of the Hunters have a great hatred for males and dread even traveling with them (as seen in The Titan's Curse and The Last Olympian).
If a Hunter falls in love, Artemis will remove their immortality and may turn them into an animal, depending on her discretion. The other possible way to lose immortality is to die in battle. They are often mistaken for Amazons, only the Amazons are allowed to fall in love and do not worship a certain goddess individually.
Shortly after her birth, Artemis requests to be taken to Olympus to see her father Zeus. Leading Artemis by hand, Hestia introduces her to Zeus, who warmly embraces his daughter in his arms. He swears on the River Styx to grant her anything for her birthday. Among others, Artemis 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. Usually, only about twenty of the Hunters accompanied Artemis at a time, while the remaining girls engaged in their own activities.
Desiring a herd of golden deer to pull her chariot, Artemis gathers the Hunters to assist in capturing them. Britomartis, a nymph 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.
As the protector of young women, Artemis would punish 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, Actaeon stumbles upon Artemis and the Hunters bathing one night. Falling in love at the sight of Artemis, Actaeon 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 fifty hunting dogs from their sleep to tear their master apart.
A boy by the name of Sipriotes also catches Artemis bathing one time. Begging for mercy not to meet a fate similar to that of Actaeon, Sipriotes is instead changed into a female by Artemis, who offered him the choice of death or gender change. Having accepted the latter, Sipriotes joins the Hunters.
Artemis' favorite Hunter was Kallisto, who managed to attract 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. Unable to forgive Kallisto for breaking her vow of maidenhood, Artemis sadly transforms the girl 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, Artemis allows Orion to join as the first ever male Hunter. Soon, he and Artemis become close friends, so much so that Apollo fears his sister renouncing her oath of maidenhood. He inflicts insanity upon Orion, who starts hunting all animals he finds. This rouses the earth goddess Gaea from her sleep, and she counters by sending a giant scorpion to kill her son. When Artemis finally found Orion's corpse, she honored him in the stars as a constellation with the scorpion nearby, thereby immortalising his story.
The last male to join the Hunt was Hippolytos, who had no interest in romance whatsoever. For this reason, he incurred the wrath of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. 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. Artemis then takes him to Italy, where Hippolytos becomes a priest of one of her sacred shrines and lives to an 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). The Hunters set up camp and Artemis interview Percy and Bianca about what the Manticore said to them, and at the same time Bianca di Angelo pledges to Artemis to become one of the Hunters, after arguing with Percy about it. 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 learned 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.
It also reveals the depth of the hatred many Hunters have for boys; 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 are the only people who are allowed to stay in Artemis' cabin. Whenever the Hunters come to Camp Half-Blood there is a traditional, 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, Grover Underwood and Percy go on a quest to go search for Artemis, who is 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. 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 di Angelo was also one of those who died during their quest to find Artemis and Annabeth. The day before her sixteenth birthday Thalia Grace 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 would not give them a chariot. Just then Thalia leads the Hunters to help. Many are lost in the battle, but if they had not joined in, the battle would have been lost. It should be noted that the Hunters have at least two more lieutenants under Thalia, as shown in The Last Olympian. After the battle, Artemis convinced Hades to allow all the Hunters who died in the battle to pass to Elysium.
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.
- Artemis (leader)
- Zoë Nightshade (former lieutenant, deceased)
- Bianca di Angelo (deceased)
- Thalia Grace (current lieutenant)
- Phoebe (deceased)
- Naomi (deceased)
- Celyn (deceased)
- Orion (formerly, deceased)
- Hippolytos (formerly, deceased)
- Sipriotes (unknown fate)
- Anticlea (formerly; became the mother of Odysseus)
- Britomartis (became goddess)
- Hemithea (formerly)
- Josephine (formerly)
- Hunter Kowalski
- Kallisto (formerly)
|“||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
If a maiden wants to become a Hunter, she must recite the oath. Once Artemis agrees to that oath, it is binding and the Hunter must live by it for the rest of their days.
Abilities and Items
The Hunters have a silver aura and are stronger, faster, and more accurate than the average demigod, nymph or mortal, as in The Titan's Curse, during Capture the Flag, Percy describes them as running "as fast as a cheetah". They carry magic silver bows, arrows, and two hunting knives, which appear whenever they are needed by the Hunters. However, in The Battle of Manhattan they all had swords at their sides. They are eternally young unless they break their oath. If a Hunter falls in love, Artemis will remove their "immortality" as falling in love would break their oath to Artemis. While they cannot die from natural causes (illnesses, age, etc.), they can be killed. They are usually accompanied by animals that will help them hunt, such as wolves and hunting birds, and in The Lost Hero it is shown that the Hunters and their wolves can communicate, or at least understand each other.
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 Hunters also 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 white silk tent.
- 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.
- In The Dark Prophecy, it is known that Hunters reject all romantic forms of love, including non-hetero forms.
- It is unknown how nymphs can become Hunters of Artemis, as their life-force is tied to their essence of nature. However, as Artemis is considered a nature goddess and the Hunters are immortal, this may remove their reliance upon their natural source.
- Odysseus' mother Anticleia was said to have been one of Artemis' Hunters.
- In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Orion and Hippolytos are the only males stated to have joined the Hunters. The former, in particular, holds the title for being the first ever male Hunter of Artemis.
- The Hunters and the Amazons have some connections and are known to work together.
- Piper, Annabeth, and Thalia 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.
- The Hunters of Artemis share many similarities with the Kyoshi Warriors from Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Both groups are exclusively female.
- Both groups are founded, to a degree, by the girls' main idol, who are popular powerful beings, and carry their names in the title: Kyoshi and Artemis.
- Both have clothes and weaponry based off their founders.
- Both groups are not restricted to a single nation or species.
- Both groups include the daughter of an enemy: Ty Lee and Zoë Nightshade.
- Both groups' names include a title regularly given to men: warrior and hunter. Also, these names are not in female form, instead in male form.