Karyatis Artemis goddess of the nut tree (dark purple)
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In ancient Greek religion Artemis Caryatis was an epithet of Artemis that was derived from the small polis of Karyai in Laconia; there an archaic open-air temenos was dedicated to Carya, the Lady of the Nut-Tree, whose priestesses were called the caryatidai, represented on the Athenian Acropolis as the marble caryatids supporting the porch of the Erechtheum. The late accounts made of the eponymous Carya a virgin who had been transformed into a nut-tree, whether for her unchastity (with Dionysus) or to prevent her rape. The particular form of veneration of Artemis at Karyai suggests that in pre-classical ritual Carya was goddess of the nut tree who was later assimilated into the Olympian goddess Artemis. Pausanias noted that each year women performed a dance called the caryatis at a festival in honor of Artemis Caryatis called the Caryateia.