Karyatis Artemis goddess of the nut tree (dark purple)
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.