The subject is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (12:25-28). Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae and leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan war, was prevented from sailing from the port of Aulis in the Grecian province of Boeatia to Troy by the lack of favourable winds. After consulting the seer Calchas, he was informed he had killed a deer which was sacred to Diana, the Goddess of hunting, in a grove which was also sacred to her. The only way to appease the irate Goddess and ensure favourable winds was to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to her. At the very moment of the sacrifice Diana showed clemency and rescued the young girl and, substituting her for a deer, took her to Tauris in Crimea to be her priestess.
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