The Beginnings — Loves of Zeus
In Greek mythology Leto was one of the female Titans, a bride of Zeus, and the mother of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. She was the goddess of motherhood . Leto suffered many misfortunes because of her relationship with Zeus, which caused Hera's jealousy and cursed Leto not to find a stable place on Earth to. In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus.
Hera claimed that Hephaestus was virgin-born. Zeus never cared much for his two legitimate sons, Ares and Hephaestus. And his two legitimate daughters were almost nonentities. One time Hephaestus interfered in a quarrel between Zeus and Hera, siding with his mother. In a rage Zeus hurled his ugly son down from Olympus to the isle of Lemnos, crippling him forever.
The arguments between Zeus and Hera were fairly frequent As Zeus continued to have one affair after another, Hera could not punish him because he was much stronger than she was. But she could avenge herself on the females with whom Zeus dallied, and she often took full advantage of this. A number of Zeus's affairs resulted in new gods and godesses. His liaison with Metis, of course, produced the warrior goddess of wisdom and courage, Athena.
One night as Hera slumbered, Zeus made love to one of the Pleiades, Maia, who gave birth to the tricky messenger of the gods, Hermes. By some accounts Zeus begat the goddess of love, Aphrodite, on the Titaness Dione. And when he took Leto as his consort he must have been married to Hera, for Hera persecuted Leto by condemning her to bear her children in a land of complete darkness.
After traveling throughout Greece, Leto finally gave birth painlessly to Artemis, the virgin huntress, on the isle of Ortygia. Nine days later she gave birth to Apollo, the god of light and inspiration, on the island of Delos.
Each of these new gods and goddesses were full-fledged Olympians, having had two divine parents. One important god, however, had Zeus as a father and a mortal woman as a mother. This was Dionysus, the vine god of ecstasy, who was never granted Olympian status. His mother was the Theban princess, Semele.
Zeus visited her one night in the darkness, and she knew a divine being was present and she slept with him. When it turned out that Semele was pregnant she boasted that Zeus was the father. Hera learned of this and came to Semele disguised as her nurse. Hera asked how she knew the father was Zeus, and Semele had no proof.
So Hera suggested that Semele ask to see this god in his full glory. The next time Zeus visited the girl he was so delighted with her that he promised her anything she wanted. She wanted to see Zeus fully revealed. Since Zeus never broke his word, he sadly showed himself forth in his true essence, a burst of glory that utterly destroyed Semele, burning her up. Yet Zeus spared her unborn infant, sewing it up inside his thigh until it was able to emerge as the god Dionysus.
His birth from Zeus's thigh alone conferred immortality on him. Some were founders of cities or countries, like Epaphus, who founded Memphis; Arcas, who became king of Arcadia; Lacedaemon, the king of Lacedaemon and founder of Sparta. One was the wisest law-giver of his age, the first Minos. Another was a fabulous beauty, the famous Helen of Troy. And one was a monster of depravity: Tantalus, who served up his son Pelops as food to the gods. As a general rule Zeus's mortal children were distinguished for one reason or another.
On occasion their mothers were notable for something besides merely attracting Zeus with their beauty. Leda, for example, after being visited by Zeus in the form of a swan, gave birth to an egg from which came Helen and Clytemnestra, and Castor and Polydeuces. But since Leda's husband Tyndarus also made love to her shortly after Zeus, the exact paternity of these quadruplets was subject to question.
Poor Io was famous for her long persecution at the hands of Hera. Zeus fell in love with Io and seduced her under a thick blanket of cloud to keep Hera from learning of it. But Hera was no fool; she flew down from Olympus, dispersed the cloud, and found Zeus standing by a white heifer, who of course was Io. Hera calmly asked Zeus if she could have this animal, and Zeus gave it to her, reluctant to go into an explanation.
But Hera knew it was Io, so she put her under guard. The watchman Argus with a hundred eyes was put in charge. Eventually Zeus sent his son Hermes to deliver lo from Argus, which was very difficult because Argus never slept. In disguise Hermes managed to put Argus to sleep with stories and flute-playing, and then Hermes killed him.
Myth of Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis - mikan-toumorokoshi.info
As a memorial to Argus, Hera set his eyes in the tail of her pet bird, the peacock. But Hera was furious and sent a gadfly to chase Io over the earth. Still in the form of a heifer, Io ran madly from country to country, tormented by the stinging insect. At one point she came across Prometheus chained to his rock in the Caucasus, and the two victims of divine injustice discussed her plight.
Prometheus pointed out that her sufferings were far from over, but that after long journeying she would reach the Nile, be changed back into human shape, give birth to Epaphus, the son of Zeus, and receive many honors.
And from her descendants would come Heracles, the man who would set Prometheus free. If Hera was diligent about punishing lo, Europa escaped her wrath scotfree. And Leto sware the great oath of the gods: And there were with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and Rheia and Ikhnaia Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the other deathless goddesses save white-armed Hera, who sat in the halls of cloud-gathering Zeus.
Only Eileithyia, goddess of sore travail, had not heard of Leto's trouble, for she sat on the top of Olympos Olympus beneath golden clouds by white-armed Hera's contriving, who kept her close through envy, because Leto with the lovely tresses was soon to bear a son faultless and strong.
But the goddesses sent out Iris from the well-set isle to bring Eileithyia, promising her a great necklace strung with golden threads, nine cubits long. And they bade Iris call her aside from white-armed Hera, lest she might afterwards turn her from coming with her words.
When swift Iris, fleet of foot as the wind, had heard all this, she set to run; and quickly finishing all the distance she came to the home of the gods, sheer Olympos, and forthwith called Eileithyia out from the hall to the door and spoke winged words to her, telling her all as the goddesses who dwell on Olympos had bidden her.
So she moved the heart of Eileithyia in her dear breast; and they went their way, like why wild-doves in their going. And as soon as Eileithyia the goddess of sore travail set foot on Delos, the pains of birth seized Leto, and she longed to bring forth; so she cast her arms about a palm tree and kneeled on the soft meadow while the earth [of Delos] laughed for joy beneath.
Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the goddesses raised a cry. Straightway, great Phoibos, the goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and fastened a golden band about you.
Now Leto did not give Apollon, bearer of the golden blade, her breast; but Themis duly poured nektar and ambrosia with her divine hands: But as soon as you had tasted that divine heavenly food, O Phoibos, you could no longer then be held by golden cords nor confined with bands, but all their ends were undone.
Forthwith Phoibos Apollon spoke out among the deathless goddesses: Then with gold all Delos was laden, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, for joy because the god chose her above the islands and shore to make his dwelling in her: Greek Elegiac Greek elegy C6th B.
Conway Greek lyric C5th B. O heaven-built isle [of Delos], most lovely scion of the children of bright-haired Leto, O daughter of the sea, thou unmoved marvel of the spacious earth, by mortal men called Delos, but by the blessed gods of Olympos Olympus known as the far-seen star astra of the dark-blue earth. For aforetime, that isle was tossed on the waves by all manner of whirling winds; but, when Leto, the daughter of Koios Coeusin the frenzy of her imminent pangs of travail, set foot on her, then it was that four lofty pillars rose from the roots of earth, and on their capitals held up the rock with their adamantine bases.
There it was that she gave birth to, and beheld, her blessed offspring.
Greek Lyric I C6th B. A polis was originally named Asteria after her: The other daughter Leto had relations with Zeus, for which she was hounded by Hera all over the earth. She finally reached Delos and gave birth to Artemis, who thereupon helped her deliver Apollon. Mair Greek poet C3rd B. And thou didst not tremble before the anger of Hera, who murmured terrible against all child-bearing women that bare children to Zeus, but especially against Leto, for that she only was to bear to Zeus a son dearer even than Ares.
Wherefore also she herself kept watch within the sky, angered in her heart greatly and beyond telling, and she prevented Leto who was holden in the pangs of child-birth.
And she had two look-outs to keep watch upon the earth. The space of the continents did bold Ares watch, sitting armed on the high top of Thrakian Haimos Thracian Haemusand his horses were stalled by the seven-chambered cave of Boreas the North Wind. And the other kept watch over the far-flung islands, even Thaumantia [Iris] seated on Mimas, whither she had sped. There they sat and threatened all the cities which Leto approached and prevented them from receiving her.
For on those ways she set not her feet, since Inakhos Inachus belonged unto Hera. Fled, too, Aonia [Boiotia] on the same course, and Dirke Dirce and Strophia, holding the hands of their sire, dark-pebbled Ismenos Ismenus ; far behind followed Asopos Asopusheavy-kneed, for he was marred by a thunderbolt.
And the earth-born nymphe Melia wheeled about thereat and ceased from the dance and her cheek paled as she panted for her coeval oak, when she saw the locks of Helikon Helicon tremble [i. And Apollon, yet in his mother's womb, was sore angered against them and he uttered against Thebe no ineffectual threat: Force me not yet to prophesy against my will.
Not yet is the tripod seat at Pytho my care.
Nevertheless I will speak unto thee a word more clear than shall be spoken from the laurel branch. Swiftly shall I overtake thee and wash my bow in blood. Thou hast in thy keeping the children of a slanderous woman [i.
Niobe who insulted Leto and whose children were slain by Apollon and Artemis]. Not thou shalt be my dear nurse, nor Kithairon. Pure am I and may I be the care of them that are pure. And Leto turned and went back. But when the Akhaian cities refused her as she came--Helike, the companion of Poseidon, and Bura, the steading of Dexamenos, the son of Oikeus--she turned her feet back to Thessalia.
But thy heart, Hera, was even then still pitiless and thou wert not broken down nor didst have compassion, when she [Leto] stretched forth both her arms and spake in vain: Entwine your hands about his beard and entreat him that the children of Zeus be born in his waters. Phtiotian Peneios, why dost thou now vie with the winds?
O sire, thou dost not bestride a racing horse. Are they feet always thus swift, or are they swift only for me, and hast thou today been suddenly made to fly?
The hapless sinews of my feet are outworn. O Pelion, bridal chamber of Philyra, do thou stay, O stay, since on thy hills even the wild lionesses oftentimes lay down their travail of untimely birth. It is not I who refuse, O Lady, they travail; for I know of others who have washed the soilure of birth in me--but Hera hath largely threatened me. Behold what manner of watcher keeps vigil on the mountain top, who would lightly drag me forth from the depths.
What shall I devise? Or is it a pleasant thing to thee that Peneios should perish? Let my destined day take its course. I will endure for thy sake, even if I must wander evermore with ebbing flood and thirsty, and alone be called of least honour among rivers. Do thou but call upon Eileithyia. But Ares was about to lift the peaks of Pangaion Pangaeum from their base and hurl them in his eddying waters and hide his streams. And from on high he made a din as of thunder and smote his shield with the point of his spear, and it rang with a warlike noise.
And the hills of Ossa trembled and the plain of Krannon Crannonand the windswept skirts of Pindos Pindusand all Thessalia Thessaly danced for fear: But Peneios Peneus retired not back, but abode his ground, steadfast even as before, and stayed his swift-eddying streams, until the daughter of Koios Coeus [Leto] called to him: Save thyself; do not for my sake suffer evil for this thy compassion; thy favour shall be rewarded.
But they received her not when she came--not the Ekhinades Echinades with their smooth anchorage for ships, not Kerkyra Corcyra which is of all other islands most hospitable, since Iris on lofty Mimas was wroth with them all and utterly prevented them. And at her rebuke they fled all together, every one that she came to, along the waters.
Then she came unto primeval Kos Costhe isle of Merops, the holy retreat of the heroine Khalkiope Chalciopebut the word of her son [i. Apollon in the womb] restrained her: I blame not the island nor have any grudge, since a bright isle it is and rich in pasture as any other.
But there is due to her from the Moirai Moirae, Fates another god. Greatly shalt thou praise in all the days to be him that prophesied while yet in his mother's womb. But mark thou, mother: Her feet abide not in one place, but on the tide she swims even as stalks of asphodel, where the South Wind or the East Wind blows, withersoever the sea carried her.
Thither do thous carry me. For she shall welcome thy coming. But thou, Asteria, lover of song, didst come down from Euboia Euboea to visit the round Kyklades Cyclades --not long ago, but still behind thee trailed the sea-weed of Geraistos Geraestus.
For I heed not they threats. Cross, cross over, Leto, unto me. And she loosed her girdle and leaned back her shoulders against the trunk of a palm-tree, oppressed by the grievous distress, and the sweat poured over her flesh like rain. And she spake in her weakness: There, dear child, is thine island floating on the sea. Be born, be born, my child, and gently issue from the womb. And, still breathing heavily, she spake--and her speech was mingled with fear: Leto is undoing her girdle within and island.
All the others spurned her and received her not; but Asteria called her by name as she was passing by--Asteria that evil scum of the sea: But against Asteria am I no wise angered for this sin, nor can I do to her so unkindly as I should--for very wrongly has she done a favour to Leto. Howbeit I honour her exceedingly for that she did not desecrate my bed, but instead of Zeus preferred the sea. Hence that child in after days strung the lyre with just so many strings--seven strings, since seven times the swans sang over the pangs of birth.
No eight time sang they: And straightway the brazen sky echoed back the far-reaching chant and Hera grudged it not, because Zeus had taken away her anger. In that hour, O Delos, all thy foundations became of gold: And thou thyself [Delos] didst take up the child from the golden earth and lay him in thy lap and thou [the baby Apollon]. Jones Greek geographer C1st B. And there she gave birth to, and beheld, her blessed offspring. It is traversed by the Kenchrios Cenchrius River, where Leto is said to have bathed herself after her travail.
For here is the mythical scene of the birth, and of the nurse Ortygia, and of the holy place where the birth took place, and of the olive tree near by, where the goddess is said first to have taken a rest after she was relieved from her travail. Above the grove lies Mount Solmissos, where, it is said, the Kouretes Curetes stationed themselves, and with the din of their arms frightened Hera out of her wits when she was jealously spying on Leto, and when they helped Leto to conceal from Hera the birth of her children.
Jones Greek travelogue C2nd A. The story is that Leto did not give birth to her children here, but loosened her girdle with a view to her delivery, and place received its name from this incident.
Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis
Way Greek epic C4th A. Scholfield Greek natural history C2nd A. Wilson Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A. When Leto took hold of them she immediately gave birth, which she had not been able to do before. Therefore she was transformed in to the bird ortyks, which we call a quail, and he cast her into the sea. From her an island sprang up, which was named Ortygia. Later Latona [Leto] was borne there at Jove's command by the wind Aquilo [Boreas], at the time when the Python was pursuing her, and there, clinging to an olive, she gave birth to Apollo and Diana [Artemis].
This island later was called Delos. Boreas probably transported Leto to Delos from Hyperborea. Death was fated to come to him from the offspring of Latona [Leto]. When Juno [Hera] found this out, she decreed that Latona should give birth at a place where the sun did not shine. When Python knew that Latona was pregnant by Jove, he followed her to kill her.
He protected her, but in order not to make voice Juno's decree, he took her to the island Ortygia, and covered the island with waves. When Python did not find her, he returned to Parnassus. But Neptunus [Poseidon] brought the island of Ortygia up to a higher position; it was later called the island of Delos. There Latona, clinging to an olive tree, bore Apollo and Diana [Artemis], to whom Vulcanus [Hephaistos Hephaestus ] gave arrows as gifts.
Four days after they were born, Apollo exacted vengeance for his mother. For he went to Parnassus and slew Python with his arrows.
Because of this deed he is called Pythian. He put Python's bones in a cauldron, deposited them in his temple, and instituted funeral games for him which are called Pythian. She bore two children. There, leaning on a palm, Pallas' [Athena's] tree, Latona [Leto] in spite of Juno [Hera] bore her twins; from there again she fled the wife of Jove [Zeus], hugging her new-born infants, both divine.
Fairclough Roman bucolic C1st B. Miller Roman tragedy C1st A. He whom an exiled mother [Leto] brought forth on a roaming isle? Rouse Greek epic C5th A. Even the goddess did not have a smooth course for her wedding; she also, Leto herself, carried the unborn babe by many a turn and twist, while she gazed at the shifting slopes of many a floating island, and the flood of the inhospitable sea that never stood still. Hardly at last she espied the wild olive-tree which harboured her childbed.
All that Leto suffered, and her mate [Zeus] could not help her. I will not remind you of your mother's tribulation in childbirth, when Leto carried her twin burden and had to wander over the world, tormented with the pangs of childbirth; when the stream of Peneios Peneus fled from her, when Dirke Dirce refused your mother, when Asopos Asopus himself made off dragging his lame leg behind him--until Delos gave help to her labour, until the old palm-tree played midwife for Leto with her poor little leaves.
Celoria Greek mythographer C2nd A. As soon as she arrived in that land, she came first upon the spring of Melite and wanted very much to bathe her children there before going on to Xanthos.
But some herdsmen drove her away so that their own cattle could drink at the spring. Leto made off and left Melite. Wolves came out to met her and, wagging their tails, led the way, guiding her to the River Xanthos.
She drank the water and bathed the babes and consecrated the Xanthos to Apollon while the land which had been called Tremilis she renamed Lykia Wolf Land from the wolves that had guided her. Then she returned to the spring to inflict a penalty on the herdsmen who had driven her away.
They were then still washing their cattle besides the spring. Leto changed them all into frogs whose backs and shoulders she scratched with a rough stone. Throwing them all into the spring she made them live in water. To this day they croak away by rivers and ponds. It's not a thing well known--the men of course being low-born louts--but marvellous all the same.
I saw with my own eyes the lake and place famed for the miracle. For my old father, too old by then, too worn to take the road, had charged me to retrieve some special steers and given me a Lycian for a guide.
With him I traversed those far pasture-lands, when, standing in the middle of a mere, and black with ash of sacrifice, behold and ancient altar, ringed with waving reeds. And now in Lycia, the Chimaera's Chimera's land, the flaming sun beat down upon the fields; the goddess, tired by her long toil, was parched with thirst, so hot heaven's torrid star; the babes had drained their mother's milk and cried for more.
She chanced to see, down in the dale below, a mere of no great size. Some farmfolk there were gathering reeds and leafy osiers and sedge that marshes love.
Reaching the edge, Titania [Leto] knelt upon the ground to drink the cooling water, knelt to drink her fill. The group of yokels stopped her. Everyone has right to water. Nature never made the sunshine private more the air we breathe, nor limpid water. A common right I've reached. Even so I ask, I humbly ask, please give it me. I do not mean to wash, or bathe my weary limbs, only to quench my thirst.
My mouth is dry, as I am speaking, my throat is parched, words hardly find a way. A drink of water--nectar it will be, and life, believe me, too; life you will give with water.
And these babies here, who stretch their little arms, must touch your hearts. Whom could those words, those gentle words the goddess spoke, not touch? Despite her pleas they stopped her, adding threats unless she went away, and insults too.
And, not contents with that, they even stirred the pond with hands and feet, and on the bottom kicked the soft mud about in spiteful leaps. Her thirst gave way to anger. Of such boors she'd asked no favour now, nor speak again in tones beneath a goddess. Raising her hands to heaven, "Live in that pool of yours," she cried, "For evermore! They love to live in water; sometimes all their bodies plunge within the pool's embrace; sometimes their heads pop up; often they swim upon the surface, often squat and rest upon the swampy bank and then jump back to the cool pond; but even now they flex their squalid tongues in squabbling, and beneath the water try to croak a watery curse.
Their voice is harsh, their throats are puffed and swollen; their endless insults stretch their big mouths wide; their loathsome heads protrude, their necks seem lost; their backs are green; their bodies' biggest part, their bellies, white; and in the muddy pond they leap and splash about--new-fangled frogs.
Two vultures, one on each side of him, sat and kept plucking at his liver, reaching down to the very bowels; he could not beat them off with his hands. And this was because he had once assaulted a mistress of Zeus himself, the far-famed Leto, as she walked towards Pytho through the lovely spaces of Panopeus.
But she called out to her children, who shot him dead with arrows. He is being punished even in death, for vultures feast on his heart in Hades' realm. Rieu Greek epic C3rd B. Leto, and Apollon and Artemis shooting arrows at Tityos Tityuswho has already been wounded in the body.
When he tried to do this he was slain by the thunderbolt of Jove. He is said to lie stretched out over nine acres in the Land of the Dead, and a serpent is put near him to eat out his liver, which grows again with the new moon. In panic they fled to Aigyptos Egyptall except Athena and Zeus, who alone were left. Typhon hunted after them, on their track.