Leto

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leto
Artist
John William Waterhouse (1849–1917) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q212754
Title Ophelia
Date 1889

Leto daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe she is the titan goddess of being unseen. Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus. Hera being jealous, made it so all lands shunned her. Finally, she finds an island that isn't attached to the ocean floor so it isn't considered land and she can give birth. Once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played.

Birth of Artemis and Apollo

When Hera, discovered that Leto was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she realized that the offspring would cement the new order. She was powerless to stop the flow of events. Leto Zeus was hunted by Hera over the whole earth, till she came to Delos and brought forth first Artemis and Apollo." Hera banned Leto from giving birth on the land, any island at sea, or any place under the sun. Leto came down from the land of the Hyperboreans in the guise of a she-wolf, or that she sought out the "wolf-country" of Lycia, formerly called Tremilis, which she renamed to honour wolves that had befriended her for her denning.

Wolves are not easily delivered of their young, only after twelve days and twelve nights, for the people of Delos maintain that this was the length of time that it took Leto to travel from the Hyperboreoi to Delos."

Most accounts agree that she found the barren floating island of Delos, still bearing its archaic name of Asterios, which was neither mainland nor a real island, and gave birth there, promising the island wealth from the worshippers who would flock to the obscure birthplace of the splendid god who was to come. The island was surrounded by swans. As a gesture of gratitude, Delos was secured with four pillars and later became sacred to Apollo.

Leto was threatened and assailed in her wanderings by chthonic monsters of the ancient earth and old ways, and these became the enemies of Apollo and Artemis.

Another ancient earth creature that had to be overcome was the dragon Python, which lived in a cleft of the mother-rock beneath Delphi and beside the Castalian Spring. Apollo slew it but had to do penance and be cleansed afterwards, since though Python was a child of Gaea, it was necessary that the ancient Delphic Oracle pass to the protection of the new god.

Witnesses at the birth of Apollo

The goddesses who assembled to be witnesses at the birth of Apollo were responding to a public occasion in the rites of a dynasty, where the authenticity of the child must be established beyond doubt from the first moment. The dynastic rite of the witnessed birth must have been familiar to the hymn's hearers. The dynasty that is so concerned to be authenticated in this myth is the new dynasty of Zeus and the Olympian Pantheon, and the goddesses at Delos who bear witness to the rightness of the birth are the great goddesses of the old order. Demeter is not present; her mother Rhea attends. Aphrodite, a generation older than Zeus, is not present either.

The Lycian peasants

Leto's introduction into Lycia when Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth to Apollo and Artemis, she attempted to drink water from a pond in Lycia. The peasants there refused to allow her to do so by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond. Leto turned them into frogs for their inhospitality, forever doomed to Swim in the murky waters of ponds and rivers.

Niobe

The women of Thebes to go to Leto's temple and burn incense. Niobe, queen of Thebes, enters in the midst of the worship and insults the goddess, claiming that having beauty, better parentage and more children than Leto, she is more fit to be worshipped than the goddess. To punish this insolence, Apollo and Artemiss Apollo avenge her against Niobe and to uphold her honor. Obedient to their mother, the twins slay Niobe's seven sons and seven daughters, leaving her childless, and her husband Amphion kills himself. Niobe is unable to move from grief turns to marble.

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