Myth of Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis - jingle-bells.info
Zeus tries to be a good father, he usually grants his children gifts and boons, but Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on Ortygie, a rock floating in the sea. Zeus How can the relationship between Poseidon and Odysseus be described ?. She was an early and favourite lover of Zeus. Zeus married Hera while Leto was pregnant. While the pregnancy started before the marriage, Hera was still. In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Apollo in Thebes, famous for clairvoyance As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including Manto, who also possessed the gift of prophecy. . follow which led to Odysseus' men getting killed by Zeus' thunderbolts during a storm).
Furious and ashamed of this betrayal from Zeus, she cursed Leto not to find a solid ground or island on Earth to give birth to her children. Leto, in labor and great pain, had wandered around all Greece to find a place to give birth but people didn't let her bear her children close to their homes, afraid of Hera's anger.
That is when Zeus emerged an island from the sea so that Leto would find a refugee. This island was Delos, which was believed to be a floating island.
One version of the myth says that Delos was uninhabited while another says that at first, the inhabitants of Delos didn't want Leto on their land, until she made them a great gift: Giving birth to two gods Leto found a safe refugee to give birth on Delos, which was surrounded by swans. The delivery of Artemis was painless but the birth of Apollo lasted for nine whole days and nights because Hera had kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, preventing Leto from having an easy and painless labor.
It is said that, with the absence of Eileithyia, Artemis was the one to help her mother deliver her twin brother, Apollo. The delivery took place under a palm tree. Indeed, there is a palm tree today on Delos the ancient Greeks planted to commemorate the birth of the god. Homer mentions that all gods and goddess, except for Hera, were present at the delivery of Apollo to establish from the first moment the authenticity of a child who was later to become an Olympian god.
Therefore, that is how Delos later became the sacred place of Apollo.
Wandering around the world However, this wasn't the end of Leto's woes. She and her children were constantly harassed by earth-born creatures sent by Hera. Tityus, an earth-born giant, tried to abduct Leto but his advances were repelled by Apollo, who slew him with his arrows. Python, a giant serpent guarding the oracle of Delphiwas also slain by Apollo because he had raped Leto while she was still pregnant with the twins.
According to another story, while Leto was passing through Lycia, she felt thirsty and tried to drink from a well.
Greek gods (Athena, Demeter, Leto, Harmonia)
The peasants however, stirred up mud and made the water undrinkable for her and her children. In anger for the unfairness towards her children, Leto turned them all into frogs. The central fountain in the terrace garden of Versailles depicts this scene. 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. 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.
Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis
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.
One morning this lovely daughter of the king of Sidon had a dream in which two continents in female form laid claim to her. Europa belonged to Asia by birth, but the other continent, which was nameless, said that Zeus would give Europa to her.
Later, while Europa and her girl companions were frolicking by the sea, Zeus was smitten with the princess and changed himself into a marvelous bull of great handsomeness. He approached the girls so gently that they ran to play with him. Zeus knelt down and Europa climbed on his back. Then the bull charged into the sea, and on the sea journey Europa and Zeus were accompanied by strange sea creatures: Nereids, Tritons, and Poseidon himself.
Europa then realized that the bull was a god in disguise and she begged Zeus not to desert her. Zeus replied that he was taking her to Crete, his original home, and that her sons from this union would be grand kings who would rule all men. In time Europa gave birth to Minos and Rhadamanthus, wise rulers who became judges in the netherworld after death. And Europa gave her name to a continent. Despite his conquests Zeus was not always successful in his amorous pursuits.
The nymph Asteria managed to resist him only by the most desperate means — changing herself into a quail, flinging herself into the sea, and becoming the floating island of Ortygia. On one occasion Zeus himself renounced the nymph Thetis when he learned that she would give birth to a son greater than its father. Further, Zeus's infatuations were not limited to women, for when he fell in love with the youthful Ganymede he had the boy abducted by his eagle and brought up to Olympus to serve as cupbearer.
Analysis In previous sections we have seen Zeus's power as king of the gods and a dispenser of justice to men, but here we see him as a procreator. Rose has pointed out, the Greeks had a choice of making Zeus either polygamous or promiscuous because the role of All-Father was indispensable to him. Zeus had acquired wives as his worship spread from locality to locality and he had to marry each provincial earth goddess. However, polygamy was foreign to the Greeks and unacceptable, so they had to make him promiscuous.
The same majestic god who fathered seven of the great Olympians also fathered a number of human beings, and many ruling or powerful families traced their lineage to Zeus.
The Beginnings — Loves of Zeus
So if his battles with Hera and his deceptions lessened his dignity, that was the price the Greeks paid for their illustrious family trees.
The myths about Zeus are primarily concerned with establishing his mastery over gods and men. His predominance in the Olympian pantheon is largely asserted by the fact that he fathered seven of the major gods. Once again we see the humanization of the gods. Zeus and Hera have distinct personalities and a realistic family situation.