Leto

Leto

Leto was a Titan goddess in Greek mythology, daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. 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 jealous of Leto. For the duration of Leto's pregnancy, Hera created problems. She pushed Leto out of Olympus. As Leto wandered on the earth, no person would let her stay in their home for fear Hera would be offended. On top of that, Hera had the dragon Python chase her. Zeus saved her by sending the North Wind, Boreas, to carry her out to sea. Finally, the desolate, rocky island of Delos, which had nothing to lose, accepted her. The other goddesses gathered there to help Leto during the labour. Hera stayed away and managed to detain Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, but Iris eventually succeeded in bringing her to the island. Leto first gave birth to Artemis, and after another nine days of labour, to Apollo. Still fleeing Hera's wrath, she went to Lycia. The peasants tried to prevent her from drinking from their well, so she turned them into frogs.

Although Leto's problems continued for a little more, she now had two fast growing children, both of whom became powerful archers, to protect her. Only four days old, Apollo managed to kill Python. Then, the Euboean giant Tityus tried to rape Leto, but was killed by the children. As they grew into their full power, the twins wanted to avenge Leto's honour as well as to protect her safety. Niobe boasted that she was more deserving of adulation then Leto, because she had given birth to seven sons and seven daughters. The twins replied to this by slaying all but one of Niobe's children. As the mother of two powerful gods, Leto returned to Zeus's favour despite Hera's disapproval. After Apollo killed the Cyclopes, Leto was able to persuade Zeus to lighten his punishment. She spent much of her time hunting with Artemis. She sided with the Trojans during the war and helped heal Aeneas from his battle wounds.

More: Zeus, Hera, Artemis, Apollo, Coeus, Phoebe