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Leto

Leto is the daughter of Coeus and Phoebe. She was an early and favorite lover of Zeus. Zeus married Hera while Leto was pregnant. While the pregnancy began before the marriage Hera was still jealous of Leto. For the duration of Leto's pregnancy Hera created problems. First Leto was pushed out of Olympus. As she wandered no place would allow her to stay for fear Hera would be offended. 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 little to lose, accepted her. The other goddesses gathered to help Leto as she gave birth. Hera stayed away and managed to detain Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, until Iris fetched her. Leto first gave birth to Artemis and then after another nine days of labor 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. Initially Leto's problems continued. But, now she had her two fast developing children, both of whom became powerful archers, to protect her. When four days old Apollo was able to slay Python. Then the Euboean giant Tityus tried to rape Leto only to be killed by the children. As they grew into their full power the twins become willing to avenge Leto's honor as well as to protect her safety. Niobe boasted that she was more deserving of adulation then Leto because she had borne 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 favor 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.

 



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