Leto. Goddess Of Olympus, Mother Of Apollo And Artemis

Today we will discuss the history of Leto. We discover her origins, legends and the most popular myths of this influential Greek goddess.

leto goddess

Leto, Greek Goddess

Leto Goddess of Olympus, mother of Apollo and Artemis. According to the mythology of the gods in the beginning there was only the primordial being, then came the firstborn gods: Heaven (Uranus) and Earth (Gaea). They had 12 sons, known as the Titans and the Titans. Among the first 12 Titans were Coeus and Phoebe, the parents of Leto, who was born on the Greek island of Kos, in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

She wasa favorite mistress of the Olympian god Zeus. Zeus married his sister Hera during the time when Leto was pregnant with the twin gods Letoides, twin god and goddess Apollo and Artemis. The two divine children became part of the Olympian pantheon that ruled after the age of the Titans.

leto greek


At the time of Zeus and Hera’s wedding, Leto was already pregnant with Letoides. Although the affair predated their marriage, Hera was extremely jealous of the modest and beautiful Titaness. Hera, whose very nature was to make trouble for those she disliked, managed to push Leto off the celestial mountain of the gods.

She was left to wander the Earth trying to find a place to stay. Everyone was afraid of offending the powerful goddess Hera and no one invited Leto in. To make matters worse, Hera sent the dragon Python after her. Zeus intervened to save her, and sent the god of the North Wind, Boreus, to take her to the sea. It was then that she finally came upon a desolate floating rocky island called Delos.

The people there allowed her to stay there to give birth to her twins. Artemis was born first and without too much trouble, but Apollo’s birth took nine days. Hera, still filled with anger and jealousy, kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, which prevented Leto from having an easy delivery before giving birth to her son. Finally, Apollo was born under a palm tree on Delos, surrounded by all the gods except Hera.

After the birth, Hera’s wrath continued. She sent the giant Tityus to kidnap Leto, but the infant Apollo was able to kill him with her arrows. As she and the children continued to wander the Earth, they stopped on the Aegean coast in Lycia to drink at a pool. The cruel peasants stirred up the mud to prevent them from drinking. In return for their lack of hospitality, the goddess turned them all into frogs, whose fate would be bound to the murky waters forever.

Apollo And Artemis
Letos with Apollo And Artemis


Homer’s Iliad tells the story of the queen of Thebes, Niobe, the wife of Amphion. She boasted of her reproductive abilities and the beauty of her offspring. Niobe had 14 children, seven sons and seven daughters. Leto called upon his twin deities, Apollo and Artemis, to kill all of Niobe’s children, who were left grieving and weeping. Amphion committed suicide upon hearing the news. The grieving childless widow begged for mercy for her pain and Zeus turned her to stone. The Weeping Rock is located on Mount Sipylus in Turkey.

Family of Leto Goddess of Olympus

Coeus and Phoebe were the parents of Titan of Leto and his sister Asteria, the goddess of night oracles and shooting stars. Coeus was the Greek representation of rationality and intellect, and Phoebe represented prophetic wisdom. Together, they symbolized the knowledge of the worlds. After Gigantomachy, the fall of the Titans, Zeus began a celestial pursuit of Leto’s sister, Asteria.

She transformed herself into a bird to escape him, and took a leap into the sea. Asteria emerged as the island of Delos, where Apollo and Artemis were born. Her lesser-known brother is Lelanto. His name means “hidden,” or one who is not observed. He was the Titan of the air and the hunter stalking his prey. The divine daughter Artemis became the virgin goddess of the hunt. Her twin brother Apollo was a complex deity and an important figure in Greek mythology.

He was an archer, the god of healing and medicine, light and truth. He also represented music and was often depicted holding a lyre. His sacred place was the island where they were born, Delos.

Historical Influence

The Titaness was known for her modesty and gentleness. In Hesiod’s Theogony, she is described as “the gentlest of all Olympus,” although we know from the account of Lycian peasants she turned into frogs, and from the anger she directed against Niobe, that her temper could be short when she was offended. She also played a role in the Trojan War, fighting alongside Apollo and Artemis.

leto tityus
Leto and the giant Tityus

Leto opposed the god Hermes on the battlefield; however, he conceded to her and refused to fight her because she was the mother of Zeus’ children. Most significantly, Leto represented motherhood in Greek mythology. Like most mothers, she suffered giving birth to her children and did her best to raise them. Apollo and Artemis grew up to be members of the mighty Olympian pantheon. It is for her parenting that she is remembered as one of the most famous mothers in mythological history.

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