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NIOBE A queen of Thebes in Boiotia who was overly proud of her 14 kids and maintained excellence in motherhood over the goddess Leto. Apollon and Artemis, her celestial children, rushed to their mother's defence, descended upon Thebes and struck down the 14 children with their arrows . Some say, Artemis was merciful, and spared the youngest daughter.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 46 : 'Amphion married Niobe, the daughter of Tantalos, who bore him seven sons
... and as many daughters ... With her fine brood Niobe claimed to be more blest with children compared to Leto. Leto was annoyed by this, and urged Apollon and Artemis against the children of Niobe. Artemis killed all the females in the home with her arrows, an Apollon all of the men as they were hunting together on Mount Kithairon. Of the males only Amphion was spared, and of the females just Khloris. According Telesilla, Meliboia and Amyklas were spared to, and they shot down Amphion. In terms of Niobe, she left Thebes and moved to her father Tantalos in Sipylos, where, following a prayer to Zeus, her form has been turned to stone, from which tears stream by night and by day.'

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 3 : 'Niobe became the mother of seven sons and an equivalent number of daughters, maids of exceeding beauty. And since she gave herself haughty airs over the amount of her kids, she frequently declared in boastful way that she had been more blest in her children than was Leto. At this, so the myths tell us Leto in anger commanded Apollon to slay with his arrows the sons of Niobe and Artemis the daughters. When these two hearkened to the command of their mother and slew with their arrows that the children of Niobe in precisely the same time, it came to pass that immediately this girl was both blest with children and childless.'

Homer, Iliad 602 ff : 'Niobe's twelve children were ruined in her palace, six brothers, and six sons in the pride of their youth, whom Apollon killed with arrows from his silver bow, being angered with Niobe, and Artemis shaft-showering killed the daughters; since Niobe likened herself to Leto of their fair-colouring and said Leto had borne only two, she had borne many; however the two, though they were just two, destroyed all others. Nine days long they put in their blood, nor was there anyone to bury them, for the son of Kronos had made stones from the people; but on the tenth day the Ouranion gods buried them. But when she was worn out with crying she remembered to eat. And today somewhere among the rocks, in the lonely mountains, in Sipylos, where they state is the resting place of the goddesses that are Nymphai, and dance beside the waters of Akheloios, there, rock still, she broods on the sorrows that the gods gave her.'

LEIMON An Arkadian guy who induced his people to expel the goddess Leto when she reached the land looking for refuge. Artemis and the gods Apollon later appeared, wanting to avenge their mother, and Leimos slew his brother from fear of accusation. Artemis saw his guilt, and in her wrath, struck him down with arrows.

This webpage describes the goddess' various divine roles and privileges including hunting and wild animals, birth and kids, maiden dance and song, sudden death and disorder, and her identification with Selene, Hekate, Britomartis and foreign goddesses.


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