Leto

Goddess of Motherhood

 

While Leto is pregant with her twins, Zeus's jealous wife Hera chases Leto across the world.  Afraid of the queen's wrath, no land will allow Leto to rest and bear her children.  Finally, the small island of Delos grants her sancutary.  There, she gives birth first to Artemis and then, with her infant daughter's help, to Apollo.  

 

Roman name: Latona

 

Parents: Titans Phoibe and Koios

 

Children: The twins Apollo and Artemis, fathered by Zeus
 

Epithets: “neat-ankled,” Gentle Goddess, Mother of Twins

 

Attributes: veil, date palm

Latona and her Children, by William Henry Rinehart, 1874

Few statues of Leto survive from antiquity, so I couldn't help including this 19th century masterpiece instead. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Terracotta bell-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water).   Greek red-figure, 460-450 BC. Leto on the left, Apollo with lyre in the middle, Artemis with libations on the right.  If you look closely, you can see their names inscribed beside their heads.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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