Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis - Ancient Greek myth

Leto in ancient Greek myths was the representation of motherhood. Like every mother, she suffered a lot to give birth to her children and then to protect and raise them up in the proper way. Leto suffered many misfortunes because of her relationship with Zeus, which caused Hera's jealousy and cursed Leto not to find a stable place on Earth to deliver her children. That is how Delos emerged, which was believed to be a floating island. Leto gave birth to Artemis and Apollo there and since then Delos became the sacred place of god Apollo.

Her relationship with Zeus

Leto was the daughter of Titans Croesus and Phoebe. She had some supernatural powers herself but only a few, compared to the Olympian Gods. Leto is mostly famous because of her relationship with Zeus, which resulted in giving birth to two divine children, who would later be considered amongst the twelve Olympian gods, Artemis and Apollo. Everything started when Hera found out that Leto was pregnant by her husband, Zeus. Furious and ashamed of this betrayal from Zeus, she cursed Leto not to find a solid ground or island on Earth to give birth to her children.

Giving birth to two gods

Leto found a safe refugee to give birth on Delos, which was surrounded by swans. The delivery of Artemis was painless but the birth of Apollo lasted for nine whole days and nights because Hera had kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, preventing Leto from having an easy and painless labor. It is said that, with the absence of Eileithyia, Artemis was the one to help her mother deliver her twin brother, Apollo. The delivery took place under a palm tree.

The goddess of motherhood

The cult of Leto was wide-spread all over Greece and Asia Minor for being the mother of two Gods. She was usually honoured and depicted in combination with her children. The origin of her name is not known. Some say that it means "unseen" and this makes a connection to her modesty, as in most Greek vases, she was depicted as a modest young woman lifting her veil to Zeus. Others suggest that her name derives from "lada", which was the Lycian word for woman. The bottom line however is that Leto was a very decent and respectful figure in Greek mythology and she was actually representing motherhood.