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wife or mistress of Zeus and mother of Apollo and Artemis in ancient mythology; called Latona in Roman mythology
In Greek mythology, the mother of Apollo and Artemis
Origin: From Λητώ.
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe and the sister of Asteria. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus. Classical Greek myth records little about Leto other than her pregnancy and her search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy had caused all lands to shun her. Finally, she finds an island that isn't attached to the ocean floor so it isn't considered land and she can give birth. This is her one active mythic role: once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. In Roman mythology, Leto's equivalent is Latona, a Latinization of her name, influenced by Etruscan Letun. In Crete, at the city of Dreros, Spyridon Marinatos uncovered an eighth-century post-Minoan hearth house temple in which there were found three unique figures of Apollo, Artemis and Leto made of brass sheeting hammered over a shaped core. Walter Burkert notes that in Phaistos she appears in connection with an initiation cult.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
one of the Titan brood, who became by Zeus the mother of Apollo and Artemis, and for whose confinement, in her persecution by Hera, Poseidon by a stroke of his trident fixed the till then floating island of Delos to the sea-bottom.
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