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Olympian Gods » Apollo, the God of the Sun and the Music » Myths about Apollo

The Birth of the Twins Apollo and Artemis

A Birth Story

Leto giving birth to goddess Artemis. Around 370 B.C.,  National Archaeological Museum of Athens Greece
In this myth:
apollo Apollo, the God of the Sun and the Music
artemis Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon

Apollo and Artemis were two twins born by the king of the gods Zeus and Leto, a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe.

Leto was a very gracious and loveable deity but was hated by Hera, the wife of Zeus, for having seduced her husband. So when Leto became pregnant and Hera found out, she explicitly forbade any place under the sun to offer shelter to the sinful woman. She even held her daughter Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, firmly in her arms to prevent her from supporting Leto on her labor.

Zeus felt sorrow for Leto and transformed her into a quail (ortyx) in order to give birth to their children. However, there seemed to be no place all over Greece willing to offer a shelter to Leto, so she was wandering around desperately and aimlessly...

Finally, Leto discovered a tiny cycladic island close to Mykonos named "Asteria" (or Ortygia, deriving from Leto's transformation into a quail).

This island was beaten by the waves and blown by the wind and didnít even have a fixed position in the sea, yet it was willing to accept the woman. When Leto settled on the island, the island became firm and its name was changed into "Delos"- "the unconcealed one".

Leto (Latona) and her children- detail of the painting by Jan Bruegel For nine days and nine nights Leto was suffering from strong pains, until on the tenth day, Leto went close to a small lake, leaned against a palm tree, unfastened her belt and gave birth to Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.

Artemis then acted as a midwife to her mother to bring her brother Apollo to the world. For this reason, she was declared as the new goddess of the childbirth, taking the place of Heraís daughter Eilithyia.






Myths and Fables about Apollo

Apollo in the Land of the Hyperboreans
Apollo in the Land of the Hyperboreans
Apollo's Wedding Proposal
Apollo's Wedding Proposal
The Birth of the Twins Apollo and Artemis
The Birth of the Twins Apollo and Artemis
Apollo's Fight with the monstrous Python
Apollo's Fight with the monstrous Python
Apollo, Daphne and the Laurel Tree
Apollo, Daphne and the Laurel Tree
Apollo and Hyacinth
Apollo and Hyacinth
The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas
The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas

Birth Stories in Greek Mythology

The Birth of the Twins Apollo and Artemis
The Birth of the Twins Apollo and Artemis
Athena's Birth out of the Head of Zeus
Athena's Birth out of the Head of Zeus
The Birth of Dionysus
The Birth of Dionysus
The Birth of Zeus, the King of the Gods
The Birth of Zeus, the King of the Gods