THE ANCIENT MYTH OF NIOBE
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Niobe - Greek Mythology
The story of Niobe is one of ancient Greek mythology,
and like all Greek mythology, it carries with it a lesson. The lesson of Niobe
is that arrogance will only bring destruction. Niobe was a woman who was the
daughter of Tantalos, a King of Lydia. She was married to a man named Amphion,
who happened to be one of the two founding fathers of Thebes, making her the
Queen of Thebes. She was a proud and arrogant woman and this led to her greatest
Niobe was blessed to have many children, though
stories do differ in exactly how many she had. Some stories say she had 6 each
of boys and girls, and others say 7 each of boys and girls. Her children became
known as Niobids. Either way, Niobe felt that she was very blessed to be able to
have so many children, she was too blessed in fact.
Leto is the other woman in the story. Leto was a
goddess in her own right in that she was patriarchial and powerful. She also
gave birth to twins who in Greek mythology were known as the Divine Twins. These
twins were Artemis, and Apollo. Because she was the mother to the Divine Twins,
Leto was worshipped, revered, respected, and held on a very goddess like
Niobe, already being proud, was a jealous woman as
well. She did not like that Leto, who only bore two babies, was being more
revered than she. Having delivered a dozen children herself, Niobe thought that
she ought to have more respect from the mortals than Leto.
Had it been left up to Leto, she probably would
have just ignored Niobe and hoped she’d go away. Leto was renowned for her
kindness, mildness, and generosity, and was not the vengeful type. However,
Leto’s childrens were Olympians, they were warriors, and they would not stand
for anyone that would publicly slander their own mother.
Appollo was the first to retaliate. He used fiery
arrows of gold to shoot down Niobe’s boys until they died. Artemis used silver
arrows that would cause no pain to likewise murder Niobe’s daughters. As Niobe
watched each of her children die before her, she wept. The story goes that
Appollo and Artemis spared one girl and one boy for Niobe, so that she would be
left with two children just like Leto was. These children left behind were
Chloris and Amphion.
Niobe was still devastated and fled immediately to Mount Sipylus, which is known
today as Spil Mount. Here she was turned into a stone waterfall while she wept
without ceasing. Today, Spil Mount has a rock formation that exists and
resembles a womanly face that many claim to be the face of Niobe. The rock today
is a porous rock that is made of limestone, and when rain falls, the porosity of
the limestone makes the rock appear as if it is leaking, or, weeping like Niobe.
As such, this rock is called the “Weeping Stone”.
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