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Leto was the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe.[1] A beautiful minor goddess, she was one of Zeus' many lovers, and he eventually impregnated her.

Zeus' jealous wife Hera prohibited the pregnant Leto from giving birth on solid ground by mystically compeling all the interconnected lands of Earth to reject her.

Leto found refuge on the floating island of Delos where she gave birth to the twins Artemis and Apollo. Olympians sometimes mature in days, or even minutes, and according to myths, Artemis helped deliver Apollo shortly after she was herself born. The siblings soon discovered their natural talent for archery and, using arrows forged by Hephaestus, slew the Earth-serpent Python that Hera had sent to attack Leto.

Later, Leto secured Delos with four pillars.[2]




  • The Roman equivalent of Leto was called "Latona". The Etruscan equivalent was "Letun". [3]
  • According to Diodorus Siculus, Leto's birthplace was Hyperborea. [3]
  • The etymology of the name "Leto" is uncertain. Various theories connect it to the Greek terms "λήθη" (lethe, oblivion) and "λωτός" (lotus), and the Lycian term "lada" (wife). The Greek name "Λήδα" (Leda) may have been a variant from the same source. [3]

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