The Birth of the Divine Twins

Published July 9, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

I really didn’t want to do this one yet, but…I couldn’t think of any others to do, since all the other early myths seem fraught with even more complications.  This project just getting more and more complicated…


Leto was no fool; she had known that it would not be easy to accept Zeus’ love.  Hera was a jealous goddess, and she would make things difficult for the pregnant Titaness and the new god when he was born.  That was why Leto had surreptitiously left Olympos before it became too noticeable that she was going to have a baby, and why she was going to make a new home for her son until he was grown.  Let him not go to his father’s divine home until he was strong enough to defend himself from his step-mother’s jealousies!

But as she traveled through the land, she found no place that wanted to become the home of her new son, and the longer she traveled the more pregnant she became, until she was terribly worried that she shouldn’t become quite that swollen with child.

Unbeknownst to Leto, as she passed by the earthen shrine Delphi, its guardian and prophet Python awoke.  Python, an enormous serpent, had unfailing visions of the future, and it had seen a vision of Leto’s still-unborn son killing it with an unknown weapon.  Few prophets, even divine ones, were willing to sit by idly and just accept visions of their own deaths, so Python set out to hunt down and kill Leto before she could give birth.

Seeing the danger his mistress and unborn children–for by now Leto had realized she was carrying not a son but a son and a daughter–were in, Zeus sent Boreas to whisk Leto away from Python’s grasp, to the island of Ortygia.  Poseidon lowered the island and hid it beneath the waves so that Python couldn’t find Leto and had to give up his hunt.

Once Leto had safely given birth to her twins, Artemis and Apollo, Poseidon once again raised the island above the surface of the ocean, and it was renamed Delos, and it became Apollo’s home, with a fine temple built to the twin gods, but especially to Apollo.

The precocious young gods soon invented the bow and arrow as a plaything, and the prophetic Python broke out in a cold sweat in distant Delphi at the first step of the realization of his vision’s truth.


Meh. That sucked.

I have no idea where I went wrong there, but I definitely did.

Maybe I tried to incorporate too many unusual variations?  Apart from the bit at the end about inventing the bow and arrow, it’s all genuine, just from an assortment of different sources of different ages.   The most familiar version (Leto being forbidden to give birth in any land) doesn’t actually seem to be genuine at all, according to Gantz.  I’m not sure where it came from, seems to be a modern version.   (That’s weird.  Same thing happened when I was contemplating doing Prometheus creating man:  I looked it up, and the version I thought I’d seen in all the storybooks about him making mankind out of clay wasn’t in there at all, meaning it’s not actually an ancient Greek creation myth at all.)


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