Labdakos to Lethe Leto to Lysizonos

Labdakos to Lethe


The third king of the city of Thebes; the son of Polydorus, father of Laius and grandfather of Oedipus.

Labors of Herakles

The twelve Labors forced upon Herakles (Heracles) by his cousin, Eurystheus.

Herakles was the son of Zeus and Alkmene (Alcmene); Zeus’ infidelity to his wife, Hera, prompted her to punish and harass Herakles throughout his life; Zeus promised Hera that the next son born in the lineage of Perseus would be the ruler of Argos; Zeus intended that son to be Herakles but Hera used her influence on the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia (Eilithyia), to delay Alkmene’s labor and Eurystheus, Herakles’ cousin, was born first and thus became the ruler of Argos.

Herakles was enslaved to Eurystheus for twelve years and during that time he was required to perform twelve Labors; the Labors were variously recorded in ancient artwork but the actual numbering of the Labors is attributed to the Greek grammarian, Apollodorus Dysklus (circa 140 BCE).

The Twelve Labors were:

  1. 1)The Killing the Lion of Nemea;
  2. Killing the Hydra;
  3. Capturing the Keryneian (Ceryneian) Hind;
  4. Capturing the Boar of Mount Erymanthus;
  5. Cleaning the Stables of Augeas;
  6. Killing the Stymphalosian Birds;
  7. Capturing the Kretan (Cretan) Bull;
  8. Capturing the Mares of Diomedes;
  9. Retrieving the Belt of Hippolyte;
  10. Taking the Cattle of Geryon;
  11. Retrieving the Golden Apples of the Hesperides and
  12. Bringing Kerberos (Cerberus) from the Underworld.

For more detailed information on the Labors of Herakles I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.


Stylized double axes; a product of art from the Minoan civilization which dominated the northeastern Mediterranean area from circa 2000-1500 BCE.


Literally, the Greek word, labyrinth, means a maze (an unnecessarily complicated building) or any spiral body (a sea shell).

The most famous labyrinth in history is, of course, the maze of king Minos on the island of Crete; there are several ancient descriptions of what Minos’ labyrinth looked like and what function it served but the most fair and accurate speculation was made by the historian, Plutarch (45-120 CE).

  1. The labyrinth was a vast maze designed by the master builder, Daedalus, for king Minos and was used to torment and kill the sacrificial victims which Minos demanded every year from Athens as repayment for the murder of his son Androgeus; Minos had waged war on Athens to avenge the death of his son and peace was won only with the promise that Athens would send seven young men and seven young women every year to Minos in order to be slain by the fierce, half-bull/half-man,Minotaur; the young victims were placed in the labyrinth with the ungodly Minotaur where they were eventually caught and brutally killed; the tradition continued for twenty-seven years until the hero, Theseus, went to Crete as one of the sacrificial victims and successfully killed the Minotaur; or
  2. The labyrinth was a maze-like prison that Minos used to detain the young Athenian hostages which he took every nine years as retribution for the murder of his son Androgeus; Minos would hold memorial games for his slain son and award the Athenian youths as prizes for the winners of the various events; the term, labyrinth, has come to mean any maze or baffling puzzle.
Ladon (1)

The dragon with one hundred heads who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides; Ladon was killed by Herakles (Heracles) during his Eleventh Labor.

Ladon (2)

A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean).

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Ladon (3)

The name of two rivers; one is in Arkadia (Arcadia) and the other is in Thessaly; tributaries of Alpheus and Peneus respectively.


A summer dress made of lightweight material.


The father of Odysseus; the son of Arkeisios (Arceisios).

When Odysseus returned from the siege of Troy after a twenty year absence, Laertes was old and feeble but when Odysseus needed his father’s help to forcefully reclaim his home and property, Athene (Athena) gave Laertes new vigor and he became strong and fierce.


The giant cannibals encountered by Odysseus on his way home to Ithaka (Ithaca).

The encounter with the Laistrygones was one of the most devastating events that Odysseus had to endure after leaving the conquered city of Troy.

After anchoring in a narrow, cliff-faced harbor, Odysseus sent three men ashore to scout for civilized inhabitants; the shore party met a young girl who took them to her father’s home where they encountered a giant woman who summoned her husband, Antiphates.

Antiphates snatched up one of the men and began to prepare him as dinner; the other two men raced back to the ships to warn Odysseus but, before the ships could escape the narrow harbor, thousands of giants rushed to the steep shore and began pelting the ships with “man-sized” boulders; the ships were broken to pieces and the crew members were speared like fish by the Laistrygones; Odysseus’ ship was the only one to escape the harbor.


The son of Labdakos (Labdacus); a king of the city of Thebes and the father of Oedipus.

As a young man Laius fled Thebes and took refuge with Pelops and kidnapped Pelops’ son; as punishment for this crime, Apollon told Laius that if he should have a son, that son would kill him; when Laius and his wife, Iokaste (Jocasta), had a son, they made one of their servants take the infant to Mount Kithaeron (Cithaeron), pierce his ankles and leave him for the beasts and elements to devour; the servant could not carry out the murderous act and gave the child to a shepherd from a neighboring province.

The child was finally presented to the king of Korinth (Corinth) where he was named Oedipus and raised as part of the royal household; the name Oedipus means “swollen foot” and was derived from the injury to the boy’s ankles.

After Oedipus became a man, he left Korinth and, in unconscious obedience to the prophecy of Apollon, killed Laius when he met the arrogant king on the road.

Lake Kopais
Lake Copais

A relatively large lake on the Greek mainland in northern central Boeotia just north of the ancient city of Thebes.

Lakedaemon (1)

The son of Zeus and Taygete; founder of the city of Sparta; also spelled as Lakedaimon or Lacedaimon.

Lakedaemon (2)

The primary name for the city of Sparta or the district of Lakonia (Laconia).

Sparta was an ancient city in southern Greece on the Peloponnesian Peninsula and the primary city of the district of Lakonia (Laconia); located by the river Eurotas and originally settled by the Dorians.

After the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), Sparta was the undisputed dominant power of the Greek mainland, Ionia and Asia Minor; the people of Sparta were very proud and the city was known as the “city with invisible walls” because they sincerely believed that if they could not defend their city with the strength of their army, and not stone walls, they did not deserve to be free.

The city was never adorned with elaborate temples or impressive architecture because the people and government believed in simplicity and practicality rather than superficial displays of wealth and culture; even today, we use the term Spartan to denote something that is very basic, i.e. no frills or ornaments.

As if he was speaking directly to us in the twenty-first century, the historian, Thukydides (Thucydides) in his History of the Peloponnesian War (Introduction, section 10), stated that if Sparta was deserted and all that remained was the temples and the foundations of buildings, it would be difficult to imagine the power and influence the city once wielded. He also said that if the city of Athens was viewed in the same way, it would appear twice as powerful as it had once been.

There are several references in Greek literature that exemplify the Spartan ideals:

  1. The historian, Herodotus (Histories, book 7, chapters 133-137), relates the story of how the Persian king, Darius, had sent ambassadors to Sparta and Athens to demand earth and water as a symbolic tribute and submission to the Persian king; the Athenians threw the Persian heralds into The Pit, which was the punishment meted out to criminals; the heralds received similar treatment in Sparta.

    A group of enraged Spartans threw the Persian heralds into a well and told them that they could get all the earth and water they wanted at the bottom of the well; the Athenians thought no more of the matter because they soundly defeated the Persians at the battle of Marathon; the Spartans, however, became more and more distressed at their rash behavior; their sacrifices in a shrine of Talthybius, which pertained to heralds, were repeatedly unfavorable.

    Ten years later, the city fathers asked for volunteers to go to the new Persian invader, Xerxes, to confess the disgraceful crime against the heralds and offer themselves for execution; two men of property and of high birth volunteered (Sperthias and Bulis) and surrendered themselves to Xerxes; the new Persian king surprised everyone, including his generals and advisors, by not executing the Spartan volunteers; instead, he took the Spartans on a tour of his assembled army and navy and let them return to Sparta unharmed; the purpose of this maneuver was to allow the Spartans to marvel at his strength and be cowed into submission rather than fight a pointless war; he seriously misjudged the Spartans because they would never surrender without a fight and any fight they entered would end either when they were victorious or when there were no Spartans left to fight.

  2. Another example of Spartan idealism can also be taken from Herodotus (Histories, book 3, chapter 46):

    The people of the island of Samos were being oppressed by an unfit ruler named Polykrates (Polycrates) so they sent an emissary to Sparta to ask for assistance; the emissary from Samos gave a long and detailed plea for assistance to the Spartan ephors and was astonished to be told that he should come back the next day and restate his appeal; the emissary was advised that the Spartans were not like the Athenians and that he should simplify his request if he expected any help; the following day when the emissary addressed the ephors, he held up an empty grain sack and said simply, “The sack is empty,” one of the ephors replied, “We can see that it’s a sack, there was no need to say that.”

  3. As an example of Spartan dominance after the Peloponnesian War, Xenophon relates an interesting story in Anabasis (book 7, chapter 1) where six thousand battle-hardened mercenary soldiers were confronted by a few red-cloaked Spartan officers and told that they could not stay in the city of Byzantium; the weary and hungry mercenaries obeyed the Spartans even though they could have easily pushed them aside but they knew that such an act would never be forgotten or forgiven by the Spartans; the mercenaries were angry but they complied with the Spartan demand and left the city without delay; the Spartans were the masters of all Greece and their authority was questioned only by fools.

The Spartans, like all Greek nations, were fiercely independent and this tendency was probably the cause of their eventual decline and subjugation; by circa 300 BCE, the Spartans had been effectively surrounded by unsympathetic hostile forces and they were effectively cut off from their sources of slaves and commerce.

The loss of Spartan independence did not come with one fatal attack or incident but with the slow decline of their influence throughout the Aegean area and, more importantly, on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

After 200 BCE, the Spartans were quickly reduced to a minor Greek influence and finally, in 146 BCE, they became subjects of the Roman Empire.

The name is also spelled as Lakedaimon or Lacedaimon.


One of the Fates; she and her sisters are the daughters of Zeus and Themis; her sisters are: Klotho (Clotho) and Atropos.

The Fates determine the life and death of all mortal beings.

Lakhesis is known as the Disposer of Lots; she determines the length of the thread of life; Klotho spins the thread of life; Atropos cuts the thread when the proper time has come for death.

The three sisters are also called the Moirai to denote their descent from the original goddess of Fate, Moira.


A district of ancient Greece on the southern-most part of the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

The primary city of Lakonia was Sparta; bounded on the east by the Gulf of Lakonia and on the west by the district of Messenia; also called Lakedaemon (Lacedaemon).


An Athenian general whose name literally means, Eager-for-a-Fight.


The eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet; pronounced Lam-tha; upper case: Λ; lower case: λ.


A flesh-eating she-monster.

A Lamia might be compared to the Roman Strix in that she was said to be a blood sucking demon; in a tamer sense, she was invoked to frighten children.

The name may also rendered as lamos or laimos.


A ceremony in Athens to honor Athene (Athena), Hephaistos (Hephaestus) and Prometheus.

Lighted torches were carried by runners from the outskirts of the city to the Akropolis (Acropolis); after the first Persian War (490 BCE), Pan was also honored in this ceremony because when the Athenian messenger, Phidippides, was running to Sparta to ask the city’s aid, Pan met him on the road and promised to assist the Athenians in the pending battle.


One of the chariot horses of the Trojan hero, Hektor (Hector); his other horses were: Xanthos (Xanthus), Podargos (Podargus) and Aithon.


The people who were most notable for their successful capture of the tyrant of the Khersonese (Chersonese), Miltiades.

Miltiades became tyrant of the Khersonese by the divine command of the oracle at Delphi circa 540 BCE; he effectively defended the peninsula from invaders and, being an aggressive man, waged war on the Lampsakenes but Miltiades was captured in battle and taken as a hostage.

The ruler of Lydia, Kroesus (Croesus), sent a message to the Lampsakenes and told them that if Miltiades was not released he would destroy them “even like a pine tree”; the Lampsakenes were unsure exactly what Kroesus meant by that statement but finally came to realize that once a pine tree is cut down, unlike other trees, it will not put out shoots and thus utterly dies; the Lampsakenes took Kroesus at his word and released Miltiades unharmed.


A son of Herakles (Heracles) and Omphale.

Laodamas (1)

The brother of Nausikaa (Nausicaa) and the son of the king of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians), Alkinoos (Alcinous) and queen Arete.

His name literally means Man-Taming.

Laodamas (2)

A son of Eteocles who defended the city of Thebes against the Epigoni; he killed Aegialeus and was killed by Alkmaeon (Alcmaeon).

His name literally means Man-Taming.

Laodameia (1)

The daughter of Bellerophontes (Bellerophon).

Laodameia was the consort of Zeus and the mother of the Trojan ally, Sarpedon; she was killed by Artemis “in anger.”

Laodameia (2)

A daughter of Akastos (Acastus) who committed suicide so that she could join her husband, Protesilaus, in the Underworld.

Protesilaus was allowed to return from the dead for a brief visit with Laodameia but she could not bear to live without him; when Protesilaus returned to the Underworld, Laodameia committed suicide.

As is common with many of the Greek myths, there is a bit of confusion involved with the names of various individuals; the name of Protesilaus’ wife is no exception; in the Kypria, which is part of the Epic Cycle, Polydora is said to be the wife of Protesilaus.


One of the three daughters of Agamemnon who was offered to Akhilleus (Achilles) if he would put away his anger and return to the battle with the Trojans.

Laokoon (1)

The Trojan prophet who tried to warn king Priam that the Wooden Horse was a trick and not a peace offering.

When the Greeks appeared to withdraw from the city of Troy after a ten year siege, they left a large Wooden Horse, with soldiers hidden inside, that they hoped the Trojans would take into their city as a peace offering; once the Wooden Horse was inside the walls of Troy, the soldiers were to emerge from the hollow horse and attack the Trojans as they slept.

Laokoon tried to warn the Trojans but his pleas were scorned; a giant serpent rose from the sea and killed Laokoon and one (or both) of his sons; Priam assumed that Laokoon was killed because he was giving false prophecy and not because the Immortals wanted the prophet silenced so that Troy could be conquered and despoiled.

Laokoon (2)

The half-brother of Oineus of Kalydon (Calydon).

Oineus’ son, Meleagros (Meleager), was young but very strong and wanted to join the other heroes in the quest for the Golden Fleece; Oineus sent Laokoon to protect Meleagros and thus Laokoon and Meleagros sailed with Iason (Jason) and the Argonauts.

Laokoon Group
Laocoon Group

A group of sculptures dating from Hellenistic times depicting the prophet, Laokoon, and his sons being devoured by a giant serpent; the sculpture was carved by Athenodorus, Polydorus and Agesander.


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.


The son of Ilus and the father of the last king of the city of Troy, Priam.

When Laomedon was the king of Troy, Zeus commanded Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Apollon to serve him for one year; Poseidon built the walls of Troy and Apollon tended Laomedon’s herds; when their service was over, Laomedon refused to pay for their services and threatened to sell them into slavery; Apollon seemed more inclined to forgive the insult but Poseidon would not forgive or forget; when the final battle for Troy was fought, Poseidon fought fiercely on the side of the Argives and helped topple the walls that he had built.

Prior to the fall of Troy, Herakles (Heracles) stopped at the city after the completion of his Ninth Labor (Retrieve the Belt of the Amazon Queen, Hippolyte); he saved Laomedon’s daughter, Hesione, from one of Poseidon’s ketos, i.e. sea monsters.


The residents of Thessaly near Mount Pelion.

When king Pirithous was having the wedding feast for his daughter, Hippodamia, the neighboring Centaurs raided the festivities and tried to kidnap Hippodamia; a war between the Lapithae and Centaurs resulted and the Lapithae eventually drove the Centaurs from the area of Mount Pelion.

Larisa (1)

The name implies a Citadel and was used generally as a common name for many cities and districts.

Larisa (2)

An inland city in the district of Thessaly.


A sarcophagus.


Latinos, Agrios and Telegonos were the sons of Odysseus and the nymph, Kirke (Circe).


A mountain in southern Attika (Attica) noted for its silver mines.


Dysnomia; a daughter of Eris (Discord).


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.


The young man from the city of Abydos who was in love with the priestess of Aphrodite (goddess of Love), Hero.

Each night Leander would swim across the narrow waters of the Hellespont from Abydos to the city of Sestos and secretly meet with his beloved Hero; Leander used the city lights of Sestos to guide him as he swam but one cloudy night he lost his way and drowned before he could reach the shore; when Hero heard of Leander’s fate, she threw herself into the sea and joined her lover in his watery tomb.


A city in the district of Boeotia; the site of the oracular cave of Trophonius.

Approximate east longitude 22.88 and north latitude 38.43.


The daughter of Thestios and the consort of Zeus; the mother of Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux), Phoibe (Phoebe), Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra) and Helen; she was the wife of the king of Sparta, Tyndareus.

Zeus came to Leda in the guise of a swan and seduced her; it’s not clear if Tyndareus or Zeus was the father of Leda’s children but Kastor, Polydeukes and Helen are assumed to be the children of Zeus while Klytemnestra and Phoibe are assumed to be the daughters of Tyndareus; the tragic lives of her children compelled Leda to kill herself.


The nymph who, in union with the river, Kephisos (Cephisus), was the mother of the beautiful and vain man named Narkissus (Narcissus).


A clay jar, elliptical in shape with a narrow neck topped by a flanged lip with a handle joining the shoulder and spout, typified by its tapered bottom supported by a flat base; usually used for ointments.


A large island in the northern Aegean Sea mid-way between the Greek mainland and Asia Minor and almost due west of the location of ancient Troy.

Lemnos is 186 square miles (482 square kilometers) in area and was the place where Hephaistos (Hephaestus) landed when he was hurled from Mount Olympos (Olympus) by Zeus.

The historian, Herodotus, relates the story that when the Pelasgians were driven from Attika (Attica) they kidnapped a number of Athenian women and took them to Lemnos; the women were defiant and taught their children to act and speak like Athenians; the Pelasgians would not accept such rebellious attitudes and killed the captive mothers and children and thus the term Lemnian Deeds became an enduring insult to the honor and manhood of the inhabitants.

Lemnos was also a stopping point for Iason (Jason) and the Argonauts when they were on their way to the Euxine (Black Sea); Iason fell in love with the ex-king’s daughter, Hypsipyle, and fathered twin sons with her.

Approximate east longitude 25.21 and north latitude 39.54.


The festival of Bakkhus (Bacchus) held in the month of Lenaion in Attika (Attica) at which the Comic Poets competed.


The seventh month of the year in Attika (Attica) corresponding to the last half of January and the first half of February.


The third Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 870-840 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Very little is known about Leobotas and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.


The son of Pero and Melampous (Melampus); the brother of Talaos and Areios; all three brothers were Argonauts.

His name may also be rendered as Leodokus or Leodocus.


The thirteenth Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 590-560 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Very little is known about Leon and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.

Leonidas II

The twenty-seventh Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled from 254-236 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Leonidas I

The sixteenth Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled from 490-480 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Beginning with Leonidas I, the names and dates for the Spartan kings became a part of the historical record and are generally accepted as factual; prior to Leonidas I, the dates for the Spartan kings are extrapolated back from historical times to approximate the time periods in which each king ruled.

Leonidas I is the most famous Spartan king because he fought to the death against the Persian army at Thermopylae in 480 BCE; after the Persian king, Xerxes, had advanced down the eastern coast of Greece, Leonidas made his stand at the narrow passage of Thermopylae; Leonidas led an army made up of Greeks from different districts of the Peloponnesian Peninsula but the command and the responsibility was strictly Spartan.

When the Greeks saw the Persians approaching, the Phokians (Phocians) and the Lokrians (Locrians) wanted to withdraw but Leonidas commanded that they stand and fight; the Persians thought that if the Greeks saw the sheer size of their army they would retreat, so the Persians waited for five days before they mounted their first attack.

Initially the Persians sent their allies, the Medes and the Kissians (Cissians), to dislodge the Greeks but they were beaten back with heavy losses; king Xerxes then sent his chosen troops, the Immortals, against the Greeks but they too were slaughtered (the Greeks used a tactic that the Persians had never encountered before: the Greeks would stop fighting and turn to flee from the Persians; the Persians would shout and rejoice thinking that they had won the battle and then chase after the fleeing Greeks without re-forming into their fighting formations; the Greeks would then turn back to the fight and, with the Persians caught off guard, plow into the Persian attackers with no mercy).

With no chance of winning a frontal assault, the Persians were at a loss as to how to defeat Leonidas until a Greek traitor named Ephialtes of Malis showed the Persians a mountain trail that would lead them behind the Greek defenses; Leonidas and most all of the defenders were killed in the resulting sneak attack.

Leotykhidas II
Leotychidas II

The sixteenth Eurypontidai king of the city of Sparta who ruled 491-469 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon and the other was required to be a descendant of king Agis I (respectively known as the Eurypontidai and the Agiadai).

Leotykhidas I
Leotychidas I

The eleventh Eurypontidai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 625-600 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon and the other was required to be a descendant of king Agis I (respectively known as the Eurypontidai and the Agiadai).

Very little is known about Leotykhidas I and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.


A unit of money equal to one-hundredth of a drakhma (drachma); one drakhma was equal to one days pay for a fully equipped mercenary; thus, a lepton was a very small amount of money.


A marshy region south of the city of Argos on the Peloponnesian Peninsula; most notable as the abode of the Hydra, a large multi-headed snake, which was slain by Herakles (Heracles) during his Second Labor.


The father of Naubolos and the son of Proetus; the great-grandson of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Amymone (the daughter of Danaus).


One of the smaller Dodecanese Islands with an area of 21 square miles (54 square kilometers); located off the southwestern coast of Turkey and northwest of the island of Kos (Cos).


A Greek island in the northeastern Aegean Sea, with an area of 632 square miles (1,637 square kilometers).

The island was the home of such notables as: Sappho and Terpander; first settled by the Aeolians but became subservient to Athens until the Peloponnesian War, circa 421 BCE.

When the island was re-conquered by the Athenians, the entire population narrowly escaped execution by a last-minute reprieve.

Lesser Dionysia

The wine feasts, processions and dramatic performances composing a festival honoring Dionysus held in mid-December in ancient Attika (Attica).

There was also a Spring festival called the Great Dionysia (City Dionysia) which was notable for the performance of dithyrambs (a wild and irregular choral song or chant), tragedies, comedies and satyr plays (ribald dramas with a chorus of satyrs).


Forgetfulness; a daughter of Eris (Discord).

Labdakos to Lethe

Labdakos to Lethe Leto to Lysizonos


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