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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Leto to Lysizonos
Labdakos to Lethe Leto to Lysizonos
The consort of Zeus; mother of Apollon and Artemis; the daughter of the Titans, Koios (Coeus) and Phoibe (Phoebe).
For more detailed information on Leto I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.
One of the Ionian Islands located near the western coast of Greece in the Ionic Sea due north of the island of Ithaka (Ithaca); 114 square miles (295 square kilometers) in size.
A name referring to the daughters of Leukippus (Leucippus) who were nymphs worshipped at Sparta.
The father of Hilaeira and Phoibe (Phoebe).
The mortal man who pursued the nymph, Daphne, disguised as a woman; when the nymphs who accompanied Daphne realized his deception, they killed him.
The sea goddess, the deified Ino, who gave Odysseus a veil as a life-preserver after a storm destroyed his raft; she was known as the White Goddess.
A Greek town in ancient Boeotia.
The Thebans defeated the Spartans there in 371 BCE; the battle was important because it ended the Spartan domination of Greece which followed the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).
The vocabulary of language, trade, a social class or person; in Greek the word lexikos means, of words.
The modern name of Mount Parnassus; a mountain in central Greece north of the Gulf of Korinth (Corinth) and near Delphi; 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) in height.
One of the seven surviving tragedies by the Athenian playwright Aeskhylus (Aeschylus).
This play is the second in the Oresteia trilogy dealing with the murder of Agamemnon and the revenge meted out by his son, Orestes; a fine story and well worth reading.
If you wish to read this play I suggest The Complete Greek Tragedies, Aeschylus I, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, ISBN 0226307786; you can find this book at your library in the 800 section or you can order it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The name of the South-West Wind.
There are two types of winds:
The divinely created winds nourish and bless the earth but the winds of Typhoeus are wild and destructive; Libos would be one of the winds created by Typhoeus.
The Library of Alexandria in Egypt has become the epitome of ancient knowledge.
The Library of Alexandria was founded after the death of Alexander the Great as the repository of all the manuscripts which had been collected during the Greek conquest of the civilized world; the ancestors of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, stocked the library with thousands, if not millions, of manuscripts.
The library was subsequently destroyed by Julius Caesar, by Christian fanatics, and finally, by the Moslem caliph, Omar; Caesar burned the library as a military maneuver while fighting the Egyptians; the Christians destroyed the library because they were afraid it glorified paganism; caliph Omar is famous for his profound arrogance when he said that the contents of the library should be destroyed because if the manuscripts agreed with the teachings of Mohammed, they were redundant and need not be preserved and if they disagreed with the teachings of Mohammed, they were pernicious and should be destroyed.
It’s curious to note that Edward Gibbon, in his definitive work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, dismissed the destruction of the Library of Alexandria as an event of no great import; Gibbon (chapter 51) implies that the content of the Library of Alexandria was nothing more than a collection of misinformation and superstitious bunk; the final destruction of the Library of Alexandria took place in 638 CE.
A small group of islands in the east-central Adriatic Sea near the coast of modern Herzegovina.
The people who lived on the Liburnian Islands in the east-central Adriatic Sea.
To the ancient Greeks, all of Africa west of Egypt was considered to be Libya.
When the Argonauts were stranded in Libya, the half-fish, half-man shaped god, Triton, appeared to them and told them that Libya was “the home of wild beasts.”
After Perseus had beheaded the Gorgon, Medusa, he flew over the Libyan desert and the drops of Medusa’s blood which fell on the sand became seeds for a brood of serpents.
A nymph; the daughter of Epaphos (Epaphus) and Memphis; the consort of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and the mother of Agenor.
The Logoi; Logoi can be translated as Lies, Stories or Fables but the meaning is clear no matter which name you choose for these sons of Eris (Discord).
A name for the poet, Mimnermus and implying a Murky Flame; Mimnermus wrote love poems; fl. 650 BCE.
An epitaph for Artemis generally meaning “she who lives in the marshes.”
The name of one of the Graces meaning Love-Marsh; also the name of a frog.
Famine or Starvation; one of the sons of Eris (Discord).
A city on the central-eastern coast of the island of Rhodes.
A system of writing, not yet deciphered, inscribed on clay tablets, pottery and other objects found at Minoan sites on the island of Crete and other Greek islands.
An ancient system of writing representing a very early form of Greek; deciphered by the Englishman, Michael G. F. Ventris (1922-1956) chiefly from clay tablets found at Knossus on the island of Crete and at the seaport city of Pylos on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.
A poet; perhaps the son of Amphimarus and Ourania (Urania).
Linus is said to be the innovator of melody and rhythm; he was the music teacher of Orpheus, Herakles (Heracles), and Iphikles (Iphicles); during one of the lessons, Linus struck Herakles as punishment for his inattention and the youthful Herakles flew into a rage and beat Linus to death with a stool; this scene is the subject of several Red Figure vases from the early fifth century BCE.
The death of Linus was commemorated at harvest time by the singing of the dirge called the Song of Linus or Linus Song; Herodotus believed that the Song of Linus originated in Egypt and dated from the time of the first Egyptian king, Min; the king’s son, Maneros, died an untimely death and a song was dedicated to his passing; the refrain from the song in the Semitic language was “ai lenu,” i.e. alas for us, and was translated into Greek as “ailinos” and thus became the proper name, Linus.
The largest of the Aeolian Islands located off the northern coast of Asia Minor in the Euxine (Black Sea).
The personification of Prayers; the daughters of Zeus.
If a person does not call upon the Litai in times of need, they report to Zeus and recommend that he send Ate (Blindness) to hurt and punish the unbeliever; Ate is swift but the Litai are old and slow; they always come after Ate has inflicted her curses but they can heal and renew the spirit of anyone who calls upon them.
Consisting or relating to stone.
A unit of weight based on a silver coin used on the island of Sicily; seventy-two coins equaled one pound.
The Little Iliad is one of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle.
The Little Iliad relates several events that were alluded to in The Iliad and The Odyssey but not given in detail:
The information found in the Little Iliad may be described as “tidbits” but when taken as part of the continuing story of the fall of Troy the fragments are tantalizing and revealing: for example, Neoptolemus is shown to be as bloodthirsty as his father, Akhilleus.
For the complete translations of the Epic Cycle I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57, ISBN 0674990633; you can sometimes find this book at the library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
A son of king Midas of Phrygia.
As the king of Phrygia, Lityerses was purported to have forced his subjects to work as hard as he did in the fields or be beaten or killed for their laziness.
A collection of historical profiles by the Greek writer Plutarkh (Plutarch).
Plutarkh was a Greek but he studied in Rome and it’s obvious from Lives that he intended to preserve the wisdom (and folly) of ancient Greece so that the Romans could learn from the achievements of the Greek political and military leaders and see the common threads which connected the declining Greek culture with the emerging Roman civilization.
Lives was written circa 105-115 CE and generally divided into four groups:
There are numerous translations of Lives and most are readable; I personally recommend the Loeb Classical Library series or the Penguin Classics book The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert (ISBN 0140441026).
Logoi can be translated as Lies, Stories or Fables but, since they are sons of Eris (Discord), the meaning usually has a negative connotation.
The word Logos had many subtle meanings but the basis of every usage was always simply, Word.
An epitaph of Artemis in relation to the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia (Eilithyia).
A sub-group of the Greeks made up of three tribes: 1) the Opuntian, 2) the Epiknemidian (Epicnemidian) and 3) the Ozolian; they also colonized southern Italy and were called the Zephyrian or the Epizephyrian.
The protective wall built by Perikles (Pericles) which extended from the city of Athens to the port city of Piraeus.
The Long Wall was an aggressive project and was clearly a defensive measure against the threatening military might of Sparta; after the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), the Spartans demolished part of the Long Wall so that they could have access to Athens if the Athenians showed any sign of resistance to Spartan hegemony.
A robe worn over other garments.
The title of Hades (king of the Underworld).
Either of two districts in the central part of ancient Greece.
The larger Lorkis was located on the southern mainland on the Gulf of Korinth (Corinth) west of Delphi.
The smaller Lorkis was located on the coast of the eastern mainland adjacent to the northern part of the island of Euboea.
A group of people who existed in a state of languorous forgetfulness induced by eating the fruit of the lotus plant.
After leaving the island of the sorceress Kirke (Circe), and mourning the crewmen who had been eaten by the monster Skylla (Scylla), Odysseus found himself in the land of the Lotus Eaters.
After a brief rest, Odysseus sent three men to seek out the inhabitants of the land and see if they were eaters of bread, i.e. civilized people; the three men encountered the Lotus Eaters and found them to be peaceful and in no way hostile; they gave Odysseus’ men the honey sweet fruit of the lotus and the soldiers fell into a state of lethargic bliss and lost all desire to return to their ships.
When Odysseus found his men in such a state, he forcibly carried them back to the ships and tied them to their rowing benches; the sails were quickly set and Odysseus fled the land of the Lotus Eaters so that no one else would eat the lotus fruit and forget the way home.
This term is used to identify the northern portion of the Nile river valley of Egypt.
The Nile flows from south to north and the designation of Lower Egypt signifies the part of the Nile river valley which is closest to the Mediterranean Sea; you might also consider that, since water flows downhill, the terminal point of every river is lower in elevation than its source and this would make the northern Nile the “lower” part of the river; the southern portion of the Nile river valley is conversely called Upper Egypt.
Another name for Apollon meaning either Ambiguous or Speaker depending on the root word from which you assume the name was derived (loxos or logos respectively).
A name for Bakkhus (Bacchus) as the Deliverer.
An ancient kingdom in western Asia Minor.
Lydia was named after Lydus and ruled by the descendants of Herakles (Heracles) for 505 years from the rule of Agron until the time of Kandaules (Candaules).
Kandaules was a vain and boastful man with a beautiful wife; his obsession with his wife’s beauty caused him to make a foolish mistake; he allowed his bodyguard, Gyges, to see his wife naked, which was an untenable breach of social morality; when Kandaules’ wife found out that she had been exposed, she forced Gyges into the no-win situation of either killing Kandaules or admitting his crime; admitting his crime would have been certain death and killing Kandaules might result in a popular revolt; Gyges chose to kill Kandaules and declare his right to rule Lydia.
Gyges proposed that the matter be left to the oracle at Delphi and he would rule or step down as the oracle commanded; the oracle proclaimed him king with the stipulation that in five generations his descendants would lose power; his descendants ruled Lydia until the time of Kroesus (Croesus) when it was reduced to a fiefdom of the Persian Empire during the reign of Xerxes; Kroesus, the fifth generation descendant of Gyges, was made into a slave of the Persian king.
A work by Xanthos (Xanthus) on the history of Lydia.
The son of Atys and the founder of the Lydian race.
The king of Arkadia (Arcadia) who entertained a stranger who might have been Zeus but Lykaon was unsure.
Lykaon offered his guest human flesh to eat as a test to see if he was a man or a god, i.e. if he could detect the deception, he was indeed a god but if he was unaware that he was being fed human flesh, he was a mortal; the stranger was Zeus and Lykaon was punished by either: 1) being killed outright, or 2) being turned into a wolf; Lykaon had a daughter named Kallisto (Callisto).
An epitaph of Apollon as the Giver of Light.
The name of the gymnasium in the eastern suburb of Athens named after the sacred grove of Apollon where Aristotle lectured his students during the day and the general public in the evenings (circa 335 BCE).
An ancient country in southwestern Asia Minor located on the southernmost tip of the continent.
The principal city of Lykia was Xanthos (Xanthus); the first Greeks to settle Lykia were under the leadership of Sarpedon after he had been forced to flee the island of Crete by his brother Minos; before Sarpedon arrived, the land was called Milyas but his people called themselves the Termilae.
Another exile, Lykus (Lycus), arrived and took control of the province and the land was renamed Lykia (Lycia) after him.
An Anatolian language of Lykia written in the form of the Greek alphabet.
An epitaph of Apollon as the Wolf-Slayer.
The son of Dryas and noted as an object lesson as to why mortal men should not do battle with the Immortals.
While Dionysus was still a child, Lykurgos raged down the slopes of Mount Nysa and scourged the nurses of Dionysus; Lykurgos drove Dionysus into the sea where he was saved by Thetis; Zeus blinded Lykurgos and cursed him with a long life.
His name may also be rendered as Lykourgos or Lycourgos.
One of the sons of Aldus; brother of Amphidamas, Kepheus (Cepheus) and Auge; the father of the Argonaut, Ankaios (Ancaios).
His name may also be rendered as Lykourgos or Lycourgos.
Whether Lykurgos was a real man or just a mythological symbol does not really matter; his influence on the Spartans was nothing less than miraculous.
The Spartans were descendants of the Dorians, and when they settled on the Greek mainland and the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the eleventh century BCE, they displaced the aboriginal inhabitants and assumed the roles of governors and landlords; the Spartans were dominating and very discriminating towards to pre-Dorian Greeks; although the Spartans were greatly outnumbered by their surfs (helots) they were the economic and political masters of Lakonia (Laconia).
When the Spartans tried to annex the neighboring tribe known as the Messenians (735-716) they were hard pressed to win a decisive victory; this was a major turning point for the development of the Spartans; the Spartans were severely outnumbered by the helots and the Messenians and for them to retain their domination of these potentially rebellious surfs the Spartans needed a new approach to their government and military; Lykurgos (or the spirit of Lykurgos) came to the rescue.
The Spartans cast aside all frivolous and non-military activities and devoted all their time and resources to military affairs; men and boys were trained in military tactics; women were given more responsibility in day-to-day decision making; the weak and deformed were quickly, and mercilessly, culled from the population; every aspect of the government was redirected towards maintaining and perpetuating the military; this entire re-structuring of the Spartan government and economy was credited to one man, Lykurgos.
His name may also be rendered as Lykourgos or Lycourgos.
1(Lycus) The king of the city that eventually became known as Thebes who assumed the throne after the suicide death of his brother, Nykteus (Nycteus).
Lykus and Nykteus were sons of one of the Spartoi, i.e. the soldiers born from the dragon’s teeth sewn by Kadmus (Cadmus); Lykus’ niece, Antiope, had been seduced by Zeus and given birth to twin sons, Amphion and Zethos (Zethus); Antiope’s father, Nykteus, was so disgraced by what he perceived as his daughter’s base behavior that he killed himself in shame but before he died he made his brother, Lykus, promise that he would eventually punish Antiope for having children of such questionable parentage.
Antiope took her children and fled to the city of Sikyon (Sicyon); Lykus, after he became king of Thebes, captured Sikyon and put Antiope in prison; when Antiope finally escaped, she was re-united with her sons, Amphion and Zethos, who were now grown men; the twins avenged their mother’s harsh treatment by deposing Lykus and killing his wife, Dirke (Dirce), by tying her to the horns of a bull.
The son of Pandion and the brother of king Aegeus of the city of Athens.
Lykus was forced to flee Athens by Aegeus and settled in the southern portion of Asia Minor which came to be known as Lykia (Lycia); Lykus and Aegeus lived one generation before Herakles (Heracles) or circa 1200 BCE).
A son of Aegyptus and the husband of Hypermnestra.
Aegyptus tried to force the marriage of his sons to the daughters of his brother, Danaus; Danaus fled Egypt with his daughters and took refuge in Argos but, through a series of unexplained events, the girls were eventually forced into marriages with Aegyptus’ sons; Danaus was enraged and commanded his daughters to murder their husbands on their wedding night.
Lynkeus had the good fortune to marry Hypermnestra; she truly loved Lynkeus and did not resent the marriage; she defied her father and spared Lynkeus’ life; the other daughters did as their father had ordered and stabbed their husbands to death in their wedding bed; as punishment for this heinous crime, when the girls finally went to the Underworld, they were condemned to forever pour water into a leaky vessel.
His name may also be rendered as Lygkeus or Lygceus.
One of the sons of Aphareus and Arene; Lynkeus and his brother, Idas, became Argonauts.
Both brothers were noted for their great strength but Lynkeus was said to have eyesight so keen that he could see things under the earth; he and Idas were the cousins of Phoibe (Phoebe) and Hilaeira and were perhaps involved in the death of Kastor (Castor).
When Kastor and his twin brother, Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux), tried to kidnap Phoibe and Hilaeira, a fight arose and Kastor was killed; it is unclear as to exactly how Kastor was killed or exactly who killed him but the more “romantic” versions of the story insist that Kastor was killed when he and Polydeukes were fighting for possession of the young girls, Phoibe (Phoebe) and Hilaeira.
One of the daughters of Anteia and Proetus; her sisters were Iphianassa and Iphinoe.
A stringed musical instrument used in ancient Greece.
A lyre is made with a wooden sounding board and two curved arms joined by a yoke; similar to a harp with four to ten strings; also similar to the kithara (cithara).
The lyre was invented by Hermes on the day he was born; he used a mountain-turtle shell as the sound-board and sheep-gut as the strings; Hermes earned the love of Apollon by giving him the lyre.
A Spartan naval commander and statesman.
Lysander was the son of Aristokleitus (Aristokleitus) and a descendant of Herakles (Hercules) but not of the royal family of the city of Sparta; Lysander was, according to the noted historian Plutarkh (Plutarch), what we might call a “good Spartan” in that he displayed the traits the Spartans found to be most valuable in a man, i.e. bravery and modesty.
Lysander was not necessarily an honest man but he was true to his city and dedicated to the men under his command and this made his periodic lapses of integrity generally acceptable to the ephors of Sparta; he is reputed to have said, “Young men are cheated with dice and older men are cheated with oaths.”
Lysander came to prominence in the last years of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), and with his humiliating defeat of the Athenian fleet in the Hellespont in 405 BCE, prepared the way for the surrender of Athens and the end of the war.
The Athenian fleet totaled 180 triremes and were stationed on the western, i.e. European, side of the Hellespont near the city of Sestos; Lysander did not want to risk a direct engagement with the Athenians so he devised a clever plan to catch the Athenians off guard; the Athenians sailed out into the open waters of the Hellespont and, as was traditional, the Spartans were supposed to sail out and meet them; Lysander, however, did not engage the Athenians but stayed near the shore and waited for the Athenians to return to their temporary camp on the western coast.
The Athenians repeated this maneuver for four days and soon became complacent and convinced that the Spartans would not rise to the call of battle; finally, on the fifth day, the Athenians sailed out to challenge the Spartans, and again, the Spartans did not leave their safe harbor; the Athenians returned to their camp and, in a very disorganized manner, left their ships untended; Lysander had ordered his scout ships to hoist a shield when the Athenians had beached their ships and, when Lysander saw the signal, he ordered his fleet make for the Athenian encampment with all speed.
With the exception of one commander, the Athenians were caught completely off guard; as the disorganized Athenian sailors scrambled to their ships, Lysander boarded, rammed and trapped the majority of the Athenian fleet; only nine of the 180 Athenian triremes were able to get off the beach and reach the safety of open water; some of the Athenian sailors fled inland only to be killed or captured by the Spartans; Lysander took 171 ships and 3,000 men in this brilliant maneuver.
After the defeat of the Athenian fleet in the Hellespont, Lysander had complete domination to the Aegean Sea; the siege of Athens was now imminent and Lysander came upon a subtle means of forcing the Athenians to surrender the city without a prolonged standoff; Lysander went to the Athenian colonies in Asia Minor and gave them the choice of either returning to Athens or be put to death; most, if not all, of the Athenians chose life and fled Ionia; Athens was flooded with exiles and it then became a simple matter for the Spartans to surround the city and demand surrender.
The Athenians sued for peace and Lysander was at the center of the negotiations; the end of the Peloponnesian War was like the end of an era for the Greeks; an entire generation had been born, raised and killed in the unending conflict that encompassed all of Greece, Sicily and Asia Minor.
One of the most enduring and destabilizing consequences of the war between Athens and Sparta was the inclusion of the Persian Empire in matters which had previously been reserved for the Greeks; Lysander had played a major role in getting money and military assistance from the Persians; Lysander was killed circa 395 BCE at the siege of the city of Haliaratus in Boeotia.
A festival in honor of the Spartan commander, Lysander.
During his prestigious career, Lysander became famous and infamous; although he was accused of mismanaging the government of Sparta, his military accomplishments and the subjugation of Athens prompted many Greek cities to honor him with a festival.
One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.
(458?-380 BCE) An Athenian orator.
Lysias was born in the city of Athens but studied in Syracuse on the island of Sicily; after his family’s business was confiscated during the oppressive reign of the Thirty Tyrants in Athens he began to write speeches for litigants and became successful and respected; it is believed that he wrote more than two hundred speeches but only thirty two survive.
She and Talaus were the parents of the mythical king of Argos, Adrastus, who was with the Epigoni in their conquest of the city of Thebes.
(361?-281 BCE) A Makedonian (Macedonian) general and king of Thrake (Thrace) from 306-281 BCE.
A Greek sculptor during the time of Alexander the Great; fl. 360-320 BCE.
None of Lysippus’ bronze statues survive but a marble copy of one of his works, the Apoxyomenos, can still be seen in the Vatican.
A comedy by the Athenian poet, Aristophanes, produced in 411 BCE.
This is a lusty comedy about how the women of Greece united in an effort to stop the ongoing and senseless war between Athens and Sparta.
The women of Athens, led by a woman named Lysistrata, took a solemn and wine fueled oath to resist all amorous advances from their husbands until the war ended; their plan was simple, their husbands would have to choose between love and war; the women bared themselves in the Akropolis (Acropolis) and traded verbal jabs with the men who were trying to dislodge them.
At one point, Lysistrata gives a sincere and moving account of how she worked as a child to help her mother and then, as a young woman, how she participated in the Athenian festivals to celebrate the beauty and dignity of her homeland but now, with the war dominating all civic life, she feels helpless to save her family and her city from the hatred and brutality which the war has forced upon them all.
This is a political comedy and, as such, the dialogue is humorous as well as poignant; the play concludes with the love starved Athenian and Spartan men relenting to the women’s demands and agreeing to sign a peace treaty.
It’s easy to forgive Aristophanes for his unrealistic optimism in a speedy conclusion to the Peloponnesian War; he completely underestimated the complexity of the problems which separated the Athenians and Spartans and prevented any form of negotiated peace; despite his sincere protests against the ongoing war, the hostilities enveloped all of Greece and continued from 431 to 404 BCE, i.e. 27 years.
Aristophanes’ plays are sometimes difficult to appreciate because he was a very contemporary poet, i.e. he was writing for the Athenian audience of his day; he would use puns, parody regional accents and speak directly to the audience in ways that force modern translators to seek out the contextual meaning rather than the literal meaning of the poet’s words; for that reason, I suggest that if you find a translation that is difficult to enjoy, please don’t blame Aristophanes, simply look for a translation that you can enjoy.
When trying to find a readable translator, I suggest Patric Dickinson; you may find his books at your local library in the 882 section but his books are out of print and sometimes difficult to find; I also recommend the Penguin Classics book Lysistrata & Other Plays: The Acharnians, the Clouds, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Alan H. Sommerstein (Translator), ISBN 0140448144; you can also find this book at your local library or you can purchase it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
An epitaph for Eileithyia (Eilithyia), the goddess of childbirth; literally meaning “to loosen the zone.”
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