Victoria Grossack: You may be familiar with the Greek myth of Niobe but in case your memory needs to be refreshed, a brief summary follows. Niobe, a queen of Thebes during the late Bronze Age, had fourteen children seven sons and seven daughters of whom she was very proud. The great number of her children led her to boast that she was better than the goddess, Leto, who had only one of each: the twin Olympian gods, Apollo and Artemis. Furious with Niobe at claiming to be superior to their mother, Apollo and Artemis took out their bows and shot dead all seven of Niobes sons and six of Niobes seven daughters.
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." - Dr. Johnson
Posted 28 January 2011 - 04:52 AM
Interesting article. It should be noted though, that a number such as seven sons and seven daughters sounds like one of those exaggerated numbers which appear in mythology (such as the 300 Spartans standing alone against over a million Persians). I think it was more likely that she lost her children, blamed the gods and went into the wilderness out of grief and died there, which for a queen of Thebes it's enough to guarantee a place in Greek mythology.