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MITOLOGY DICTIONARY(L)

L


Lachesis
The Disposer, one of the three Erinyes (Fates). She measures the length of the thread of human life spun by Clotho and determines its destiny.

Ladon
The hundred-headed dragon who guards the garden of the Hesperides and in it the tree with the golden apples. Some sources say that he is a child of Typhon and Echidna, other mention the dragon as a child of Phorcys.

Lamia

The ancient Greeks believed that the Lamia was a vampire who stole little children to drink their blood. She was portrayed as a snake-like creature with a female head and breasts. Usually female, but sometimes referred to as a male or a hermaphrodite. According to legend, she was once a Libyan queen (or princess) who fell in love with Zeus. Zeus' jealous wife Hera deformed her into a monster and murdered their offspring. She also made Lamia unable to close her eyes, so that she couldn't find any rest from the obsessing image of her dead children. When Zeus saw what had be done to Lamia, he felt pity for her and gave his former lover a gift: she could remove her eyes, and then put them on again. This way, though sleepless, she could rest from her misfortune. Lamia envied other the other mothers and took her vengeance by stealing their children and devouring them. In Lamia and other Poems (1820), the English poet John Keats writes about Lamia too. In this version, based on the information he found in Anatomy of Melancholy of the 1600s, Lamia has the ability to change herself into a beautiful young woman. Here she assumes a human form to win a man's love.

Lampetia

The daughter of Helios. Together with Phaetusa she guarded her father's oxen on the island of Thrinacia. When Odysseus' companions slaughtered some of them, she informed her father about this.

Laodice
1. A nymph, occasionally mentioned as the mother of Niobe. 2. The dauther of Priam and Hecuba.

Laomedon
Laomedon was the son of Ilus and a king of Troy, two of his sons were Tithonus and Podarces (Priam) who was later to be king. Laomedon was also very well known for his blatant treachery. It was Laomedon who gave Troy (Ilion) its city walls, to build them, he persuaded Poseidon and Apollo, (who at that time had been banished from Mount Olympus for a year by Zeus, for not obeying his wishes). telling them he would reward them well. After many months of hard work the walls were finished, the finest ever seen, but when Apollo and Poseidon asked for their reward, Laomedon refused to give them their payment and drove them away, hurling threats and insults towards the immortals. Poseidon and Apollo returned to Mount Olympus, as their year of banishment was complete, but the two gods were extremely angry at Laomedon's actions. To gain vengeance over Laomedon, Apollo sent a plague over the land, and Poseidon a sea-monster. Laomedon asked the advice of an oracle to rid his land of these hardships, the oracles reply was, Laomedon had to sacrifice his own daughter (Hesione) to the sea-monster. Laomedon without hesitation had Hesione chained to a rock, she lay trembling with fear, awaiting her grizzly end, to be devoured as sacrifice to this monster of the sea. As if by a miracle Heracles was in the vicinity, and pledged to save Hesione after Laomedon had promised him a team of matchless horses, which had been given by Zeus to his grandfather Tros. The fearless Heracles fought and killed the sea-monster, releasing Hesione, but once again Laomedon broke his promise and refused Heracles the horses as reward. Heracles, angered by this, killed Laomedon and his sons, but spared the youngest Podarces (swift-foot) in exchange for a beautiful veil which Hesione herself had embroidered with gold.. Heracles then gave Hesione to his companion in arms Telamon who carried her away to Salamis in Greece. From that day on, Podarces became known as "Priam" (which means "bought or "ransomed") and he became the most famous king of Troy. In Homer's Iliad, Priam is portrayed as an old man, grieving the misfortunes of the Trojans, and the death of many of his sons

Larissa
In Greek mythology, a daughter of Pelasgus, whom the fortress near Argos and two cities (in Thessaly and in Peneus) are named after.

Leander
See: Hero and Leander.

Leda
Leda was the daughter of Thestius and the wife of Tyndareus. She has been known as the Queen of Sparta. Leda was seduced by Zeus when he came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg. From it hatched the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux. With Zeus she also had Helen and with Tyndareus she had Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. She was one of the tragic women in the Trojan War. While Agamemnon was away in the war, Clytemnestra took Aegisthus as her lover, and together they plotted to kill Agamemnon when he returned. One of her reasons was her husband's sacrifice of their daughter. When Agamemnon returned Clytemnestra pretended to greet him. Later, while Agamemnon bathed, Clytemnestra murdered him. She, herself was killed by her son Orestes. Helen of Troy was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greece and the major cause of the Trojan War. While still a young girl, Helen was carried off by an Athenian hero, Theseus. Before any harm could come to her the Dioscuri rescued her. Later, she was sought after by almost every prince in Greece, but she finally married Menelaus, king of Sparta, who was the richest of the suitors. Helen and Memelaus had one child. Her name was Hermione. Helen and Menelaus' marriage was threatened when Paris, a Trojan prince, fell madly in love with Helen. Taking advantage of Menelaus' absence from the palace, Paris abducted Helen and then left for Troy. This was the cause of the Trojan War. All of the other prices had promised Tyndareus, Helen's father, that he would in case of need, come to the aid of the lucky man who became Helen's husband. Faithful to their oaths, all the princes of Greece took power under the command of Agamemnon to avenge the outrage done to Menelaus. For ten years the battle raged before the walls of Troy. Finally the Greek warriors were able to enter the city by hiding in the hollow flanks of a large wooden horse (see: Trojan horse) which the Trojans themselves had put in the city. Troy was conquered and set on fire. Helen was returned to Menelaus and they were reconciled. After Menelaus' death, Helen was put among the stars with Dioscuri. Castor and Pollux had a magnificent temple erected in their honor. They accompanied the Roman army on its campaigns and during battles were seen among the cavalry. They also protected sailors and travelers at sea. At Ostia they calmed a storm which was not allowing ships loaded with corn from entering port. Castor and Pollux carried off the two daughters of Leucippus and married them. This was the reason for their quarrel between Idas and Lynceus, who were also seeing the two young women. Pollux killed Lynceus while Castor was mortally wounded by Idas. Pollux wept over the body of his brother; for being himself immortal he could not follow Castor to the Kingdom of Hades. "In their quality of marine god they naturally presided over commerce." In the second century AD they were incorporated in funeral rituals and their popularity was so great that even Christians did not deny that they were symbols of life and death

Lenaeus
An appellation of Dionysus as lord of the wine press. Lethe"Forgetfulness". In Greek mythology, the Lethe is one of the rivers that flow through the realm of Hades. Called the River of Oblivion, the shades of the dead had to drink from this river to forget about their past lives on earth.

Leto
Leto, the daughter of the Titans Phoebe and Coeus. Known as the hidden one and bright one, her name came to be used for the moon Selene. Hera was jealous of Leto because Zeus, the husband of Hera, had fallen in love with her. From their union Leto bore the divine twins, Artemis and Apollo. Leto found this to be an arduous task, as Hera had refused Leto to give birth on either terra firma or on an island out at sea. The only place safe enough to give birth was Delos because Delos was a floating island. Therefore, Leto did not refute the wishes of Hera. In some versions, Leto was refused by other vicinities because they feared the great power of the god she would bear. To show her gratitude, Leto anchored Delos to the bottom of the Aegean with four columns, to aid its stability. A conflict of legends arises when in one version it says that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, and the birth took place on the island of Ortygia. Then the next day, Artemis helped Leto to cross to the island of Delos, and aided Leto with the delivery of Apollo. Leto, being the mother of Artemis and Apollo, figured as the motive for the slaughter was Niobe's children was that Niobe had been bragging to Leto about bearing fourteen children (in some versions six or seven). Leto had only born two, and to make matters worse, Niobe then had the audacity to say, it must make her more significant than Leto. When the divine twins were told of this insult, they killed all Niobe's children with their deadly arrows. After which Niobe wept for her dead children so much that she turned into a pillar of stone. From one version of how Apollo slew the monster Python, it was said that while Leto was still pregnant with the divine twins, Python tried to molest her. As punishment, Apollo killed him and then took control of the oracle of Delphi. Leto was worshiped throughout Greece, but principally in Lycia (Asia Minor). In Delos and Athens, there were temples dedicated to her, although in most regions she was worshiped in conjunction with her children, Artemis and Apollo. In Egypt there is the Temple of Leto (Wadjet) at Buto, which was described by Herodotus as being connected to an island which floated. On this island (Khemmis) stood a temple to Apollo, but Herodotus dismissed the claim that it floated as merely the legend of Delos brought to Egypt from Greek tradition. The Romans called Leto "Latona".

Leucippe

A Greek nymph who accompanied Persephone when she was abducted by Hades.

Leucippus
The king of Messinia, father of Phoebe and Hilaera. His daughters were abducted by the Dioscuri.

Leucothea
"The White Goddess", the name of Ino as a marine deity, which she became when she threw herself into the sea with her son Melicertes. However, Dionysus would not let her die, and she was transformet into Leucothea.

Leucothea
The beloved of Helios. She was betrayed by Clytia and her father buried her alive. After her death she turned into an incense-plant. Leucothea is also the name of Ino as a marine-deity, which see.

Leucothoe
The daughter of the Greek king Orchamus. She was loved by Apollo, and he assumed the shape of her mother to gain entrance to her. When her father learned of Apollo's visit, he became so enraged that he buried his daughter alive. Apollo changed the girl into a incense plant.

Libya
The daughter of Epaphus en Memphis, beloved by Poseidon. She gave her name to that part of the world that was called Libya (in ancient times Africa for as far as it was known then.)

Liknites
An epithet of Dionysus, alluding to a fertility aspect of the god. The name means "he of the winnowing fan"; a sort of shovel with which the cut grain was thrown into the air to separate the chaff. The winnowing fan was one of the implements used in the Mysteries.

Linus
A beautiful Greek youth, who died before his time. According to an ancient saga, the son of Apollo and the Muse Urania. He was killed by his father during a contest. In the sagas of Argos he was the son of Apollo and Psamathe, the daughter of the king of Argos. Because Psamathe feared her father's wrath, she gave her son to shepherds to raise him. When he reached maturity, he was torn apart by dogs. Psamathe was killed by her father, and an angered Apollo send a plague to Argos, which killed mainly the children. In the sagas of Thebes, Linus was the son of Apollo and the Muse Terpsichore. As a skilled singer and musician he taught Orpheus and Heracles, until he reprimanded Heracles for his mistakes, and was killed by him.

Litai

The sisters of the Greek goddess Ate. They follow her wherever she goes and try to repair the damage she has wrought to mortals.

Locrus
The son of Zeus and Maera.

Lotis
A nymph, daughter of Poseidon. She was pursued by Priapus and in order to escape him was changed into the lotus tree.

Loxias
Loxias was one of the titles of Apollo. Loxias was a Greek god of prophesy, music, and healing. Like most of his Olympian companions, he didnıt hesitate to interrupt human affairs. He was the one who helped kill Achilles, the great warrior and leader of Troy.

Lyaeus
An epithet of Dionysys, as the god who releases people from worries.

Lycorias
A sea nymph, daughter of Nereus and Doris.

Lynceus
The son of Aegyptus, the only one of his fifty sons that was spared during the treacherous attact of the Danaides, the fifty daughters of Aegyptus' brother Belus. Lynceus was married to Hypermnestra, and together they became the ancestors of the Argives. It is also the name of one of the Argonauts (see: Lynceus).

Lysithea
In Greek mythology Lysithea was a daughter of Oceanus and one of Zeus' many lovers.


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