Leto, Greek mother goddess, was probably worshipped from about 800 BC to Christianization, around 400 AD. Her cult centers were Lycia and Phaistos, Crete; and she was mentioned in the Iliad (Homer) and Theogony (Hesiod). The word “Leto” means Lady; this deity was probably derived from an earlier Asiatic model. She is the daughter of the Titans Koeos and Phoebe. Leto is mainly remembered in the Greek religion because she was the mother of Artemis and Apollo from being impregnated by Zeus. Frequently she tries to protect Artemis from the wrath of her stepmother Hera. Leto also is the guardian goddess of graves. A very early bronze image of her, along with those of Artemis and Apollo, was discovered at Dreros on Crete. Leto was the principal goddess in Lycia; at Phaistos she was the center of an initiation myth. A.G.H.


Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 145