Niobe (page 539)

Ch. 15: The Line of Tantalos

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Telesilla 721 PMG – Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 373, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Paus 2.21.9-10 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

The statue of the maiden beside the goddess they call Chloris (Pale), saying that she was a daughter of Niobe, and that she was called Meliboea at the first. When the children of Amphion were destroyed by Apollo and Arternis, she alone of her sisters, along with Amyclas, escaped; their escape was due to their prayers to Leto. Meliboea was struck so pale by her fright, not only at the time but also for the rest of her life, that even her name was accordingly changed from Meliboea to Chloris.  Greek Text

ApB 3.5.6 – Apollodoros, Library (Bibliotheke)

Of the males Amphion alone was saved, and of the females Chloris the elder, whom Neleus married.  Greek Text

Od 11.281-84 – Homer, Odyssey

And I saw beauteous Chloris, whom once Neleus wedded because of her beauty, when he had brought countless gifts of wooing. Youngest daughter was she of Amphion, son of Iasus, who once ruled mightily in Orchomenus of the Minyae.  Greek Text

Hes fr 33a MW – Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 22-23, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

Timagoras 381F1 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 3, p. 250, ed. F. Jacoby. 2 nd ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Met 6.147-312 – Ovid, Metamorphoses


All Lydia was astonished at her fate
the Rumor spread to Phrygia, soon the world
was filled with fear and wonder. Niobe
had known her long before,—when in Maeonia
near to Mount Sipylus; but the sad fate
which overtook Arachne, lost on her,
she never ceased her boasting and refused
to honor the great Gods.

So many things
increased her pride: She loved to boast
her husband’s skill, their noble family,
the rising grandeur of their kingdom. Such
felicities were great delights to her;
but nothing could exceed the haughty way
she boasted of her children: and, in truth,
Niobe might have been adjudged on earth,
the happiest mother of mankind, if pride
had not destroyed her wit.

It happened then,
that Manto, daughter of Tiresias,
who told the future; when she felt the fire
of prophecy descend upon her, rushed
upon the street and shouted in the midst:

“You women of Ismenus! go and give
to high Latona and her children, twain,
incense and prayer. Go, and with laurel wreathe
your hair in garlands, as your sacred prayers
arise to heaven. Give heed, for by my speech
Latona has ordained these holy rites.”  Continue Reading  Latin Text

ApB 3.5.6 – Apollodoros, Library (Bibliotheke)

Being blessed with children, Niobe said that she was more blessed with children than Latona. Stung by the taunt, Latona incited Artemis and Apollo against them, and Artemis shot down the females in the house, and Apollo killed all the males together as they were hunting on Cithaeron.  Greek Text

fab 9 – Hyginus, Fabulae

NIOBE: Amphion and Zetus, sons of Jove and Antiopa, daughter of Nycteus, by the command of Apollo surrounded Thebes with a wall up to [corrupt], and driving Laius, son of King Labdacus, into exile, themselves held the royal power there. Amphion took in marriage Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and Dione, by whom he had seven sons and as many daughters. These children Niobe placed above those of Latona, and spoke rather contemptuously against Apollo and Diana because Diana was girt in man’s attire, and Apollo wore long hair and a woman’s gown. She said, too, that she surpassed Latona in number of children. Because of this Apollo slew her sons with arrows as they were hunting in the woods, and Diana shot and killed the daughters in the palace, all except Chloris. But the mother, bereft if her children, is said to have been turned into stone by weeping on Mount Sipylus, and her tears today are said to trickle down. Amphion, however, tried to storm the temple of Apollo, and was slain by the arrows of Apollo.  Latin Text

Paus 9.5.8-9 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

It is also said that Amphion is punished in Hades for being among those who made a mock of Leto and her children. [9] The punishment of Amphion is dealt with in the epic poem Minyad, which treats both of Amphion and also of Thamyris of Thrace.  Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2024.

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