Who Was Niobe In Greek Mythology and Why Were Niobe’s Seven Sons and Seven Daughters Struck Down?

Niobe was Tantalus’s daughter, and she suffered a punishment even more terrible than her father’s.

Married to a son of Zeus, Niobe enjoyed wealth and power as queen of the city of Thebes.

More than her wealth, she cherished her seven daughters and seven sons, all of them handsome and blessed with intelligence.

But because of the number and beauty of her children, Niobe arrogantly began to consider herself greater than the gods.

Foolishly, she demanded that the people of Thebes worship her. She ridiculed the goddess Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, for having had only two children, while she had fourteen.

Apollo and Artemis heard Niobe’s boasts and descended to earth in a fury, with their bows drawn and arrows notched.

As Niobe watched in horror, her seven sons and seven daughters were struck down, one by one, in agony.

Niobe sank down in grief among their bodies and wept ceaselessly.

So she remained, eventually turning into a stone that trickles water forever.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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