Niobe for Kids - Ancient Greek Myth - Ancient Greece for Kids!
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Kidipede is a history and science encyclopedia for kids, with more than 2000 pages of expert answers to your questions.


Niobe

Niobe (Nye-OH-bee) was a woman in Greece - in Thebes - a long long time ago (in the story). She was the daughter of Tantalus, and so she lived under a curse. Niobe had seven children, boys and girls, who were called the Niobids, meaning children of Niobe (I don't know what happened to their dad; he is not in the story). Niobe was very proud of her children, and she was proud that she had so many children. Too proud: she became hubristic (arrogant). She bragged that she had seven children, while the goddess Leto (LEE-toe) only had two (Apollo and Artemis). So Niobe thought she was better than Leto.

Niobe
Apollo and Artemis shoot Niobe's children
Athenian red-figure vase, about 450 BC

But it is very dangerous to brag that you are better than the gods. Leto heard about Niobe and sent her two children, Apollo and Artemis, to show Niobe who was really better. Apollo and Artemis, who are both good marksmen, shot every one of the Niobids with their arrows and killed them. As Niobe stood there crying over her dead children, Leto came and said, "Now who has more children?"

No matter how skilled people are, they are never any match for the gods. People need to remember their place, and not try to be stronger or wiser or smarter than the gods, or bad things will happen to them.

To find out more about Niobe, check out this book from Amazon.com or from your library:

D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire (Look under Artemis).

(Sorry, the only scholarly books I know of about Niobe are in German).

Another myth about hubris: the story of Arachne.
Hubris also plays a big part in the Iliad.

Hubris
Artemis
Greek religion
Ancient Greece
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Copyright 2012-2014 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated 2014. Powered by Dewahost.

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