Leda in Wikipedia

In Greek mythology, Leda (Λήδα) was daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius, and wife of the king Tyndareus (Τυνδάρεως), of Sparta. Her myth gave rise to the popular motif in Renaissance and later art of Leda and the Swan. She was the mother of Helen (Ἑλένη) of Troy, Clytemnestra (Κλυταιμνήστρα), and Castor and Pollux (Κάστωρ & Πολυδεύκης, spelled Kastor and Polydeuces). Leda was admired by Zeus, who seduced her in the guise of a swan. As a swan, Zeus fell into her arms for protection from a pursuing eagle. Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband Tyndareus, resulted in two eggs from which hatched Helen - later known as the beautiful "Helen of Troy" - Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux (also known as the Dioscuri (Διόσκουροι). Which children are the progeny of Tyndareus, the mortal king, and which are of Zeus, and are thus half-immortal, is not consistent among accounts, nor is which child hatched from which egg. The split is almost always half mortal, half divine, although the pairings do not always reflect the children's heritage pairings. Castor and Polydeuces are sometimes both mortal, sometimes both divine. One consistent point is that if only one of them is immortal, it is Polydeuces...

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Leda in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

(*Lh/da), a daughter of Thestius, whence she is called Thestias (Apollod. 3.10.5; Paus. 3.13.8; Eur. IA 49); but others call her a daughter of Thespius, Thyestes, or Glaucus, by Laophonte, Deidamia, Leucippe, Eurythemis, or Paneidyia. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 1.146, 201 ; Serv. ad Aen. 8.130; Hygin, Fab. 14; Apollod. 1.7.10.) She was the wife of Tyndareus, by whom she became the mother of Timandra, Clytaemnestra, and Philonoe. (Apollod. 3.10.6; Hom. Od. 24.199.) One night she was embraced both by her husband and by Zeus, and by the former she became the mother of Castor and Clytaemnestra, and by the latter of Polydeuces and Helena. (Hyg. Fab. 77.) According to Homer (Hom. Od. 11.298, &c.) both Castor and Polydeuces were sons of Tyndareus and Leda, while Helena is described as a daughter of Zeus. (Il. 3.426; comp. Ov. Fast. 1.706; Hor. Carm. 1.12, 25; Martial, 1.37.) Other traditions reverse the story, making Castor and Polydeuces the sons of Zeus, and Helena the daughter of Tyndareus. (Eur. Hel. 254, 1497, 1680; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.808 ; Hdt. 2.112.) According to the common legend Zeus visited Leda in the disguise of a swan, and she produced two eggs, from the one of which issued Helena, and from the other Castor and Polydeuces. (Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 453; Ov. Her. 17.55 ; Paus. 3.16.1; Horat. Ars Poet. 147; Athen. 2.57, &c., ix. p. 373; Lucian, Dial. Deor. 2.2, 24.2, xxvi.; comp. Virgil, Cir. 489; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 88.) The visit of Zeus to Leda in the form of a swan was frequently represented by ancient artists. It should be observed that Phoebe is also mentioned as a daughter of Tyndareus and Leda (Eur. IA 50), and that, according to Lactantius (1.21.), Leda was after her death raised to the rank of a divinity, under the name of Nemesis. (Comp. TYNDAREUS.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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