The New International Encyclopædia/Niobe

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NIOBE, nī'ṓ-bḗ (Lat., from Gk. Νιόβη). In Greek legend, the daughter of Tantalus, King of Lydia, and (according to the most popular version) the sister of Pelops. She was the wife of Amphion, King of Thebes, and bore him many children, the numbers varying usually between twelve and twenty. In her pride she boasted her superiority to Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The angry goddess moved her children to avenge the insult, and Apollo with his arrows slew the sons, while Artemis killed the daughters in the palace. Niobe in her grief prayed the gods, who in pity transformed her into a stone image on Mount Sipylus in Lydia. The story appears in the epic, and was retold by tragedians, poets, and chroniclers with many divergencies in detail. The fullest version which has survived is by Ovid (Metam., vi. 146 sqq.). Representations of the story on vases and reliefs are not numerous, but it is the subject of one of the most famous groups of ancient statues. Consult: Stark, Niobe und die Niobiden (Leipzig, 1803); Amelung, Führer durch die Antiken in Florenz (Munich, 1897).