A mortal woman in Greek mythology
, Niobe, daughter of Tantalus
and either Euryanassa, Eurythemista, Clytia
, wife of Amphion
, boasted of her superiority to Leto
because she had fourteen children (Niobids), seven male and seven female, while Leto had only two. Apollo
killed her sons as they practiced athletics, with the last begging for his life, and Artemis
her daughters. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions a number of the Niobids were spared (Chloris
, usually). Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, either killed himself or was killed by Apollo after swearing revenge. A devastated Niobe fled to Mt. Siplyon in Asia Minor
and turned into stone as she wept, or committed suicide. Her tears formed the river Achelous
. Zeus had turned all the people of Thebes
to stone and so no one buried the Niobids until the ninth day after their death, when the gods themselves entombed them.
Mt. Sipylus has a carving of a female face on it that the locals claimed was Niobe, though it was probably originally intended to be Cybele. The rock appears to weep because it is porous limestone and rainwater seeps through the pores.
Aedon was the queen of Thebes who attempted to kill the son of her rival, Niobe, also her sister-in-law (Aedon was married to Zethus), and accidentally killed her own daughter, Itylus instead and thus, the gods again changed her into a nightingale.