In Greek mythology, the Niobids were the children of Amphion of Thebes and Niobe, slain by Apollo and Artemis because Niobe, born of the royal house of Phrygia, had boastfully compared the greater number of her own offspring with those of Leto, Apollo's and Artemis' mother: a classic example of hubris.
The number of Niobids mentioned most usually numbered twelve (Homer) or fourteen (Euripides and pseudo-Apollodorus), but other sources mention twenty, four (Herodotus), or eighteen (Sappho). Generally half these children were sons, the other half daughters. The names of some of the children are mentioned; these lists vary by author:
- Apollodorus: Agenor, Astycratia, Astyoche, Cleodoxa, Damasichthon, Eupinytus, Ismenus, Neaera, Ogygia, Pelopia, Phaedimus, Phthia, Phylomache, Sipylus, Tantalus
- Hyginus: Archenor, Astycratia, Astynome, Chias, Chloris, Cleodoxa, Damasichthon, Eudoxa, Eupinytus, Ismenus, Neaera, Ogygia, Phaedimus, Phthia, Sipylus, Tantalus, Thera
- Ovid: Alphenor, Damasichthon, Ilioneus, Ismenus, Phaedimus, Sipylus, Tantalus.
Mante, the seeress daughter of Tiresias, overheard Niobe's remark and bid the Theban women placate Leto, in vain. Apollo and Artemis slew them all with their arrows, Apollo shooting the sons, Artemis the daughters. Two of the Niobids who had supplicated Leto were spared, Meliboea (Chloris) and Amyclas. They were buried by the gods at Thebes. Ovid remarked that all men mourned Amphion, for the extinction of his line, but none mourned Niobe save her brother Pelops.
In another version of the myth, the Niobids are the children of Philottus and Niobe, daughter of Assaon. Assaon made advances to her which she refused. He then invited her children to a banquet and burnt them all to death. Philottus had perished whilst hunting. As a result of these calamities, she flung herself from a high rock. Assaon, reflecting over his crimes, also killed himself.
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