Web Theoi
LEIBETHRIDES
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Νυμφαι Λιβηθριδες
Λειβηθριδες
Nymphai Libêthrides
Leibêthrides
Nymphae
Libethrides
Of Mount Librethius,
Of the Wet Ground

THE LEIBETHRIDES (or Libethrides) were Naiad Nymphs of the springs of Mount Helikon and Mount Libethrios in Boiotia (central Greece) and Leibethron in Pieria (northern Greece).

They were judges of the musical contest between the goddess Mousai (Muses) and the maiden Pierides. The Leibethrides were closely identified with the Mousai.

PARENTS
Perhaps daughters of the River TERMESSOS
NAMES
LIBETHRIAS, PETRA (Pausanias 9.34.4)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

LIBE′THRIDES (Leibêthrides), or nymphae Libethrides, a name of the Muses, which they derived from the well Libethra in Thrace; or, according to others, from the Thracian mountain Libethrus, where they had a grotto sacred to them. (Virg. Eclog. vii. 21; Mela, ii. 3; Strab. ix. p. 410, x. p. 471.) Servius (ad Eclog. l. c.) derives the name from a poet Libethrus, and Pausanias (ix. 34. § 4) connects it with mount Libethrius in Boeotia. (Comp. Lycoph. 275; Varro, de Ling. Lat. vii. 2.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 25 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Mount] Helikon [in Boiotia] . . . Here are the temple of the Mousai (Muses) and Hippokrene (Horse-Fountain) and the cave of the Nymphai called the Leibethrides; and from this fact one might infer that those who consecrated Helikon to the Mousai (Muses) were Thracians, the same who dedicated Pieris and Leibethron and Pimpleia [in Pieria] to the same goddesses."

Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 17 :
"The Thracians who settled in Boiotia . . . consecrated the cave of the Nymphai called Leibethrides."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 34. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Some forty stades from Koroneia is Mount Libethrios [in Boiotia] on which are images of the Mousai (Muses) and Nymphai surnamed Libethrion. There are springs too, one named Libethrias and the other Petra, which are shaped like woman’s breasts, and from them rises water like milk."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 316 & 662 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[The Pierides] challenged us [the Mousai, Muses] [to a musical contest]: ‘. . . In voice and skill we shall not yield to you; in number we are equal. If you lose, you leave Medusaeus' [Pegasos'] spring [Hippokrene on Mt Helikon] and Aganippe Hyantea [spring of Thebes], or we the plain of Emathia up to Paeonia's snowy mountainsides; and let the judgement of the Nymphae decide.’
Of course it was a shame to strive with them but greater shame to yield. The choice of Nymphae was made; they took the oath by their own streams, and sat on benches shaped form living stone . . . [and at the end of the contest] the Nymphae with one accord declared the goddesses of Helicon the winners."

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Λιβηθριασ Libêthrias Libethrias Wet Ground
(leibêthron)
Πετρα Petra Petra Of the Rocks (petra)

Sources:

  • Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st BC - C1st AD
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD

Other references not currently quoted here: Orphic Frag 342