Of Mount Librethius
Of Wet Ground
THE LEIBETHRIDES (Libethrides) were the Naiad-nymphs of certain springs on Mount Helikon and Mount Libethrios in Boiotia (central Greece) and Leibethron in Pieria (northern Greece). Their caverns and fountains were located within sanctuaries of the Mousai (Muses). The name Leibethrides was derived from the Greek word leibêthron meaning "wet ground".
Perhaps daughters of the River TERMESSOS
LIBETHRIAS, PETRA (Pausanias 9.34.4)
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.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 25 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Mount] Helikon (Helicon) [in Boiotia] . . . Here are the temple of the Mousai (Muses) and Hippokrene (Horse-Fountain) and the cave of the Nymphai (Nymphs) called the Leibethrides; and from this fact one might infer that those who consecrated Helikon to the Mousai (Muses) were Thrakians (Thracians), the same who dedicated Pieris and Leibethron and Pimpleia [in Pieria] to the same goddesses."
Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 17 :
"The Thrakians who settled in Boiotia (Boeotia) . . . consecrated the cave of the Nymphai (NYmphs) called Leibethrides."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 34. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Some forty stades from Koroneia (Coronea) is Mount Libethrios (Libethrius) [in Boiotia] on which are images of the Mousai (Muses) and Nymphai (Nymphs) 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 music contest] : ‘. . . In voice and skill we shall not yield to you; in number we are equal. If you lose, you leave Medusaeus' [Pegasus'] spring [Hippocrene on Mount Helicon] 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 (Nymphs) 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."
NAMES OF THE LIBETHRIDES
Wet Ground (leibêthron)
Of the Rocks (petra)
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
Other references not currently quoted here: Orphic Frag 342.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.