Word of the Day – Sunday, November 22nd



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

LEDA (LEE-duh)

In Greek mythology, a queen of Sparta and mother of Helen, Pollux, Castor, and Clytemnestra.

Common clues: Lady with a swan; “____ and The Swan” (Yeats poem); Helen’s mother; Mother of Castor and Pollux; Swan lady; Spartan queen

Crossword puzzle frequency: 5 times a year

Frequency in English language: 76231 / 86800

Leda and the Swan is a motif from Greek mythology, in which Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. As the story goes, Zeus took the form of a swan and raped or seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband, King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched. In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.

Study for the head of Leda - Leonardo, c. 1506

The motif was rarely seen in the large-scale sculpture of antiquity, although Timotheos is known to have represented Leda in sculpture; small-scale examples survive showing both reclining and standing poses, in cameos and engraved gems, rings, and terracotta oil lamps. Thanks to the literary renditions of Ovid and Fulgentius it was a well-known myth through the Middle Ages, but emerged more prominently as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, in the Italian Renaissance.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Leda and the Swan"