It happened, however, at this period, that
the island Delos, which had been broken from Sicily, lay
under water, and not having taken the oath, was commanded by
Neptune to rise in the Aegean sea, and afford her an asylum. Latona, being changed by Jupiter into a quail, fled thither,
and from this circumstance occasioned it to be called
Ortygia, from the name in Greek of that bird. She here gave
birth to Apollo and Diana. Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, and
wife of Amphion, king of Thebes, experienced the resentment
of Latona, whose children Apollo and Diana, at her
instigation, destroyed. Her beauty became fatal to Tityus,
the giant, who was put to death also by the same divinities.
After having been long persecuted by Juno, she became a
powerful deity, beheld her children exalted to divine
honors, and received adoration where they were adored.
In explanation of the fable, it may be observed, that as
Jupiter is taken for the maker of all things, so Latona is
physically understood to be the matter out of which all
things were made, which, according to Plato, is called Latona, from to lie hid or concealed, because all
things originally lay hid in darkness till the production of
light, or birth of Apollo.