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Γαλινθιας

The daughter of Galinthias, whose name recalls the Greek word meaning 'weasel', was the Theban Proetus. When Alcmene, a friend of Galinthias, was about to give birth to the baby Heracles, Hera ordered the Moirae and Eilithyia, the divinities of childbirth, to stop her from delivering the child. For nine days and nine nights they sat on the threshold of the house with they arms and legs crossed, holding back the birth with their spells. Galinthias was moved with pity for her friend, fearing that her pains might drive her mad, and tricked the goddesses by telling them that despite their efforts, Alcmene had given birth to a boy, at Zeus' command. Frightened and indignant, believing that their privileges had been abused, the goddesses rose to their feet and abandoned the position which had been holding Alcmene in bondage. She immediately gave birth to her child.

The divinities took their revenge by turning Galinthias into a weasel, and as it was her mouth that had uttered the lie that deceived them, they condemned her to give birth through her mouth. Hecate, however, took pity on the poor beast, and took her as her own servant and her sacred animal. When Heracles reached manhood, he remembered the woman who had enabled him to be born, and raised a shrine to her near his home. The Thebans, faithful to Galinthias' memory, used to bring her offerings on the feast of Heracles (see also HISTORIS).

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

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