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Artemis Eleutheria, from a coin minted in Myra of Lycia in honour of Empress Tranquillina.

The Greek word "ἐλευθερία" (capitalized Ἐλευθερία; Attic Greek pronunciation: [eleu̯tʰeˈria]), transliterated as eleutheria, is an Ancient Greek term for, and personification of, liberty. Eleutheria personified had a brief career on coins of Alexandria.

In Ancient Greece, Eleutheria was also an epithet for the goddess Artemis, and as such she was worshipped in Myra of Lycia. The Roman equivalent of the goddess Eleutheria is Libertas, a goddess in her own right, and a personification of liberty.


For R. F. Willets, Cretan dialect 'Eleuthia' would connect Eileithyia (or perhaps the goddess "Eleutheria") to Eleusis.[1] The name is probably related with a city in Crete named Eleutherna. Walter Burkert believes that Eileithyia is the Greek goddess of birth and that her name is pure-Greek.[2] However the relation with the Greek prefix ἐλεύθ is uncertain, because the prefix appears in some Pre-Greek toponyms like Ἐλευθέρνα (Eleutherna).

Hyginus describes Eleutheria as a daughter of Zeus and Hera.[3]

In Roman mythology, Demeter (Ceres) has a daughter named Libera ("Liberty/Freedom").

Modern interpretations[edit]

I. F. Stone, who taught himself Greek in his old age, wrote a book, The Trial of Socrates, pointing out that Socrates and Plato do not value eleutheria, freedom; instead were Sparta-lovers, wanting a monarch, an oligarchy, instead of a democracy, a republic.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault, in his lecture series, did not make the same argument. For him, Socrates' died for his right to 'parrhesia, freedom of speech, the obligation to speak the truth for the common good at personal risk. He was thus killed, ironically, in the democratic state of Athens, for insisting on freedom of speech.


  1. ^ Willetts, R. F. (November 1958). "Cretan Eileithyia". The Classical Quarterly: 222.
  2. ^ Walter Burkert (1985) Greek Religion. Harvard University Press p.26 [1]
  3. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae preface