Libya (mythology)

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For the present-day North African nation, see Libya.
Ancient map from Herodotus showing the area of Libya in north Africa, circa 450 BC

Libya (from Greek: Λιβύη) is the daughter of Epaphus, King of Egypt, in both Greek and Roman mythology. She personified the land of Ancient Libya in North Africa, from which the name of modern-day Libya originated.

Greek mythology[edit]

In Greek mythology, Libya, like Ethiopia or Scythia was one of the mythic outlands that encircled the familiar Greek world of the Hellenes and their "foreign" neighbors.

Personified as an individual, Libya was the daughter of Epaphus — King of Egypt and the son of Zeus and Io— and Memphis. Libya was ravished by the god Poseidon to whom she bore twin sons, Belus and Agenor. Some sources name a third son, named Lelex.

Roman mythology[edit]

In Roman mythology, Libya was the daughter of Epaphus, King of Egypt, and his wife Cassiopeia. She married Neptune, a foreigner of much power whose real name is unknown. Libya and Neptune had a son called Busiris, who became a brutal tyrant of Upper Egypt.[1]

The territory that she ruled, Ancient Libya, and the country of modern-day Libya are named after her.[2]

Argive genealogy in Greek mythology[edit]

Argive genealogy in Greek mythology
Inachus Melia
Zeus Io Phoroneus
Epaphus Memphis
Libya Poseidon
Belus Achiroë Agenor Telephassa
Danaus Pieria Aegyptus Cadmus Cilix Europa Phoenix
Mantineus Hypermnestra Lynceus Harmonia Zeus
Sparta Lacedaemon Ocalea Abas Agave Sarpedon Rhadamanthus
Eurydice Acrisius Ino Minos
Zeus Danaë Semele Zeus
Perseus Dionysus
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  1. ^ Virginia Brown's translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women, pp. 24-25; Harvard University Press 2001; ISBN 0-674-01130-9
  2. ^ Id., p. 25


  • Isidore, Etymologiae xiv.4.1, 5.1
  • Augustine, De civitate dei xviii.12
  • Lactantius Placidus, Commentarii in Sattii Thebaida iv.737