Delphyne is a female dragon born to Gaia, the Greek goddess of Earth. The name Delphyne means “womb” and related forms of the name, Delphyna (female) and Delphynes (male), were also used for the dragon of Delphi. There are different accounts of Delphyne in Greek mythology.
Delphyne is sometimes called Python, a monster who lived in a cave on Mount Parnassus where the most important site in the ancient world was located, the oracular stone of Delphi. Delphyne was given the task of guarding the oracle of Delphi by her mother. The young god Apollo battled with the Delphyne several times before he eventually slew the monster with his bow and arrow, allowing Apollo to take control of the oracle of Delphi.
In later accounts, the monster slain by Apollo is a male serpent called Python, but the earliest known story, the Homeric Hymn to Apollo from 6th century BC, recounts the killing by Apollo of a she-serpent. Both Apollonius of Rhodes (early 3rd century BC) and Plutarch (c. 46 AD – 120 AD) also describe the monster who Apollo fought at Parnassus as female.
Some ancient accounts also equate Delphyne with Echidna, a half-woman and half-snake, known as the mother of all monsters and the mate of Typhon. In an account by Apollodorus in the first or second century AD, Typhon is able to cut away Zeus’ sinews from his body during a battle. Typhon then hides the sinews in a cave in Cilicia and charges the dragon Delphyne with guarding them. Most accounts, however, agree that Delphyne and Echidna were two different offspring of Gaia.
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