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Apollo or Apollon
Apollo Musagetes Pio-Clementino Inv310.jpg
Apollo Musegetes
God of light, music, art, poetry, healing, medicine, oracles, prophecy and archery
Abode Mount Olympus
Symbol(s) Lyre
Laurel wreath
Bow and arrow
Consort Several
Parents Zeus and Leto
Siblings Ares, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Enyo, Eris, Hebe, Helen of Troy, Hephaestus, Herakles, Hermes, Minos, Persephone, Perseus, the Muses
Children Several

Apollon (AtticIonic, and Homeric Greek: Ἀπόλλων, ApollōnDoric: Ἀπέλλων, Apellōn; Aeolic: Ἄπλουν, Apeilōn; LatinApollō) is the god of light, music, oracles and prophecy, art and poetry, healing, medicine, archery and plague in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians. The son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother of Artemis, Apollon was one of the most widely venerated deities of the Ancient Greek pantheon. Some modern people like to use the Greek version of his name, "Apollon" and some prefer "Apollo" the Latin version.

As Phoebus (Greek: Φοῖβος), Apollon was viewed as an enlightening being, believed to have gifted man with such skills as music and archery. The patron god of Delphi (the Pythian or Delphic Apollo), Apollon was an oracular god, said to be the prophetic deity which spoke through the Oracle (otherwise known as the Pythia). God of healing and medicine, Apollon served as the protector of young male children, additionally functioning as a bringer of plague and disease.

His primary place of worship was Delphi, which also functioned as one of the god's sanctuaries, and the Pythian Games were held at the site every four years in his honor. The god functioned as the leader of the Muses (Apollon Mousegetes), leading the gods in song as he strummed along his lyre (kithara). Alongside Hermes, Apollon served as the patron and protector of herds and flocks, even possessing a herd of sacred cattle himself. In Hellenistic times, particularly during the 3rd Century BCE, he became increasingly identified with Helios, the Titan god of the sun. The god's symbols included the lyre, bow and arrows, quiver and laurel wreath and the python and raven were his sacred animals.

Myths about Apollo[change | change source]

Apollo was one of the Twelve Olympians, the 12 most important gods in Greek mythology. Because of this, there are many myths about him:

The Birth of Apollo[change | change source]

Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and the goddess Leto. When Leto became pregnant, Zeus already had a wife, the queen of the gods Hera. Hera was angry that Zeus was having children with Leto, and cursed Leto so that she could not ever give birth anywhere on the earth where the sun shone.

Hera then sent a dragon called Python to eat her. Python chased Leto to the edge of the sea, where Leto swam to the island of Delos. Python could not swim, however, and had to leave her alone. The island of Delos was at that time a big rock floating on the sea, not really an island yet, so it wasn't "on the earth". Under the shade of a palm tree, Leto gave birth to her daughter Artemis, and then her son Apollo.

Apollo and Delphi[change | change source]

When Apollo grew up, he went to his father Zeus and asked for a golden bow with arrows as bright and sharp as the sunshine. Then he went looking for a place to build his temple. He came to a spring that belonged to a nymph called Telephusa and tried to build his temple there, but Telephusa suggested he build his temple at Delphi instead, since there was already a shrine there to Themis, the goddess of telling the future. Apollo went to Delphi, but found out it was taken over by Python, the dragon who had tried to eat his mother. He killed the Python with a hundred arrows and claimed Delphi as his own temple. He got two sailors to be his priests and then gave a girl the power of telling the future. The girl became his priestess, or oracle. The little god Eros, the son of the love-goddess Aphrodite, had watched Apollo kill Python and worshiped Apollo as his idol. Apollo, however, was annoyed by Eros and insulted him. Eros got angry and shot Apollo with his magic arrow, making him fall in love with a nymph named Daphne. Daphne didn't love Apollo and shunned him. Apollo chased her and she turned herself into a laurel tree to escape him. Apollo still loved her and made the laurel one of his symbols.

Apollo and Hermes[change | change source]

Apollo looked after the cattle of the sun-god Helios while Helios was driving the sun through the sky. While Apollo was chasing Daphne, the mischievous baby god Hermes stole the cattle and confused Apollo by making the cattle walk backwards as they left their pen. When Apollo went looking for them, it looked like they had walked into the ranch instead of out. Hermes also told a nearby man that he would make him rich if he told no one about what he saw Hermes do. The man, Battos, told Apollo anyway, and was later turned into a stone by Hermes as punishment. Apollo took Hermes in front of all the gods to be judged. Hermes acted innocent, though, and finally convinced Apollo to forgive him by giving him the lyre. Apollo loved this lyre so much that he not only let Hermes keep the cattle, but also gave him the caduceus, a magic wand that could heal wounds and cause sleep. Hermes tried the caduceus out on two dying snakes, who came back to life and curled around the wand for the rest of eternity. Apollo, meanwhile, used his lyre to become the god of music and became the leader of the Mousai, the nine goddesses of the arts.

References[change | change source]