Apollo

Apollo

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis.

Apollo was the god of music and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery, poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds and flocks.

He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus".



Apollo, part of our
12 Olympian Gods collection


Wall fresco showing young Apollo

Hera, wife of Zeus, in her jealousy pursued Leto from land to land and from isle to isle, and endeavoured to prevent her finding a resting-place where to give birth. At last, however, she arrived in Delos, where she was kindly received, and after nine days′ labour she gave birth to Apollo under a palm or an olive tree at the foot of mount Cynthus.

Immediately after his birth, Apollo was fed with ambrosia and nectar by Themis, and no sooner had he tasted the divine food, than he sprang up and demanded a lyre and a bow.


Apollo & Delphi

Apollo's first achievement was to rid Delphi of the serpent Python. This monstrous beast protected the sanctuary of Pytho from its lair beside the Castalian Spring. Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows and took possession of the oracle, becoming known as "Pythian Apollo".

He dedicated a bronze tripod to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, the "Pythia". It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapors from the fissure in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant.

Delphi became the most important oracle center of Greece and the ancient world in general.



Red figured white ground Kylix
Apollo holding a lyre and making
a libation in Delphi.
480 BC Archaeological Museum of Delphi

Apollo & Daphne, alabaster statue

Apollo & Daphne

Daphne was the beautiful daughter of the river god Ladon, and she was constantly pursued by Apollo. To escape from Apollo's insistent behavior, she fled to the mountains, but the persistent Apollo followed her. Annoyed by this, she asked the river god Peneus for help, which he did. As soon as Apollo approached Daphne, he tried to embrace her, but when he stretched out his arms she transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo, distraught by what had happened, made the laurel his sacred tree.

Apollo was worshipped throughout the Greek world, at Delphi every four years they held the Pythian Games in his honor.

Ηis worship, his festivals and oracles, had more influence upon the Greeks than any other god. It may safely be asserted, that the Greeks would never have become what they were, without the worship of Apollo : in him the brightest side of the Grecian mind is reflected.



Apollo of Olympia bust


Source: Encyclopedia Mythica, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.