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Apollo

Greekest of the Greeks

Apollo and Daphne


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One of the most popular Greek gods. He was the epitome of masculine youth with vibrant hair haloed in a pale blue tinge. His appearance captured the transition between adolescence and manhood in Greek male society. His Myths are riddles with tales of his beauty captivating the hearts of many young women and nymphs. Many succeeded in wooing him, if only briefly, though others failed miserably. He was deeply beloved by the Greeks he remained a distant and unapproachable figure throughout his myths in many ways.

Apollo is distinctly Greek in nearly every way, but, he may have ties to both the Hittites and the Minoans as well. His origin is of a troubled sort, as is many of the Greek gods and goddesses. Apollo (Ap-ahl-low) is the son of Zeus (Zoos; Zyoos) and Leto (Lee-toh; Lay-toh), a Titaness or Latona (La-toh-nah), who suffered many trials while pregnant. Hera (Hihr-ah; Heh-rah; Huhr-ah), wife and sister of Zeus, was infuriated (as usual) by their infidelity and swore vengeance. Leto wandered the world fleeing the wrath of Hera until finally giving birth to the twins Apollo and his sister Artemis (Ar-te-mihs) on Delos (Dee-lohs; Dehl-os). While Artemis and Apollo are twins it is believed she is one day older than he is. Leto, Apollo and Artemis are often portrayed as a divine trinity. Some references list Leto as a daughter of the Titans Coeus (See-uhs) and Phoebe (Fee-bee), both lunar. Other sources say Leto was mortal and later deified. It is of interest that both twins absorbed a vast majority of names associated with both Titans and divinities associated with the sun and moon. Apollo being associated with the sun and Artemis with the moon.

He thereby became a multifaceted god and likely absorbed the traits and qualities of lesser solar deities and spirits rapidly. He was initially a god of hunting and healing both cruel and kind. His harshness in cruelty was often punished by temporary banishment for his actions. These actions were often of both bravery and cold, heartless killing. He once was said to have killed the children of Niobe ( Ni-oh-bee) who had boasted of them at the expense of Leto. He was also the slayer of Python (Pie-thahn), the serpent that sprang from the stagnant waters of Zeus' deluge sent in Deucalion's (Doo-kahl-ih-ahn; the Greek Noah) time. Apollo slain the serpent and left it there, near Mount Parnassus, to rot and decay. Fame of the kill eventually erected a city at the site, Pythos, which later became Delphi.

 

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Delphi became the center of his cults and temples, which were also vastly spread throughout ancient Greece. This city later gained famed for Apollo's oracles and one in particular, Pythia. The kill earned Apollo the name, Pytheus or Pythius (Pihth-ee-uhs), meaning slayer of Python. The quality of his oracles eventually earned him the title of being the god of prophecy. He was also called Lycius (Lie-key-uhs; Lie-kuhs) after slaying the Lycean wolf; Asersecomes (A-suhr-seh-coh-meez), the unshorn (he had loose, curly hair); Acesius (Ah-sehs-ih-us), Paean or Paeon (Pee-ahn), the healer; Cynthius (Sin-thee-uhs), from Mount Cynthus of Delos; Delius (Dee-lih-uhs), from Delos; Moeragetes (Mee-rahg-ih-teez), as leader and guide of the fates; Colossus (Coh-lahs-uhs), from the famed bronze statue of him at Rhodes; Musagetes (Myoo-zah-gih-teez), patron and conductor of the Muses; Sol, the Roman name for Apollo. Helios (Hee-lih-ohs), a Titan sun god whom he replaced, taking his name as well; Hyperion (High-pihr-ee-ahn), a Titan often considered to be the sun, rather than the god of the sun whose name he also absorbed; Apellon (Ap-ehl-lahn), a pre-Homeric name and possibly a source for the demon, Apollyon; Atepomarus (At-ehp-oh-mahr-ihs), the name he was called by the Celts (though the Celts had various local synonyms for him as he was widely revered). These are but a few examples of the numerous titles and names which he has held.

The Hyakinthia (High-yah-kihn-thee-uh) of Amyklai (Am-ih-klih; Sparta), was dedicated to Apollo. The Paean dance of healing was especially common at this festival. It was named honoring, Hyacinthus (High-yah-sihn-thuhs), a beautiful young man which Apollo and Zephyrus (Zehf-er-uhs; god of the West wind) both loved dearly. The two gods quickly grew jealous of the other and the affections that each spent on the boy and those which he returned to them. However, the endearment between the Hyacinthus and Apollo quickly flourished and Zephyrus' jealousy turned to rage with each passing moment until it could no longer be contained. At last, while Apollo and Hyacinthus were throwing the discus Zephyrus sought revenge. When the mighty Apollo threw the discus, Zephyrus called the West wind to blow it down. However, the discus struck Hyacinthus with the might of Apollo's strength and the mortal boy was slain. It is said that Apollo's tears mixed with the blood of Hyacinthus and grew into the Hyacinth flower. Apollo took the body of Hyacinthus and placed it in the heavens as a constellation.

He was equated with many gods of the ancient world for a wide variety of reasons. The following table gives a reasonable summary of those which you may find him associated with in one way or another and sometimes even possiblly an aspect of him as well:

   

 Persian: 
 Chaldean: 
 Syrian: 
 Canaanite: 
 Aegyptian: 
 Ugarian:
 Mithras (Myth-rahs) 
 Baal (Bahl; Bayl) 
 Adonis (Ah-dahn-ihs) 
 Moloch (Moh-lahk) 
 Osiris (Oh-sigh-rihs; Oh-sear-ihs) 
 Resep (Rehs-ehp) of the arrows 
 

Apollo is strongly associated with the number seven. It is believed that this is due to Mesopotamian influences. Through all his associations his attributes become a ponderous list. He was not only a god of the sun, but, of light as well. He was the god of archery; both he and his sister Artemis had bow and arrows. Some accounts claim both held bows and arrows of gold while others credit one with having a bow and arrow of gold and the other silver. Which held the gold and which the silver seems to also be a matter of some discrepancy as well. He was also a god of agriculture. Crops, farmers, shepherds, cattle, sheep, animal husbandry and, of course, the sun were all his domain also.

 

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One of the most well-known myths concerning him is that of his cattle and the infant Hermes (Huhr-meez) who stole them away shortly after his birth while Apollo was out driving his chariot. Hermes felt so badly about upsetting Apollo that he invented the lyre (Lie-er) and gave it to the god in hopes of making up. Apollo forgave him and the instrument garnered him still something more to reign over. He thus became the god of music, poetry, arts and song. He was the father of the most renowned musician of ancient times, Orpheus (Ore-fee-uhs; Ore-foos) whose mother was Calliope (Kah-lie-oh-pee), muse of Epic or Heroic poetry. He was the god of medicine, healing and physicians. He is the father of the most proficient physician (doctored the Argonauts) ever known, Asclepius or Aesculapius (Ass-klee-pee-uhs or Ess-que-lae-pee-uhs; Greek/Roman). His mother was the mortal woman Coronis. Asclepius fathered two sons with Epione (Ee-pie-oh-nee), Machaon (Mah-kay-ahn) and Podalirius (Pahd-ah-lihr-ee-us), both notorious physicians in their own right and a daughter, Hygeia (High-gee-uh), goddess of health. He was eventually killed by the gods for cheating Hades too often and for striving to make man immortal. Apollo so grieved and fumed over his sons murder that Asclepius was later deified.

Oddly enough, Apollo was also considered to be the god of ethics and morality; giver of laws; purifier of wrongdoers; god of truth and justice; founder of cities and punisher of the wicked and the overly proud. Reviewing his own history in his myths, these are extremely odd qualities for him to govern over. Despite obvious contradictions, one thing is consistent, he was a fierce, passionate god of both positive and negative qualities. The following list are items which are either sacred or otherwise associate with Apollo.

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The Following tables may prove beneficial but they are in no way considered to be compleat.
 
HERBS ANIMALS  FUMES MYTHICAL 
 Acacia  Children  Cinnamon  Centaur
 Bay  Crab  Lign-Aloes  Hippogriff
 Heliotrope  Dog  Olibanum  Phoenix
 Hybrids  Dolphin  Onycha  Sphinx 
 Laurel Tree  Horse  Wormwood
 Lotus  Lion

 Orchids  Magpie

 Rush  Raven

 Sunflower  Sparrowhawk

 Vine  Turtle

   
TOOLS STONES TAROT 
 Arrows   Alexandrite  Chariot
 Bow  Ambre  Emperors
 Furnace  Chrysoleth  Lovers
 Lamen  Iceland Spar  Princes
 Lyre  Jacinth   Sixes
 Rosy Cross  Topaz  Sun
 Tripod  Tourmaline   Temperance

 Yellow Diamond
 
Apollo plays a key role in various temple hymns of ancient Greece. He is especially visible in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; Hesiod's Hymn to Apollo and Theogeny. There are a variety of art references depicting the young, beautiful god. The Colossus is perhaps the most notorious artwork made in his name. It was a bronze statue of Apollo and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Colossus of Rhodes is believed to have stood as a gaurd tower straddling the entrance of the harbor and hollow. There is some speculation regarding this. For certain, we do know that a natural disaster (likely an earthquake) toppled the Colossus in 672 CE. The ruins were sold to a Jew by the Saracens and reportedly took nine hundred camels to carry the bronze away. It is believed the bronze was used to manufacture weapons. The bronze was estimated to value thirty-six thousand pounds in English money.

It is estimated that Apollo was worshipped from approximately 1300 BCE until Christianization, roughly 400 CE, and perhaps later.




 

 
 
 
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Copyright 1997-2006 by endora@iglou.com
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Created: 3:00 AM 1/17/1997
Updated: 3:44 AM 11/20/2006