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Apollo (Ancient Greek: Ἀπόλλων) is the son of Zeus and Leto. His twin sister is Artemis. He was the God of the arts, music, healing, purification, prophecy, oracles, plague, poetry, civilization, the sun, truth, intelligence, logic, reason, and archery, he also showed men the art of medicine.
He is famous for his oracle at Delphi. People traveled to it from all over the Greek world to divine the future.
He is the only Olympian that does not have a Roman name.
- 1 Mythology
- 2 Apollo in the Iliad
- 3 Apollo's Lovers
- 4 Sphere of Control
- 5 Attributes and Personality
- 6 Parents
- 7 Spouse & Lovers
- 8 Siblings
- 9 Children
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Gallery of Symbols & Attributes
- 12 Gallery
- 13 Gigantomachy
- 14 Other Names
- 15 Navigation
Birth of Apollo
When Apollo's mother Leto was in labor with him and his twin sister Artemis, she was looking for a place to give birth, however, Hera had made all land shun her so she was unable to find a place to give birth. Hera was very sour towards her because Zeus was her children's father and Hera disliked that Zeus kept having children with other women and goddesses. But Poseidon took pity on Leto and showed her an island that was not attached to the sea floor so it technically was not considered land. So Leto traveled there and gave birth. The little floating island is called Delos.
God of Prophecy
Apollo was the god of prophecy he decided that he needed a place where mortals could come and ask questions to him and he would use his gift of prophecy to answer them. He found a perfect place called Pytho. The only bad part was that a terrible, giant snake called Python was living there and was terrorizing all the other living creatures there. So he killed the snake and renamed the place Delphi. He created his temple and the oracles spoke to the mortals prophecies in which Apollo would give to them to give to mortals.
More about Apollo
Apollo and Eros
Eros was a very mischievous person and liked to cause all sorts of trouble. One day he saw Apollo practicing archery and decided to challenge him to an archery contest. Apollo laughed and said that a child like Eros could never beat him. This upset Eros, who shot Apollo with one of his golden arrow to make him fall in love with a beautiful nymph named Daphne. But Eros shot Daphne with a lead arrow making her feel hatred for Apollo. Apollo ran after her and she ran away. Daphne was frightened so she called to her father, Peneus, and he transformed her into a Laurel tree. As she turned into a tree, Apollo embraces her. Apollo, saddened by her running away from him, took some of the leaves and made a laurel wreath so that she would always be close to him.There is a version of this myth saying that Apollo caused this trouble with Eros. It says that he saw Eros playing with his bow, and he insulted him, telling him to "play with his own little bows and arrows" because he had slain a mighty serpent with his bow. Eros was offended, and decided to play a trick on him, and that is why he caused the trouble with Daphne.
There was once a satyr named Marsyas. He was a wonderful player of the double flute, an instrument he found abandoned by Athena, and all the forests came to listen to him play the flute. One day Marsyas said that he was a better musician that the god of music himself, Apollo. This angered Apollo and so Apollo challenged Marsyas to a music competition. The winner could do anything they want to the loser. Marsyas played his pipes and he was wonderful but when Apollo played the lyre...he was better. So Apollo won and because Marsyas had dared to even say that he was even close to being as good at him, he skinned him alive and hung him from a tree. In a second version, the first round was a draw, and Apollo said that the winner would be the man who could play his instrument upside down.
In another version, he says that the winner would be the one who could sing and play all at once. Either way, Marsyas lost. In a third version, the first round was judged by Minos, a friend of Marsyas, who said that Marsyas was better than Apollo. In a fit of rage, the god gave him donkey ears for daring to say that his music wasn't as good as a mere satyr's. Either way, Marsyas was flayed alive and his skin was hung on an olive tree. There was a version of this myth where it was Pan who challenged Apollo, not Marsyas. He played the panpipes, which couldn't be played upside down or while singing either.
Niobe was a mortal woman, the queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, who once boasted that she was better than Leto as she had fourteen children while Leto only had two. Unfortunately, Niobe's claims had enraged the twin gods themselves, Apollo and Artemis, who were extremely protective of their mother and her honor and the two descended to Earth to punish Niobe.
The very next day, Niobe's son's were killed by Apollo and her daughters were killed by Artemis, though in some myths, the twins spared one of the innocent children, usually being Meliboea, the youngest of Niobe's children. It is said that she was so horrified by the deaths of her siblings that her skin turned a sickly shade of white for the rest of her life.
Devastated by the death of her children, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus where she wept for days without stopping. Zeus eventually took pity on the devastated mother and turned her to stone in order to spare her of any more agony. However, Niobe's stone body continued to weep and it is said that her endless tears formed the river, Achelous.
The bodies of Niobe's children were left un-buried for nine days as Zeus had also turn everyone in the city to stone. On the tenth day, the Gods finally took pity and entombed the children's bodies themselves.
In some myths one of the fourteen children prayed to Apollo to not kill him but it was too late as Apollo had already shot the arrow.
The Erymanthian Boar
Once, a son of Apollo, Erymanthos, saw the goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite making love with Adonis, and Aphrodite was so outraged she blinded the poor demigod. When Apollo heard this, he created the Erymanthian Boar and ordered it to kill Adonis, one of Aphrodite's favorite mortals. For Heracles fourth labor, he was to capture the mighty beast and bring it to Eurystheus alive. He did so by luring the Boar into thick snow, then snaring it in a net while it struggled to free him. Erymanthos died later on in his life after he got married.
After Leto gave birth to Apollo, she fed him ambrosia and nectar which enabled him to travel around the earth at a young age. When he was searching all over the world for a place to found his shrine, he came across a place called Haliartos in western Boiotia. When he wanted to use this spring, the nymph of the spring Telphousa knew and did not want to share her spot, so she told Apollo to move to Krisa, a place on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassos and she said that it was far more peaceful than her spring. So Apollo went there and chose the spot called Delphi but it was plagued by a gigantic snake called Python. After killing Python, Apollo was furious as Telphousa led him to the lair of a monster so he went back to the spring and covered it with rocks and subordinated her cult to his own by building an altar to Telphousian Apollo in a nearby grove. A long time later, the famous seer called Tiresias came to Telphousa's spring and drank from it but died.
Apollo in the Iliad
This is part of the myth of Troy, mentioned in the first pages of the Iliad, Homer's book about the famous ten-year war. The Iliad starts at the beginning of the tenth year of fighting.
Khryses was a priest of Apollo. He deeply respected Apollo. But one day the Greek hero and king of Mycenae or Argos, Agamemnon, insulted the old man and refused to return his daughter, Chryseis, who was more beautiful than Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra according to the King. So Chryses prayed to Apollo to get revenge on the man for the insult. Apollo is one of the first gods mentioned in the Iliad. [If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, And dread avenging Phoebus, son of Jove.] Is what he begs the god. Apollo, grateful for the man's service as a priest, went to the Greek camp for nine days and shot poisoned arrows at the men and all their animals, spreading a plague on the Greeks in the Trojan War.
When Achilles refuses to fight, his cousin -and suspected lover- Patrocles, will take up his armor and weapons to fight as Achilles. Apollo, disguised as a mortal, hits Patrocles in the back, just where the armor doesn't cover and shocks him still. According to myths, the god takes off Patrocles' armor, in the middle of the battlefield, as Patrocles stares at the god, recognizing him. Hector comes from behind and kills him.
There are two versions of the Paris myth. In one, Apollo is the one that guides the arrow to kill Achilles. In the second, Apollo disguises himself as Paris and kills Achilles.
Kassandra of Troy
Apollo once fell in love with a princess Kassandra. She was the daughter of Priam, the king of Troy, and Hecuba. Because he liked her, he gifted her with the gift of prophecy. Even though Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy she still disliked him. So he made it so that nobody would believe whatever she said about the future. She foretold the downfall of Troy, but nobody believed her. She foretold the dangers of the Trojan Horse, but nobody believed her. During the final fight of Troy, Kassandra got raped in the temple of Athena by Ajax the Lesser. The Greek tried then forgave Ajax, and didn't punish him for this. Athena, furious that this crime was unpunished, killed the judges, with the help of Poseidon and Zeus. Then finally Kassandra foretold that Klytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, was going to kill him, but he didn't believe her. As Agamemnon returned to his wife, she and her new husband, Aegisthus, murdered him and Kassandra.
Apollo and Zephyrus both loved a Spartan prince named Hyacinth. To win him over, both threw a discus, trying to see which one threw it further. Apollo won the match. However, Hyacinth died when a discus hit his head (several versions of the tale claim a jealous Zephyrus was responsible), and to honor his beloved prince, Apollo made his blood become the hyacinth flowers.
A similar tale happened with another male lover, Cyparissus, son of Telephus, who became a cypress tree. When he indirectly killed Apollo's gift to him, a stag, he was so grief-stricken that he asks Apollo to let his tears fall forever. The god then turns the boy into a cypress tree, whose sap forms droplets like tears on the trunk. The cypress tree is also a symbol of mourning.
Apollo was also said to have been the lover of the twin brother of Kassandra, Helenus.
Sphere of Control
Apollo is the god of the Sun, music, medicine, healing, truth, prophecy, plague, poetry, education, archery, and the protection of the young. He is sometimes shown with a golden bow and arrow, as he is the god of archery.
Attributes and Personality
Apollo was cery handsome and onsidered to be the most beautiful male god among the Olympians. Apollo had long golden locks of hair, sky blue eyesm supported a muscular build, and had a deep but seductive voice. Apollo was very wise and calm headed but like his father Zeus, was very quick to anger, especially when anyone disrespected him or his family. Apollo also valued family as when Poseidon challenged him during the Trojan War he refused to fight him because they were family -though he did, through his heroes, fight Athena in the Trojan War. Also, like his father, Apollo was known to fall in love with mortal women.
- Laurel Tree
- Laurel Wreath
- Palm Tree
Spouse & Lovers
- Daphne (female lover)
- Leucothea (female lover)
- Kyrene (female lover)
- Marpessa (female lover)
- Kastalia (female lover)
- Hekuba (female lover)
- Kassandra (female lover)
- Coronis (female lover)
- Thalia (female lover)
- Aithousa (female lover)
- Chione (female lover)
- Kalliope (female lover)
- Hyacinthus (male lover)
- Cyparissus (male lover)
- Admetus (male lover)
- Adonis (male lover)
- Artemis (twin sister) & other half-siblings
- Apollo is god of the Sun. His twin sister Artemis is goddess of the moon.
- He guided the arrow that struck Achilles in his one vulnerable spot, killing him.
- He is also known as Phoebus Apollo.
- He does not have a Roman name.
- He leads the Muses.
- Apollo's throne was made of highly polished gold. There was a sundisk above it with twenty-one rays made of arrows. There were magical sayings on the back and sides. He sat on a cushion of python skin.
- Apollo has more lovers of the same gender than any other god.
Gallery of Symbols & Attributes
- Phoebus Apollo ("Shining One")
- The Archer
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|Olympians :||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysus • Hades • Hephaistos • Hera • Hermes • Hestia • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Related Articles :||Mount Olympus • Protogenoi • Titans • Gigantes • Demigods|