Apollo

Apollo Greek God: Greek Mythology, facts, god of the sun

Apollo Greek God Facts

apollo

Apollo Greek God.

Apollo is well known as the god of the sun, prophecy, the light, and music. He is one of the most important and complex gods.

Apollo can be seen in many oracles, music, poetry, archery, medicine, plague, sun, light, and knowledge. He is the son of Titan Leto, and Zeus, born on the Greek Island of Delos along with his twin sister Artemis who is the goddess of the hunt. During drinking parties which were mostly held on Olympus, Apollo together with the Muses, on his Cithara, attended them with young goddesses led the dance. Both Zeus and Leto seemed to be proud of Apollo who was radiant with beauty and grace.  Apollo is athletics, beardless, athletic and youthful and that is why he is referred to as Kouros. As patron of Delphi, he is oracular god and that is why he could predict prophecy through the Delphic Oracle Pythia. Healing and medicine are some attributes which are associated with Apollo and were sometimes carried out by his son Asclepius (the god of medicine). He is also known to be responsible for deadly plague and ill health.  Apollo was also associated with controlling colonists and the patron defender of flocks and herds. Apollo was the leader of Apollo Musegetes, (Muses) and director of their choir as a god of poetry and music. 

What is the detailed story of Apollo? I might repeat myself here but I want to give you a full account of Apollo. When we have to name a famous Greek or Roman gods the one that often comes to mind is famous Apollo. Apollo is a Roman god of the sun, reason, and logic, and was also a fine healer and musician. He was the son of Zeus (Jupiter), and his mother was Leto (Letona). He was the twin brother of Diana (Artemis). Apollo is the god of the sun. Apollo and his twin sister Artemis (Diana in Roman mythology), were both known as the god of light and also the representation of the sun. Apollo was a god of healing, poetry and music. The sun was often seen as a fiery chariot pulled by horses, this is where the picture of the tarot card known as “the chariot” comes from. There is much information on the scripture that I have read on Apollo’s childhood or upbringing, but in writings, we do know that he lived on Olympia’s and was highly regarded by his father Zeus (Jupiter in Roman mythology).  

Apollo killed what is known as a she-dragon which was sacred to Gaia. This resulted in Apollo being exiled from Olympia’s and he had to live on earth for nine years. He therefore became Shepherd, to Admetus, who consequently rewarded him with immortality. This is a reason why Apollo is known as the golden shepherd. In many different Greek narratives Apollo is also known as the god of music, he had great musical ability and once the God Marsyas challenged him to a competition of the flute. There were judges of the competition and Apollo was declared the winner. Apollo himself was quite promiscuous was involved in many different love affairs. Additionally, Diana did not want to be with Apollo so she hid hide away from Apollo and turned herself into a laurel tree which I will talk about further down the article. This is why Apollo was associated with Lauren.  Apollo’s authority in Greek mythology was quite extensive and stems really from the fact that he was able to read a number of oracles. Interestingly, the Greek and Roman mythology is actually the same but the names are often changed. This is the only God whereby the Romans kept the name Apollo. He was respected as a healer in Roman mythology.

What about the birth of Apollo? There is much complexity around the story of Apollo, especially his birth. Firstly, Zeus wife (Hera) who happened to also be his sister, was devastated that Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology) cheated on her with Leto. She was so upset she told the gods to not allow her to give birth on land.  Poseidon took her to a “floating island” which was not really on earth itself. Apollo and his sister called Artemis (who was the goddess of wild things) was then born on this island. When Leto was soon to give birth to Apollo, all she wanted was to uncover a suitable place where she could deliver the babies (she was expecting twins). Leto agreed to build a temple on the island. A beautiful temple.

Could Apollo tell the future? Yes, Apollo was known to be a god who could foretell the future. Delphi was his most famous sacred place and that is where he set the Delphi Oracle. The Roman believed that Apollo was also a god of healing, music, and light. In some circles, Apollo was referred to as Phoebus and in this form, he was known to be warlike, militaristic, and more disciplined.  He had children and together with his descendants and stayed at Camp Jupiter, which is near San Francisco. 

Who is Apollo’s parents? I have said this before, but to re-cap Apollo is the son of Latona and Jupiter and Diana’s twin brother. Among available Greek divinities that have been mentioned in the pagan world, Apollo has been known to be one of the most disliked figures in heathen theology. When Apollo’s son Aesculapius was killed, Apollo was in conflict with his father Jupiter, because Pluto had complained about him, due to the reduced the number of deaths through his cures.  In the process, to revenge the death of his son, Apollo killed the Cyclopes, using the same thunderbolt that killed Aesculapius. Apollo, due to his behavior was banished from heaven and suffered on earth and he was forced to offer services of being a shepherd to the King of Thessaly, Admetus. While he was this sheppard Apollo invented the lyre to soothe his troubles. Due to being experienced in using the “bow and arrow” bow Apollo could always throw a fatal arrow shot. The Cyclopes and Python experienced his wrath. Many temples were erected in Rome for Apollo to be worshipped. 

What does Apollo look like? In art, Apollo was represented as a beardless youth, having long flowing hair floating as it were in the wind, graceful and comely, crowned with laurel, his sandals and garments shining with gold. In one hand he holds a lyre and in the other a bow and an arrow. Sometimes, he is depicted as carrying a cup of nectar and a lyre, the symbol of his divinity. 

What are the facts about Apollo?

  • In Roman mythology, Apollo was known as the main god of prophecy and healing.
  • He was born on the island of Delos to Zeus and Leto. 
  • His other name, Phoebus, meant pure or bright and it is the one which connects him to his grandmother, the Titan Phoebe.
  • Him together with his sister Artemis (Diana), both Olympian shared skills for archery.
  • Being a mastery of magic, he delighted Olympus with tunes played on the golden lyre.  The lyre was an instrument which was similar to a harp and made by Hermes.
  • Asclepius is the most famous son of Apollo, although he had other offsprings
  • He was always accompanied by nine Muses, goddesses for inspiring music and art.
  • Cassandra, a mortal rejected Apollo’s affection and he punished her by making sure that, her prophesies were never believed. 
  • His other name was, The Healer, as he was well known for his art of medicine.
  • He is one God who had many love affairs by both goddesses and mortals. Hecuba, a mortal woman, who married King of Troy had an affair with Apollo. Their union produced Troilus.
  • He is also referred to as the god of truth and light.
  • He is the one who killed Cyclops, who aid given Zeus the thunderbolt that killed Asclepius.
  • He is known to have served as an intermediary between men and gods.
  • Accidentally, he killed his companion Hyacinthus when they were having a discus-throwing contest.
  • Due to his integrity and truthfulness, he was granted the gift of oracles and prophecy. 
  • Apollo’s tree, Laurel, is currently used in Greece as a status symbol.
  • Hercules tried to attack the oracle of Delphi and Apollo had to defend it using just one single arrow. 
  • The swan and the dolphin were the animals which were sacred to Apollo.
  • The Python was killed by Apollo during a contest using a single arrow.
  • Apollo was also known to be a purifier. He was able to cleanse those stained with the blood of their relatives. 
  • During the Trojan War, it is said by Homer’s Illiad that, Apollo took an important role. He aided Paris in killing Achilles by infecting the Greek camp with a plague. 

What is the symbol of Apollo?

Apollo is associated with many symbols, objects that people associated him with. His symbols included:

  • Bow and arrow
  • Branch of Laurel
  • The Lyre
  • Wreath
  • The Raven
  • Rays of light radiating from his head

What is the meaning of the symbols of Apollo?

Bow and Arrow: The bow and arrow that are symbolic of Apollo represent the myth that he defeated the Python, who was a monster. He is also known to be a god of plagues where he shot plague arrows during the Trojan War to the enemies. 

Branch of Laurel: This Apollo wore as a sign of his love for Daphne, the demigod. Goddess Eros cased Daphne to have a hatred for lust and love. He was trying to revenge on Apollo because he had claimed to be the best archer. Daphne sought help from his father, the river god Peneus for help, to stop Apollo from chasing after her. Daphne was then turned into a laurel tree in order to escape from the love Apollo was trying to shower with her. 

The Lyre: Lyre is the most well-known symbol of Apollo. It signifies that he is the god of music. It is told how Apollo was gifted by the god Hermes, in exchange for a rod of health. The lyre has the power to make stones to become great musical instruments. 

Wreath and the rays of light radiating from his head: Together with the rays of light that radiates from his head and wreath symbolized he is the sun god. It is believed that, in the evening, you could see Artemis bring in the darkness world, which Apollo would overtake in the morning by bringing light to the world. 

The Raven: A raven symbolizes Apollo’s anger. It used to be a white bird. Later on, when it delivered news, which was unfavorable to him, he turned all of them to color black. What was the bad news? It was the raven, which informed Apollo that, his lover, Coronis was being unfaithful. The news was tough and disheartening and it made Apollo shoot the raven, the messenger. 

Who was Apollo’s mother? Leto (known as Letona in some versions of the myth), was Apollo’s mother. 

Who was Apollo’s sister? Apollo’s famous twin sister was Artemis (Diana), the goddess of the hunt. 

Who was Apollo’s father? Zeus, the god of goddesses is the father of Apollo.

Who was Apollo’s wife? Apollo is believed to have had affairs with many women as well as men!

  • Marpessa who was the daughter of Euenos was Apollo’s mate. Together, they gave birth to Kleopatra, who became the wife of Meleager
  • Chrysothemis is another of his women who gave birth to the only daughter, Parthenos.
  • With Chione, the daughter of Daedalion and together they sired a son, Philammon.
  • He had a relationship with Daphne, the daughter of Gaea.
  • With the daughter of Poseidon, Eudne, they had a son, Iamos
  • Together with Arsinoe, daughter of Leukippos, they gave birth to his famous son, Asclepius.
  • With Philonis, the daughter of Deion, they had a son, Philammon, who was the first man to train choruses of young women.
  • He approached Cassandra, the prophetess, who rejected his approach.
  • With the daughter of Phylas, Thero, they had a son, Chairon.
  • He was in relation with Kyrene and they had a son, Aristaios.
  • His relationship with Melia, an Oceanid, gave forth a child, Teneros.
  • With the daughter of Krotopos, Psamathe, they had a son, Linos, who was killed by dogs.
  • What is the story of Apollo and Athena? Athena and Apollo were both Zeus (Jupiter’s) children.  They both had tragic birth stories. Apollo was the god of music while Athena was the goddess of military victory.  Athena’s mother was the nymph Metis, and while she was pregnant, there is a prophet who warned Zeus that the child Metis was carrying was going to take over power from him. This made Zeus swallow the pregnant Metis. The god of blacksmiths Hephaestus struck the Zeus forehead with an ax and Athena was born when already full grown. 

On the other hand, Apollo’s mother Leto was also Zeus lover. She was banished from Olympus, which was the god’s homes. Nobody was willing to communicate with Leto due to fear of Hera, Jupiters (Zeus) real wife.  After their birth, both Apollo and Athena were ready to act. When he was only four days old, he was able to kill a Python, who was a monster of a snake who had raped Leto when she was pregnant. There is a giant who tried to kidnap Leto and Apollo was able to kill him. Athena, was born as an adult woman wearing an armor in full gear for a warrior. There was a robe which Metis constructed while inside Zeus, waiting for her birth.

Niobes, the queen of Thebes tried to brag to Leto of having given birth to 14 children and for that, Artemis and Apollo punished her for being disrespectful. All her children were killed. Satyr, Marsyas was executed by Apollo for being arrogant and challenging the god of music to a contest of flute. During the contest, Marsyas lost to Apollo and he was slaughtered alive.   Athena was vengeful. A talented weaver, Arakhne boasted that she was best in a contest though Athena was known to be the goddess of crafts. Athena turned her into a spider. She was also modest as we can see her turning Tiresia to become blind because he had seen her bathing. 

Athena and Apollo were also known to be very generous. For Apollo, he built the Oracle of Delphi. Being the god of plague, he was able to wipe out locusts and rats which were disturbing man-kind. For men or women who sinned e.g was a murderer, they were cleansed by Apollo of their sins. Athena assisted heroes. She helped Perseus to slay Medusa, the snake haired Gorgon who used to turn mortals to the stones by just a glance. The secret of killing Medusa was revealed to Perseus by Athena. The father of Hercules was saved by Athena when Hercule was busy killing most of his family members. 

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