Greek God Apollo or Apollon was one of the greatest Olympian Gods in Ancient Greece and the only one to appear with the same name in both Greek and Roman mythology.
Apollo or Apollon?
In Greece the name of this God is Apollon (Απόλλων) or Apollonas (Απόλλωνας), but internationally he is mostly known with the name Apollo.
God Apollo, the god of sun, music, poetry, archery, healing and justice
Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto. Apollo was also the brother of Artemis, half brother of Hermes and father of many, including Aristaeus and Asclepius.
God Apollo had many functions: he was the god of poetry, prophecy, arts and music, archery, and also of medical healing.
Associated with the care of herds and crops, Apollo was a sun god of great antiquity, yet he is represented as an ever youthful god, just, wise and of great beauty. He has been the subject of many great paintings and statues throughout the ages.
Apollo was well loved among the gods. Only his half brother, Hermes, dared to play a trick on him when he stole Apollo’s cattle.
As well as physical beauty, Apollo represented the moral excellence that we think of as civilization. His cult at Delphi had enormous influence on matters of state and religion, as well as on everyday law and order. The influence of Apollo at Delphi helped to spread tolerance in all social ranks. Apollo was above all, a god of justice, law, and order.
The many and varying functions of Apollon suggest that the god had many personalities derived from various origins. Some mythologists say that he was a sun god from Asia, who merged with a pastoral god from the countries north of Greece, known as Hyperborea, that is “the Far North”.
The Birth of Apollo
According to the poet Hesiod, Apollo was the son of the great god Zeus and Leto, the gentle female Titan. Hera, the wife of Zeus, was jealous of her rival; familiar with the rages of Hera, no land would give Leto sanctuary in which to bear her child.
At last Leto found refuge in the floating island of Ortygia, later called Delos, which became firmly anchored only after the birth of her first child, Artemis. Artemis assisted Leto in the birth of her twin brother, Apollo.
Apollo was fed on nectar and ambrosia and quickly grew to manhood.
The Loves of God Apollo
Apollo was one of the foremost gods of Olympus and supremely handsome. Like all the gods and goddesses, Apollo had many loves, not all of them happy:
- The nymph Daphne fled from the god and turned herself into a laurel tree rather than submit to him. Apollo made the laurel tree his sacred tree and emblem.
- With Coronis Apollo begat Asclepius, god of healing and medicine, but Coronis deserted Apollo for love of Ischyus. Apollo’s sister, Artemis, killed Coronis with her arrows. Apollo snatched the infant Asclepius from the funeral pyre and gave him to Hermes, or, some say to Chiron, the gentle Centaur.
- Apollo fell in love with Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam . He conferred on her the gift of prophecy, but Cassandra was untrue to Apollo who then breathed a kiss into her mouth that took away her powers of persuasion. From then on, no one believed the prophecies of Cassandra.
- With the nymph Cyrene, Apollo begot Aristaeus,who was worshiped as a protector of flocks and crops and especially of the art of beekeeping. Among Apollo’s male loves was Hyacinthus a beautiful young man after whom the spring flower hyacinth is named.