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APOLLO 100.00%
Son of Zeus by Leto (Latona), who, according to the legend most widely current, bore him and his twin-sister Artemis (Diana) at the foot of Mount Cynthus in the island of Delos. Apollo appears originally as a god of light, both in its beneficent and its destructive effects; and of light in general, not of the sun only, for to the early Greeks the deity that brought daylight was Helios, with whom it was not till afterwards that Apollo was identified. While the meaning of his name Apollo is uncertain, his epithets of Phoebus and Lycius clearly mark him as the bright, the life-giving, the former also meaning the pure, holy; for, as the god of pure light, he is the enemy of darkness, with all its unclean, uncouth, unhallowed brood. Again, not only the seventh day of the month, his birthday, but the first day of each month, i.e. of each new-born moon, was sacred to him, as it was to Janus, the Roman god of light; and according to the view that prevailed in many seats of his worship, he withdrew in winter time either to sunny Lycia, or to the Hyperboreans who dwell in perpetual light in the utmost north, and returned in spring to dispel the powers of winter with his beams. When the fable relates that immediately after his birth, with the first shot from his bow he slew the dragon Python (or Delphyne), a hideous offspring of Gaea and guardian of the Delphian oracle, what seems to be denoted must be the spring-god's victory over winter, that filled the land with foul marsh and mist. As the god of light, his festivals are all in spring or summer, and many of them still plainly reveal in certain features his true and original attributes. Thus the Delphinia, held at Athens in April, commemorated the calming of the wintry sea after the equinoctial gales, and the consequent reopening of navigation. As this feast was in honour of the god of spring, so was the Thargelia, held at Athens the next month, in honour of the god of summer. That the crops might ripen, he received firstfruits of them, and at the same time propitiatory gifts to induce him to avert the parching heat, so hurtful to fruits and men. About the time of the sun's greatest altitude (July and August), when the god displays his power, now for good and now for harm, the Athenians offered him hecatombs, whence the first month of their year was named Hecatomboeon, and the Spartans held their Hyacinthia (see HYACINTHUS). In autumn, when the god was ripening the fruit of their gardens and plantations, and preparing for departure, they celebrated the Pyanepsia (q.v.), when they presented him with the firstfruits of harvest. Apollo gives the crops prosperity, and protection not only against summer heat, but against blight, mildew, and the vermin that prey upon them, such as field-mice and grasshoppers. Hence he was known by special titles in some parts of Asia. He was also a patron of flocks and pastures, and was worshipped in many districts under a variety of names referring to the breeding of cattle. In the story of Hermes (q.v.) stealing his oxen, Apollo is himself the owner of a herd, which he gives up to his brother in exchange for the lyre invented by him. Other ancient legends speak of him as tending the flocks of Laomodon and Admetus, an act afterwards represented as a penalty for a fault. As a god of shepherds he makes love to the nymphs, to the fair Daphne (q.v.), to Coronis (see ASCLEPIUS), and to Cyrene, the mother of Aristaeus, likewise a god of herds. Some forms of his worship and some versions of his story imply that Apollo, like his sister Artemis, was regarded as a protector of tender game and a slayer of rapacious beasts, especially of the wolf, the enemy of flocks, and himself a symbol of the god's power, that now sends mischief, and now averts it. Apollo promotes the health and well-being of man himself. As a god of prolific power, he was invoked at weddings; and as a nurse of tender manhood and trainer of manly youth, to him (as well as the fountain-nymphs) were consecrated the first offerings of the hair of the head. In gymnasia and palaestrae he was worshipped equally with Hermes and Heracles; for he gave power of endurance in boxing, with adroitness and fleetness of foot. As a warlike god and one helpful in fight, the Spartans paid him peculiar honours in their Carneia (q.v.), and in a measure the Athenians in their Boedromia. Another Athenian festival, the Metageitnia, glorified him as the author of neighbourly union. In many places, but above all at Athens, he was worshipped as Agyieus, the god of streets and highways, whose rude symbol, a conical post with a pointed ending, stood by streetdoors and in courtyards, to watch men's exit and entrance, to let in good and keep out evil, and was loaded by the inmates with gifts of honour, such as ribbons, wreaths of myrtle or bay, and the like. At sea, as well as on land, Apollo is a guide and guardian, and there, especially under the name Delphinius, taken from his friend and ally the dolphin, the symbol of the navigable sea. Under this character he was widely worshipped, for the most part with peculiar propitiatory rites, in seaports and on promontories, as that of Actium, and particularly at Athens, being also regarded as a leader of colonies. While he is Alexicacus (averter of ills) in the widest sense, he proves his power most especially in times of sickness; for, being god of the hot season, and himself the sender of most epidemics and the dreaded plague, sweeping man swiftly away with his unerring shafts, he can also lend the most effectual aid; so that he and his son Asclepius were revered as the chief gods of healing. As a saviour from epidemics mainly, but also from other evils, the paean (q.v.) was sung in his honour. In a higher sense also Apollo is a healer and saviour. From an early time a strong ethical tinge was given to his purely physical attributes, and the god of light became a god of mental and moral purity, and therefore of order, justice, and legality in human life. As such, he, on the one hand smites and spares not the insolent offender, Tityos for instance, the Aloidae, the overweening Niobe, and the Greeks before Troy; but, on the other hand, to the guilt-laden soul, that turns to him in penitence and supplication, he grants purification from the stain of committed crime (which was regarded as a disease clouding the mind and crushing the heart), and so he heals the spirit, and readmits the outcast into civic life and religious fellowship. Of this he had himself set the pattern, when, after slaying the Delphian dragon, he fled from the land, did seven years' menial service to Admetus in atonement for the murder, and when the time, of penance was past had himself purified in the sacred grove of baytrees by the Thessalian temple, and not till then did he return to Delphi and enter on his office as prophet of Zeus. Therefore he exacts from all a recognition of the atoning power of penance, in the teeth of the old law of vengeance for blood, which only bred new murders and new guilt. The atoning rites propagated by Apollo's worship, particularly from Delphi, contributed largely to the spread of milder maxims of law, affecting not only individuals, but whole towns and countries. Even without special prompting, the people felt from time to time the need of purification and expiation; hence certain expiatory rites had from of old been connected with his festivals. As the god of light who pierces through all darkness, Apollo is the god of divination, which, however, has in his case a purely ethical significance; for he, as prophet and minister of his father Zeus, makes known his will to men, and helps to further his government in the world. He always declares the truth; but the limited mind of man cannot always grasp the meaning of his sayings. He is the patron of every kind of prophecy, but most especially of that which he imparts through human instruments, chiefly women, while in a state of ecstasy. Great as was the number of his oracles in Greece and Asia, all were eclipsed in fame and importance by that of Delphi (q.v.). Apollo exercises an elevating and inspiring influence on the mind as god of Music, which, though not belonging to him alone any more than Atonement and Prophecy, was yet pre-eminently his province. In Homer he is represented only as a player on the lyre, while song is the province of the Muses; but in course of time he grows to be the god, as they are the goddesses, of song and poetry, and is therefore Musagetes Leader of the Muses) as well as master of the choric dance, which goes with music and song. And, as the friend of all that beautifies life, he is intimately associated with the Graces. Standing in these manifold relations to nature and man, Apollo at all times held a prominent position in the religion of the Greeks; and as early as Homer his name is coupled with those of Zeus and Athena, as if between them the three possessed the sum total of divine power. His worship was diffused equally over all the regions in which Greeks were settled; but from remote antiquity he bad been the chief god of the Dorians, who were also the first to raise him into a type of moral excellence. The two chief centres of his worship were the Island of Delos, his birthplace, where, at his magnificent temple standing by the sea, were held every five years the festive games called Delia, to which the Greek states sent solemn embassies; and Delphi, with its oracle and numerous festivals (see PYTHIA, THEOXENIA). Foremost among the seats of his worship in Asia was Patara in Lycia with a famous oracle. To the Romans Apollo became known in the reign of their last king Tarquinius Superbus, the first Roman who consulted the Delphian oracle, and who also acquired the Sibylline Books (q.v.). By the influence of these writings the worship of Apollo soon became so naturalized among them, that in B.C. 431 they built a temple to him as god of healing, from which the expiatory processions (see SUPPLICATIONES) prescribed in the Sibylline books used to set out. In the Lectisternia (q.v.), first instituted in B.C. 399, Apollo occupies the foremost place. In 212 B.C., during the agony of the Second Punic War, the Ludi Apollinares were, in obedience to an oracular response, established in honour of him. He was made one of the chief gods of Rome by Augustus, who believed himself to be under his peculiar protection, and ascribed the victory of Actium to his aid: hence he enlarged the old temple of Apollo on that promontory, and decorated it with a portion of the spoils. He also renewed the games held near it, previously every two years, afterwards every four, with gymnastic and artistic contests, and, regattas on the sea; at Rome he reared a splendid new temple to him near his own house on the Palatine, and transferred the Ludi Soeculares (q.v.) to him and Diana. The manifold symbols of Apollo correspond with the multitude of his attributes. The commonest is either the lyre or the bow, according as he was conceived as the god of song or as the far-hitting archer. The Delphian diviner, Pythian Apollo, is indicated by the Tripod, which was also the favourite offering at his altars. Among plants the bay, used for purposes of expiation, was early sacred to him (see DAPHNE). It was planted round his temples, and plaited into garlands of victory at the Pythian games. The palm-tree was also sacred to him, for it was under a palm-tree that he was born in Delos. Among animals, the wolf, the dolphin, the snow-white and musical swan, the hawk, raven, crow, and snake were under his special protection; the last four in connexion with his prophetic functions. In ancient art he was represented as a long-haired but beardless youth, of tall yet muscular build, and handsome features. Images of him were as abundant as his worship was extensive: there was scarcely an artist of antiquity who did not try his hand upon some incident in the story of Apollo. The ideal type of this god seems to have been fixed chiefly by Praxiteles and Scopas. The most famous statue preserved of him is the Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican (fig. 1), which represents him either as fighting with the Pythian dragon, or with his aegis frightening back the foes who threaten to storm his sanctuary. Other great works, as the Apollo Musagetes in the Vatican, probably from the hand of Scopas, show him as a Citharoedus in the long Ionian robe, or nude as in fig. 2. The Apollo Sauroctonus (lizard-killer), copied from a bronze statue by Praxiteles, is especially celebrated for its beauty. It represents a delicate youthful figure leaning against a tree, dart in hand, ready to stab a lizard that is crawling up the tree. It is preserved in bronze at the Villa Albani in Rome, and in marble at Paris.
A special name of Apollo (q.v.)
PHOEBUS 100.00%
A special name for Apollo (q.v.).
LYCIUS 75.37%
Epithet of Apollo (q.v.).
An Athenian festival in honour of Apollo (q.v.).
i.e. leader of the, Muses, A title of (Apollo) the god of poets. (See APOLLO and MUSES.)
An epithet of Apollo and Heracles.
A festival held at Athens in honour of Apollo as the god of spring. The Delphinion was a sanctuary of the Delphian Apollo at Athens. (See EPHETAe.)
PYTHON 45.26%
A monstrous serpent produced by Gaea, which haunted the caves of Parnassus. It was slain by Apollo with his first arrows. (See APOLLO and DELPHIC ORACLE.)
A daughter of a king of Argos, mother of Linus (q.v.) by Apollo.
OLEN 42.05%
A mythical poet of Lycia belonging to early Greek times, standing in connexion with the worship of Apollo in Delos and represented as having composed the first hymns for the Delians. The legend which was especially attributed to him was that of Apollo's sojourn among the Hyperboreans.
DAPHNE 41.42%
A nymph, daughter of the Thessalian river-god Peneius, or according to another story, the Arcadian Ladon, was beloved both by Apollo and by Leucippus, the son of OEnomaus. The latter followed her in a woman's dress, but was discovered and killed by the nymphs at the instance of his rival. Pursued again by Apollo, the chaste maiden was, at her own entreaty, changed into a bay tree, the tree consecrated to Apollo.
AGYIEUS 40.55%
A title of Apollo (q.v.) as god of streets and highways.
PYTHIA 39.43%
The prophetess of Apollo at Delphi. (See DELPHIC ORACLE.)
DELIA 39.31%
The festival of Apollo held every five years at the island of Delos, and visited by ceremonial embassies from all the Greek cities.
Son of king Amyclas, of Amyclae in Laconia, and of Diomede. He was beloved for his beauty by Apollo and Zephyrus. As Apollo was one day teaching the boy how to play at quoits, on the banks of the river Eurotas, the wind-god in his jealousy drove the quoit with such violence against the head of Hyacinthus, that the blow killed him. From his blood Apollo caused a flower of the same name to spring up, with the exclamation of woe, AI, AI, marked upon its petals. Hyacinthus, like Adonis, is a personification of vegetation, which flourishes in the spring-time, but is scorched and killed by the glowing heat of the summer sun, which is symbolized by the quoit or discus. Like other festivals in honour of nature, the festival of the Hyacinthia, celebrated by the Spartans at Amyclae for three days in July, down to the time of the Roman emperors, was connected with the expression of grief at the death of vegetation, of joy over the harvest, and of cheerful trust in the re-awakening of nature. On the first day, which was dedicated to silent mourning, sacrifice to the dead was offered at the grave of Hyacinthus, which was under the statue of Apollo in the temple at Amyclae. The following day was spent in public rejoicing in honour of Apollo, in which all the populace, including the slaves, took part. They went in festal procession with choruses of singing boys and girls, accompanied by harps and flutes, to the temple of Apollo, where games and competitions, sacrifices and entertainments to one another took place, and a robe, woven by the Spartan women, was offered to the god.
A very ancient seat of prophecy at Delphi, originally called Pytho, and situated on the south-western spur of Parnassus in a valley of Phocis. In historical times the oracle appears in possession of Apollo; but the original possessor, according to the story, was Gaia (the Earth). Then it was shared by her with Poseidon, who gave up his part in it to Apollo in exchange for the island of Calauria, Themis, the daughter and successor of Gaia, having already given Apollo her share. According to the Homeric hymn to the Pythian Apollo, the god took forcible possession of the oracle soon after his birth, slaying with his earliest bow-shot the serpent Pytho, the son of Gaia, who guarded the spot. To atone for his murder, Apollo was forced to fly and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival, the Septeria, was held every year, at which the whole story was represented: the slaying of the serpent, and the flight, atonement, and return of the god. Apollo was represented by a boy, both of whose parents were living. The dragon was symbolically slain, and his house, decked out in costly fashion, was burnt. Then the boy's followers hastily dispersed, and the boy was taken in procession to Tempe, along the road formerly followed by the god. Here he was purified and brought back by the same road , accompanied by a chorus of maidens singing songs of joy. The oracle proper was a cleft in the ground in the innermost sanctuary, from which arose cold vapours, which had the power of inducing ecstasy. Over the cleft stood a lofty gilded tripod of wood. On this was a circular, slab, upon which the seat of the prophetess was placed. The prophetess, called Pythia, was a maiden of honourable birth; in earlier times a young girl, but in a later age a woman of over fifty, still wearing a girl's dress, in memory of the earlier custom. In the prosperous times of the oracle two Pythias acted alternately, with a third to assist them. In the earliest times the Pythia ascended the tripod only once a year, on the birthday of Apollo, the seventh of the Delphian spring month Bysios. But in later years she prophesied every day, if the day itself and the sacrifices were not unfavourable. These sacrifices were offered by the supplicants, adorned with laurel crowns and fillets of wool. Having prepared herself by washing and purification, the Pythia entered the sanctuary, with gold ornaments in her hair, and flowing robes upon her; she drank of the water of the fountain Cassotis, which flowed into the shrine, tasted the fruit of the old bay tree standing in the chamber, and took her seat. No one was present but a priest, called the Prophetes, who explained the words she uttered in her ecstasy, and put them into metrical form, generally hexameters. In later times the votaries were contented with answers in prose. The responses were often obscure and enigmatical, and couched in ambiguous and metaphorical expressions, which themselves needed explanation. The order in which the applicants approached the oracle was determined by lot, but certain cities, as Sparta, had the right of priority. The reputation of the oracle stood very high throughout Greece until the time of the Persian wars, especially among the Dorian tribes, and among them re-eminently the Spartans, who had stood from of old in intimate relation with it. On all important occasions, as the sending out of colonies, the framing of internal legislation or religious ordinances, the god of Delphi was consulted, and that not only by Greeks but by foreigners, especially the people of Asia and Italy. After the Persian wars the influence of the oracle declined, partly in consequence of the growth of unbelief, partly from the mistrust excited by the partiality and venality of the priesthood. But it never fell completely into discredit, and from time to time its position rose again. In the first half of the 2nd century A.D. it had a revival, the result of the newly awakened interest in the old religion. It was abolished at the end of the 4th century A.D. by Theodosius the Great. The oldest stone temple of Apollo was attributed to the mythical architects, Trophonius and Agamedes. It was burnt down in 548 B.C., when the Alcmaeonidae, at that time in exile from Athens, undertook to rebuild it for the sum of 300 talents, partly taken from the treasure of the temple, and partly contributed by all countries inhabited by Greeks and standing in connexion with the oracle. They put the restoration into the hands of the Corinthian architect Spintharus, and carried it out in a more splendid style than was originally agreed upon, building the front of Parian marble instead of limestone. The groups of sculpture in the pediments represented, on the eastern side, Apollo with Artemis, Leto, and the Muses; on the western side, Dionysus with the Thyiades and the setting sun; for Dionysus was worshipped here in winter during the imagined absence of Apollo. These were all the work of Praxias and Androsthenes, and were finished about 430 B.C. The temple was, on account of its vast extent, a hypaethral building; that is, there was no roof over the space occupied by the temple proper. The architecture of the exterior was Doric, of the interior Ionic, as may still be observed in the surviving ruins. On the walls of the entrance-hall were short texts written in gold, attributed to the Seven Wise Men. One of these was the celebrated "Know Thyself." In the temple proper stood the golden statue of Apollo, and in front of it the sacrificial hearth with the eternal fire. Near this was a globe of marble covered with fillets, the Omphalos or centre of the earth. In earlier times two eagles stood at its side, representing the two eagles which fable said had been sent out by Zeus at the same moment from the eastern and western ends of the world. These eagles were carried off in the Phocian war, and their place filled by two eagles in mosaic on the floor. Behind this space was the inner shrine, lying lower, in the form of a cavern over the cleft in the earth. Within the spacious precincts (peribolos), stood a great number of chapels, statues, votive offerings and treasure-houses of the various Greek states, in which they deposited their gifts to the sanctuary, especially the tithes of the booty taken in war. Here, too, was the council chamber of the Delphians. Before the entrance to the temple was the great altar for burnt-offerings, and the golden tripod, dedicated by the Greeks after the battle of Plataea, on a pedestal of brass, representing a snake in three coils. [The greater part of this pedestal now stands in the Hippodrome, or Atmeidan, at Constantinople.] Besides the treasures accumulated in the course of time, the temple had considerable property in land, with a population consisting mainly of slaves (hierodouloi), bound to pay contributions and to render service to the sanctuary. The management of the property was in the hands of priests chosen from the noble Delphian families, at their head the five Hosioi or consecrated ones. Since the first spoliation of the temple by the Phocians in 355 B.C., it was several times plundered on a grand scale. Nero, for instance, is said to have carried off 500 bronze statues. Yet some 3,000 statues were to be seen there in the time of the elder Pliny. [See an article on the Delphic temple by Professor Middleton, Journal of Hellenic Studies, ix 282-322.]
A nymph, the daughter of the river-god Achelous. Pursued by Apollo, she threw herself into a spring on Mount Parnassus, which took its name after her. The spring was consecrated to Apollo and the Muses, and it was in its water that the pilgrims to the neighbouring shrine of Delphi purified themselves. The Roman poets indulged in the fiction that it conferred poetic inspiration.
A marble boss in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, which was regarded as the centre of the earth. (See DELPHIC ORACLE.)
IDMON 30.96%
Son of Apollo and of Asterie, daughter of Coronus; a seer who took part in the Argonautic expedition, although he foresaw that it would lead to his own death. He was killed by a wild boar in the land of the Marlandyni, in Bithynia. He was worshipped as a hero by the inhabitants of the town of Heracleia in Pontus, which was built around his grave by command of Apollo.
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