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Well, if you're looking for the answer to whatever question you have, whether it's as ridiculous as 'how long will it take for Demeter to get over the fact that her daughter loves Hades' to as mundane as 'how do I get my computer to start working again', then you've come to the right place. The name's Apollo. I know lots of things. Things that you mortals might have forgotten about.
Apollo.

Apollo was the Greco-Roman God of the arts, music, healing, prophecy, purification, oracles, plague, poetry, civilization, truth, intelligence, logic, reason, archery and the sun.

Overview

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.

He is the son of Zeus, the king of gods, and Leto, one of the Titans. He is also the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo's skill in music is also known to be unmatched.

He was originally associated with only arts, such as music and poetry, but was later transfigured into the god of the Sun, after being trained by the Titan god Helios. He also showed men the art of medicine and healing.

An embodiment of the Hellenic ideal of kalokagathia, he is harmony, reason and moderation personified, a perfect blend of physical superiority and moral virtue. 

He is one of the few gods being worshipped in both Greek and Roman religions. He is the only Olympian that does not have a Roman name though Apollon could be his roman name.

Appearance

Apollo was considered to be the most beautiful male god among the Olympians. Apollo is said to have long golden locks of hair, sky blue eyes supported a muscular build, and had a deep but seductive voice.

Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros (ephebe, or a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all the gods.

Personality

Apollo was a very wise god, silent, calm and level headed, always maintaining a cool and expressionless composure, yet very sympathetic, compassionate, and hospitable from the sufferings of others, specially towards the innocent beings. But like his father Zeus, was very quick to anger, especially when anyone disrespected him or his family. Apollo can be neutral and passive at times, as he always remain a bystander of every situations, but he can be serious when the situations warrants it.

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.

An embodiment of the Hellenic ideal of kalokagathia, he is harmony, reason and moderation personified, a perfect blend of physical superiority and moral virtue. He is also one of the many benevolent gods (not just in Greco-Roman pantheons) that were worship by both mortals and supernatural beings alike. He is also the protector of every civilizations that acknowledge or worships him, prime example of this is the kingdom of Troy, who are known by it's people as very devoted followers of the sun god. He in turn are very protective of them.

He is one of the few gods being worshipped in both Greek and Roman religions due to his high benevolence and compassion for his worshippers. He always maintain a humble and superior disposition in face of the mortals.

Although not mention, he is one of the few Olympian gods to have some familial bond, love, and care for his half siblings (both full-blooded gods/goddesses and demigods/demigoddesses alike), similar to Athena, Hermis, and Artemis.

Power and Abilities

As the god of Mousike (art of Muses), Apollo presides over all music, songs, dance and poetry. He is the inventor of string-music, and the frequent companion of the Muses, functioning as their chorus leader in celebrations. The lyre is a common attribute of Apollo.

Both medicine and healing are associated with Apollo and were thought to sometimes be mediated through his son, Asclepius. However, Apollo could also bring ill-health and deadly plague.

He is famous for his oracle at Delphi. People traveled to it from all over the Greek world to divine the future. Apollo also became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. He was the leader of the Muses (also known as Apollon Musegetes) and was director of their choir, functioning as the patron god of music and poetry.

The god Hermes create the lyre for Apollo and this instrument became a known attribute for him. When hymns were sung to Apollo they were called paeans

History

Before he and Artemis' birth, the jealous Hera had made all land shun her so she was unable to find a place to give birth.

Leto sought shelter in many lands, only to be rejected by them. Finally, the voice of unborn Apollo informed his mother about a floating island named Delos which had once been Asteria, Leto's own sister.

It is also stated that Hera kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from going into labor. The other gods tricked Hera into letting her go by offering her a necklace of amber 9 yards or 8.2 meters long.

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.

Artemis was born first and subsequently assisted with the birth of Apollo, or that Artemis was born on the island of Ortygia and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo.

When Apollo was born clutching a golden sword, everything on Delos turned into gold, and the island was filled with ambrosial fragrance. Swans circled the island seven times, and the nymphs sang in delight. He was washed clean by the goddesses who then covered him in white garment and fastened golden bands around him. Since Leto was unable to feed the him, Themis, the goddess of divine law, fed him with nectar, or ambrosia. Upon tasting the divine food, Apollo broke free of the bands fastened onto him and declared that he would be the master of lyre and archery, and interpret the will of Zeus to humankind. Zeus, who had calmed Hera by the time, came and adorned his son with a golden headband.

Apollo's birth fixed the floating Delos to the earth. Leto promised that her son would be always favorable towards the Delians. According to some, Apollo secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean after some time. This island became sacred to Apollo and was one of the major cult centres of the god.

Telphousa

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.

Prophecy

Since 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.

Hyperborea

Hyperborea, the mystical land of eternal spring, venerated Apollo above all the gods. The Hyperboreans always sang and danced in his honor and hosted Pythian games. There, a vast forest of beautiful trees was called "the garden of Apollo". Apollo spent the winter months among the Hyperboreans. His absence from the world caused coldness and this was marked as his annual death. No prophecies were issued during this time. He returned to the world during the beginning of the spring. The Theophania festival was held in Delphi to celebrate his return.

It is said that Leto came to Delos from Hyperborea accompanied by a pack of wolves. Henceforth, Hyperborea became Apollo's winter home and wolves became sacred to him. His intimate connection to wolves is evident from his epithet Lyceus, meaning wolf-like. But Apollo was also the wolf-slayer in his role as the god who protected flocks from predators. The Hyperborean worship of Apollo bears the strongest marks of Apollo being worshipped as the sun god. Shamanistic elements in Apollo's cult are often liked to his Hyperborean origin, and he is likewise speculated to have originated as a solar shaman. Shamans like Abaris and Aristeas were also the followers of Apollo, who hailed from Hyperborea.

In myths, the tears of amber Apollo shed when his son Asclepius died became the waters of the river Eridanos, which surrounded Hyperborea. Apollo also buried in Hyperborea the arrow which he had used to kill the Cyclopes. He later gave this arrow to Abaris

The Iliad

"If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, And dread avenging Phoebus, son of Jove." - Khryses begging to Apollo.

Apollo is one of the first gods mentioned in the Iliad. In the Iliad, Apollo is the healer under the gods, but he is also the bringer of disease and death with his arrows, similar to the function of the Vedic god of disease Rudra. He sends a plague to the Achaeans. The god who sends a disease can also prevent it; therefore, when it stops, they make a purifying ceremony and offer him a hecatomb to ward off evil.

Khryses was a priest of Apollo. He deeply respected Apollo. But one day the Greek hero and king of Mycenae or ArgosAgamemnon, 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, 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.

Eros and Apollo

Eros was a very mischievous god 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.

Music Contest

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 far 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 King 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's Tragedy

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 unburied 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.

Myth and Legends

In Greek mythology, he was most widely known as the god of light. Within Roman mythology, he wasn’t known as much as the god of light and was focused mainly as the god of healing and prophecy.

For the Greeks, Apollo was all the Gods in one and through the centuries he acquired different functions which could originate from different gods. In archaic Greece he was the prophet, the oracular god who in older times was connected with "healing". In classical Greece he was the god of light and of music, but in popular religion he had a strong function to keep away evil. Walter Burkert discerned three components in the prehistory of Apollo worship, which he termed "a Dorian-northwest Greek component, a Cretan-Minoan component, and a Syro-Hittite component."

From his eastern origin Apollo brought the art of inspection of "symbols and omina", and of the observation of the omens of the days. The inspiration oracular-cult was probably introduced from Anatolia. The ritualism belonged to Apollo from the beginning. The Greeks created the legalism, the supervision of the orders of the gods, and the demand for moderation and harmony. Apollo became the god of shining youth, ideal beauty, fine arts, philosophy, moderation, spiritual-life, the protector of music, divine law and perceptible order. The improvement of the old Anatolian god, and his elevation to an intellectual sphere, may be considered an achievement of the Greek people.

Apollo was born on the seventh day of the month Thargelion —according to Delian tradition—or of the month Bysios—according to Delphian tradition. The seventh and twentieth, the days of the new and full moon, were ever afterwards held sacred to him.

Healer and god-protector from evil

The function of Apollo as a "healer" is connected with Paean, the physician of the Gods who seems to come from a more primitive religion. He did not have a separate cult, but he was the personification of the holy magic-song sung by the magicians that was supposed to cure disease. Later the Greeks knew the original meaning of the relevant song "paean". The magicians were also called "seer-doctors", and they used an ecstatic prophetic art which was used exactly by the god Apollo at the oracles.

Some common epithets of Apollo as a healer are "paion" (παιών literally "healer" or "helper") "epikourios" (ἐπικούριος, "succouring"), "oulios" (οὔλιος, "healer, baleful") and "loimios" (λοίμιος, "of the plague"). In classical times, his strong function in popular religion was to keep away evil, and was therefore called "apotropaios" (ἀποτρόπαιος, "averting evil") and "alexikakos" (ἀλεξίκακος "keeping off ill"; from v. ἀλέξω + n. κακόν).

Such songs were originally addressed to Apollo, and afterwards to other gods: to Dionysus, to Apollo Helios, to Apollo's son Asclepius the healer. About the 4th century, the paean became merely a formula of adulation; its object was either to implore protection against disease and misfortune, or to offer thanks after such protection had been rendered. It was in this way that Apollo had become recognised as the god of music. Apollo's role as the slayer of the Python led to his association with battle and victory; hence it became the Roman custom for a paean to be sung by an army on the march and before entering into battle, when a fleet left the harbour, and also after a victory had been won.

Apollo's Lovers

Apollo, like his father Zeus, had loved many men and women but has the unfortunately curse that most his lovers either die or have something happen to them.

Apollo had 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 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 Zephyros 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 from unknown means though shome 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.

Equivalents

Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. He is also an oracular god as a patron of Delphi and could predict prophecy through the Delphic Oracle Pythia.

Quotes

Always. The sun always comes back.
Apollo
I am thou... Thou art I... From the sea of thy soul I cometh... Ruler of the blazing sun and blue skies, Apollo...
Apollo to his Vessel

Gallery

Trivia

  • At the drinking parties held on Olympus, Apollo accompanied the Muses on his cithara, while the young goddesses led the dance. Both Leto and Zeus were proud of their son, who was radiant with grace and beauty.
  • Apollo's throne was made of highly polished gold. There was a sun-disk 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.
  • The nine Muses were companions of his; they were goddesses known for inspiring art and music.
  • Apollo is the Godfather of the musician Orpheus.
  • A Luwian etymology suggested for Apaliunas makes Apollo "The One of Entrapment", perhaps in the sense of "Hunter".
  • Apollo taught men the art of medicine, so he is often referred to as “The Healer.” He's also the father of Asclepius.
  • Apollo served as an intermediary between the gods and men.
  • Because of his truthfulness and integrity, he was granted the gift of prophecy and oracles.
  • Apollo defended the oracle at Delphi against Heracles, who was angry at the priestess for having denied him a prophecy.
  • Apollo killed a serpent named Python as a result of a contest; it was conquered by a single arrow.
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