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Apollo's Appearance: A young man with curly golden hair.
Symbol or Attribute: The Sun itself, the lyre (a type of musical instrument), the bow, and the chariot he drives across the sky daily.
Apollo's Strengths: Creative, handsome, supportive of all the arts of civilization.
Weaknesses: Like his father Zeus, Apollo is all too happy to enjoy the charms of nymphs, as well as the occasional youth, and his conquests number in the dozens.
Birthplace of Apollo: On the sunny Greek island of Delos, where he was born along with his twin sister, Artemis. Another tradition gives the islands of Lato, now called Paximadia, off the southern coast of Crete.
Spouse: Apollo had many encounters, but no marriages. Flings with Cassandra, to whom he gave the gift of prophecy; Daphne, who fled from his embrace and turned into a laurel tree; and Calliope, with whom he had a child, Orpheus.
Apollo's Children: The enchanting semi-divine singer Orpheus and Asklepios, god of healing, are the most famous of Apollo's offspring.
Some Major Temple Sites of Apollo: The mountain town of Delphi, where a few columns from an early temple of Apollo still stand. The island of Delos is also sacred to him, but there is no temple remaining there today.
Basic Story: Apollo was the son of the supreme Greek god Zeus and Leto, a nymph. Zeus's wife Hera was outraged and convinced the earth to refuse to allow Leto to give birth anywhere on its surface. But the island of Delos allowed Leto to take refuge there and give birth to Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis, goddess of the hunt and wild things. The goddess Themis assisted in raising him by feeding him ambrosia, the sacred nectar of the gods.
Interesting Fact: Apollo Delphinus or Delphinius was the dolphin-form of the god and was revered at Delphi - despite its location high in the mountains. He was also believed to have destroyed an evil serpent at Delphi, and was the patron god of the oracle there.
-The Greek god, Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were born by Leto, a Titan goddess who was impregnated by Zeus during one of his numerous affairs. When Hera discovered that her husband had impregnated yet another goddess. Angered, Hera would not allow Leto to bear her children. Finally, Leto found an island that was willing to allow her to give birth, and this island was named Delos.
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-Apollo tries his best to make his father proud. After his confrontation with Python, he then becomes an accurate archer, one of the best musician, poet, philosopher, law maker, creator of legal institutions, masterful physician, the god of prophecy, and also a great scholar who speaks the truth.
-Apollo’s archer skills were unerring at a early age. Just when he was only 4 days old, he took his silver bow and arrows and went out in search of the snake, Python, that had troubled his mother during her pregnancy days. Finding the snake named Python, who was said to measure several acres in length, he wounded her with just his first shot. The serpent retreay back to her cave in the city of Delphi, but the infant quickly followed her and this time, with his second shot of his arrow, succeeded in killing the snake. The citizens of Delphi were glad of the death of the Python and were grateful to Apollo; which Delphi later was established as the center of Apollo’s worship.
-However this was not just a regular snake that Apollo had killed, it turns out that it happened to be the Oracle of Delphi, the greatest prophet of all time. The Python could answer any question with her ability to see anything in the present or the future.
-The killing of the Python was a big problem. Although Zeus was very proud of his son’s courage but he was not pleased that Apollo had killed the serpent. Zeus has just lose a place to go when he needed advice based on her foresight. Apollo, inorder to repair the damage, returns to Delphi and took over the Temple to learn the art of prophecy.
-Eventhough, Zeus treated Apollo better than others, he still have to punish him for killing the Python, so he would learn a lesson. Zeus then exiled him to live and work as a mortal on earth for one year. His mission was to assist King Admetus, a kind man who treated Apollo well. At the end of his work as a mortal, Apollo looked into the future and warn that the king would die unless he found someone willing to die for him. The king regretably sacrifised his wife until heracles brought her back later on.
-Arrows featured largely in the story of Apollo’s first love. One day, he caught young Eros (Cupid) playing with his silver bow and arrows. He mocked Eros, saying that arrows were not toys. Eros was irated and decides to show Apollo his golden arrows. First he shot Apollo with one of his arrows that made the victim fall madly in love with the first person they saw. At this moment, Daphne, the lovely daughter of a river god, came walking by and Apollo fell in love right away. Eros then drew a second arrow from his quiver that was made of lead and tipped with a potion that would make love seem repulsive. He took aim and shot Daphne with it. Daphne begged her father to swear that she would never have to marry.Apollo pursued Daphne, showing his undying love. However she continued to run from him; horrified when he finally caught up with her, Daphne cried for Mother Earth to strike her dead or change her form, in the end she was turned into laurel tree. Apollo became heartbroken, and tore off a branch of leaves to wove them into his hair, while promising Daphne that he would always remembered, the wreaths of laurel leaves was later on used for crown kings.
-Apollo never married, but had actually tried to seduce many young goddesses and mortal women. In the hopes of winning their love, Apollo gave Cassandra the power of prophecy. Apollo wanted to be to be repaid for his favor, Cassandra then rejected him. Apollo was mad and gave her curse that no-one would believe her prophecy.
Apollo also had alot of male lovers; the most famous, was Hyacinthus, whom he accidentally killed in a game of discus. To show his sorrow and sadness, Apollo transformed Hyacinthus into the beautiful flower, the hyacinth that greets us each spring.
-When Niobe, the daughter of Tantalos, claimed that she was a better mother than Leto base on the fact that she had produced six sons and six daughters instead of just a measly set of twins, Apollo and Artemis was deeply offended. Their brought their bows and arrows and found Niobe’s children. Apollo killed the sons while Artemis dispatched the daughters.
-Apollo was also a very jealous God. Apollo missed Artemis company and affection when she fell in love with a hunter named Orion. During the time when Orion was swimming in the ocean, Apollo ran to find Artemis abd rushed down to the beach with her. Pointing to Orion’s head, barely visible on the horizon, Apollo bet that Artemis could hit the target. Artemis was very confident woth her skills as an archer and with her unerring aim, she unknowingly killed the man she loved. She never loved again.
Apollo was the champion in music, science, and prophecy. Apollo was also known to have beaten Ares in boxing and Hermes in racing at the first Olympic games.It is a good thing that Apollo usually won, for he was far from being a “good loser”. His opponents were often punished for winning. He literally took the skin off a satyr named Marsyus who had the audacity to beat him in a music competition.
But usually his punishments were moderate, and sometimes they even revealed a sense of humor. When King Midas voted for his competitor in a musical competition, Apollo gave him the ears of a jackass. The embarrassed king had to wear a cap over his ears for the rest of his life!
Apollo is usually depicted as a handsome, beardless youth wearing a wreath of laurel leaves and holding his bow, or a lyre, his favorite musical instrument. You can read the intriguing story of how Apollo came to play the lyre in the stories of Hermes.
Although most of the myths of Apollo feature him “in action”, he was actually known more for his achievements than his acts and was seldom embroiled in the continuous quarrels and unfolding dramas that constituted life on Mount Olympus. Somewhat detached from the others, Apollo was often “away” when things were happening, of simply uninvolved.
Perhaps he did “learn his lesson” as Zeus had hoped, although it took a second exile before he got the message. After he returned from his first exile, Apollo took part in a plot by the Olympians, led by Poseidon, to overthrow Zeus’ reign as their ruler. All the gods and goddesses agreed that something had to change, that Zeus was proving to be too arrogant and heavy-handed. The attempted coup failed, but Zeus did try to do better from then on and was quite lenient in punishing all of them.
Poseidon and Apollo were both sentenced to one year of manual labor, to be served on earth helping build the walls around Troy while disguised as ordinary mortals. They served their sentences without complaint, but when the King of Troy refused to honor his contract and pay them for their work, the angry Poseidon sent a horrible sea monster and Apollo caused a plague to rain down on the city of Troy. Soon the bodies of the dead and dying were stacked as high as the great wall around the city. The king relented and paid his debt.
-Just as he could summon a plague, Apollo was also called upon to prevent and cure all manner of illness for he was a healer of great knowledge and skill. Apollo was the favorite son of Zeus. Ascelpius is the son of Apollo and was trained in the healing arts. Ascelpius became a famous physician and was known as the
“Father of Modern Medicine”. Ascelpius was so advanced in his skills that he once restored life to one of his dead patients, Zeus had to kill him cause the Fates were the only one allowed to determine whether someone lived or died.
-Apollo's most important role was that of Helios, the greek god of sun. He drives his golden chariot to pull the sun across the sky every day.