I think it’s high time we return to our Greek god series here on Immortal Monday. Wouldn’t you agree?
When you think of the god Apollo, do visions of the sun god come to mind? Did you know Apollo wasn’t always known for the sun, but for prophecy, music and healing? That’s right, healing. A little something that got his descendants in trouble. But we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Son of Zeus, brother to Artemis, he proved his strength at a very young age when he fought valiantly to protect his mother, Leto, against Hera’s wrath. You may recall Hera’s vengeance streak when it came to Zeus’ indiscretions. Such was the case when Hera discovered Leto was carrying Zeus’ children.
Trying to prevent the birth of Apollo and Artemis, Hera banished Leto to wander during the late stages of her pregnancy. Thankfully, she found refuge on the newly created floating island of Delos, where she gave birth to Apollo’s sister, Artemis. Apollo was born a day later with Artemis’ help.
Where did the fight come in, you ask? Well, on day four of Apollo’s new life, Hera set forth the mighty Python to destroy Leto. Eager to protect his mother, Apollo took on the mighty beast and slew it. But the Python was a child of Gaia; therefore, Apollo would be punished for his actions.
Raised by their mother on the island of Delos, Artemis and Apollo grew to be smart and good gods, that were well adored by the people. The gods of Olympus, seeing this, eventually invited them to join them, and they accepted.
Like his father, he was a lover of women – and of men. He had loved a youth by the name of Cyparissus, a descendant of Heracles. As a show of his affection Apollo gifted the young lad with a sacred deer who would become tame in Cyparissus’ possession. But one day, Cyparissus accidentally killed the deer while practicing with his javelin. The boy was overcome with grief and asked Apollo to allow his tears to fall for all eternity. Touched and apprehensive of the boy’s wishes, Apollo transformed Cyparissus into a cypress tree. It became the symbol of sorrow and its sap, along the trunk, formed droplets in the shape of tears.
In his pursuit of women, there is no other more famous than his desire for Daphne. If only it had been the natural way of things. Apollo had been giving Eros, the god of Love, a hard time about his ability with the bow and arrow. As payback, Eros struck him with his own bow causing him to fall for Daphne. In the same like, Eros made sure Daphne would be repulsed by Apollo. When Apollo pursued Daphne, she prayed to her father for help who answered her prayer by turning her into a laurel tree, a tree sacred to Apollo.
He would become father to many sons, through many different women. But it is the son, Asclepius, drawing upon his pride and vanity that would pull in Zeus’ ultimate punishment. Gifted with his father’s ability to heal, Asclepius would take it upon himself to resurrect the dead, thus stealing Hades’ subjects. Zeus responded by striking him down with his lightening bolt.
Infuriated, Apollo responded in an act of revenge by killing the Cyclopes, the ones responsible for creating Zeus’ lightning bolt. Zeus would have banished Apollo for the act, but Leto stepped in and pleaded Apollo’s case. Apollo was indentured to King Ademtus of Pherae for a number of years. The number of years appears to vary depending on the source you subscribe to.
Interesting facts about Apollo:
- There is no real Latin variant for his name, so the Romans also called him Apollo.
- He is responsible for turning the crow black for suspecting it of spreading lies. Prior to that it was white.
- He is known as the beardless young man.
- As a sun god he is sometimes called Sol, the Latin word for sun.
- He is responsible for bringing down Achilles by guiding Paris’ arrow straight into Achilles’ heel.
Like most all of the gods we’ve explored, he exhibited very human emotions and flaws. It’s not easy being in such a highly respected position of responsibility. Would you want to be in a position such as his where you were held to greater accountability and obligation?
For a fun and fascinating look at Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi, along with the a little history lesson on the side, hop on over here. The pictures are AMAZING!
*images via Wikipedia.org > click on image for credit
UPDATE : As of this morning, Thor has arrived safely in Canada.
Reminders: It’s never too late to jump on the Thor Tour. All you need to do is drop me a line. He seems to be taking the slow boat from the UK to Canada, but we hope to hear from him REAL soon!
Also, this blog will be relocating to a self-hosted site at some point at the end of October, beginning of November. I hope you’ll follow us to the new digs. My fabulous designer, Laird Sapir, and I have some pretty amazing ideas (I think) and I hope you’ll enjoy what we create there.
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