Apollo is More Than Just the God of the Sun

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Though Apollo is most often referred to as the god of the sun in Ancient Greek mythology, he’s actually a lot more than that. In some of the older myths, a distinction between Apollo and Helios, who is typically credited with pulling the sun across the sky, isn’t made, leading some scholars to believe that they were, in fact, the same god. Besides that, he is also associated with prophecy, healing, music, art, poetry, and much more. He was also a capable archer. In his common depictions, he was always shown as a handsome, youthful man without a beard.

Son of Zeus and Leto

Though Zeus was married to the goddess, Hera, he also had many lovers. Apollo was the son of Zeus and one of his lovers, Leto, who was the Titan goddess of motherhood. If you recall, the Titans came before the Olympian gods. Zeus was relentless in his seduction of her. She eventually succumbed and became pregnant with Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis.

Difficulty from Hera

Apollo’s birth was not an easy one because Leto had to deal with the Hera’s wrath. Though she couldn’t stop Zeus from having lovers, she had the power to make their lives miserable. She did everything she could to make Leto’s pregnancy and childbirth a difficult one. When it was time to give birth, Hera made it impossible for her to find a place that was acceptable. Acknowledging that she couldn’t give birth as a human, Zeus turned her into a quail so that she could have her children. He then changed her back into human form.

Handsome and Gifted

Apollo was always depicted as being both handsome and gifted. He had many love interests which included goddesses like Hestia, whom he courted without success, several of the muses, nymphs, and several mortals. His gifts include music, archery, poetry, healing and art. Many of his stories feature him using some, or all, of these gifts. He was also associated with the Oracle of Delphi who provided the perfect compliment to his gift of prophecy.

Leto and Niobe

Leto had some trouble with the mortal Queen Niobe of Thebis, who boasted that she was better than Leto because she had more children. Artemis and Apollo were very protective of their mother and rushed to her aid to punish Niobe for her boast. Apollo killed all of Niobe’s sons and Artemis killed the daughters. In her grief, she fled to Mount Sipylus and wept for her children. To end her torment, Zeus turned her to stone. Her statue continued to weep, however, long after she was frozen.

Apollo’s Appearance

Apollo was considered to be the most handsome of all the gods. He was always depicted as having long, golden hair – the same color as the sun. He was tall and had plenty of muscles. Even though he was depicted as being fairly calm, he had a temper, just like his father. As an example, his temper caused him to kill Niobe’s male children. He was usually associated with the raven, lyre, bow, swan, and the laurel tree. Though he had many roles, one of his most important was to bring the sun across the sky. However, he was more than just the sun god – he had other roles, too.

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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