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Apollo or Apollon
Roman equivalent Apollo

Apollon or Apollo was a god in Greek mythology, and one of the Twelve Olympians. He was the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin brother of Artemis. He lived in Greece. He was the god of healing and medicine, and of music and poetry. He was the leader of the Muses. He also was a god of prophecy, and his Oracle at Delphi was very important. He also was the god of justice. During the 5th century BC, Apollo became also known as the god of the sun, becoming one with the god Helios, and getting the name Phoebus. He is shown as a young man, wearing a laurel wreath and playing the kithara (lyre). It was known as his symbol. His other symbols included the raven. Some times he is known as the god of fire but this clashes with Vulcan or Hephaestus.

Myths about Apollo

Apollo was one of the Twelve Olympians, the 12 most important gods in Greek mythology. Because of this, there are many myths about him:

The Birth of Apollo

Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and the goddess Leto. When Leto became pregnant, Zeus already had a wife, the queen of the gods Hera. Hera was angry that Zeus was having children with Leto, and cursed Leto so that she could not ever give birth to her kids anywhere on the earth where the sun shone. Hera then sent a dragon called Python to eat her. Python chased Leto to the edge of the sea, where Leto swam to the island of Delos. Python could not swim, however, and had to leave her alone. The island of Delos was at that time just a big rock floating on the sea, not really an island yet, so it wasn't "on the earth". So Leto climbed under the shade of a palm tree and gave birth to her daughter Artemis, and then her son Apollo.

Apollo and Delphi

When Apollo grew up, he went to his father Zeus and asked for a golden bow with arrows as bright and sharp as the sunshine. Then he went looking for a place to build his temple. He came to a spring that belonged to a nymph called Telephusa and tried to build his temple there, but Telephusa suggested he build his temple at Delphi instead, since there was already a shrine there to Themis, the goddess of telling the future. Apollo went to Delphi, but found out it was taken over by Python, the dragon who had tried to eat his mother. He killed the Python with a hundred arrows and claimed Delphi as his own temple. He got two sailors to be his priests and then gave a girl the power of telling the future. The girl became his priestess, or oracle. The little god Eros, the son of the love-goddess Aphrodite, had watched Apollo kill Python and worshiped Apollo as his idol. Apollo, however, was annoyed by Eros and insulted him. Eros got angry and shot Apollo with his magic arrow, making him fall in love with a nymph named Daphne. Daphne didn't love Apollo and shunned him. Apollo chased her and she turned herself into a laurel tree to escape him. Apollo still loved her and made the laurel one of his symbols.

Apollo and Hermes

Apollo looked after the cattle of the sun-god Helios while Helios was driving the sun through the sky. While Apollo was chasing Daphne, the mischievous baby god Hermes stole the cattle and confused Apollo by making the cattle walk backwards as they left their pen. When Apollo went looking for them, it looked like they had walked into the pen instead of out. Hermes also told a nearby man that he would make him rich if he told no one about what he saw Hermes do. The man, Battos, told Apollo anyway, and was later turned into a stone by Hermes as punishment. Apollo took Hermes in front of all the gods to be judged. Hermes acted innocent, though, and finally convinced Apollo to forgive him by giving him the lyre. Apollo loved this lyre so much that he not only let Hermes keep the cattle, but also gave him the caduceus, a magic wand that could heal wounds and cause sleep. Hermes tried the caduceus out on two dying snakes, who came back to life and curled around the wand for the rest of eternity. Apollo, meanwhile, used his lyre to become the god of music and became the leader of the Mousai, the nine goddesses of the arts.


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