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Greek Name: Apollo

Roman Name: Apollo

Role in Mythology : God of prophecy, medicine, and archery (late Greek/Roman mythology: God of the sun)


The Apollo Belvedere, a marble copy of a Greek bronze from the 4th century bc, is the most important surviving representation of the god Apollo. The statue is in the Vatican’s collection in Rome.


Apollo (mythology), in Greek mythology, son of the god Zeus and Leto, daughter of a Titan. He also bore the epithets “Delian” from Delos, the island of his birth, and “Pythian,” from his killing of the Python, the fabled serpent that guarded a shrine on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The functions of the Greek sun god Helios were transferred to Apollo, in his identity as Phoebus. In Homeric legend Apollo was primarily a god of prophecy. His most important oracle was at Delphi, the site of his victory over the Python. He sometimes gave the gift of prophecy to mortals whom he loved, such as the Trojan princess Cassandra.

Apollo was a gifted musician who delighted the gods with his performance on the lyre. He was also a master archer and a fleet-footed athlete, credited with having been the first victor in the ancient Olympic Games. His twin sister, Artemis, was the guardian of young women, and Apollo was the special protector of young men. He was also the god of agriculture and cattle and of light and truth. He taught humans the art of healing (see Asclepius).

Some tales depict Apollo as stern or cruel. According to Homer's Iliad, Apollo answered the prayers of the priest Chryses to obtain the release of his daughter from the Greek general Agamemnon by shooting fiery, pestilential arrows into the Greek army. He also abducted and ravished the young Athenian princess Creusa and abandoned her and the child born to them. Perhaps because of his beauty, Apollo was represented in ancient art more frequently than any other deity.










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