Information on the Olympian God Apollo

Most people know of Apollo only as a sun god, but he's much more. Apollo, sometimes called Phoebus with or without Apollo, is a Greek and Roman god with many, and sometimes conflicting attributes. He is a patron of intellectual pursuits, the arts, and prophesy. He leads the Muses, for which reason he is called Apollo Musagetes. Apollo is sometimes called Apollo Smitheus. It is thought that this refers to a connection between Apollo and mice, which makes sense since Apollo shoots plague arrows to punish disrespectful humans.

There is much to say about Apollo. If he's unfamiliar, start with the glossary entry on Apollo.

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Apollo - Who Is Apollo?

Statue of Apollo, Pompeii, Italy
Valery Rizzo/ Stockbyte/ Getty Images

This is a basic glossary entry on Apollo.

Apollo is thought to inspire the priestess of Delphi to pronounce oracles. Apollo is associated with the laurel, which is used in certain games to crown the victor. He is a god of music, prophecy, and later, the sun.

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Apollo - Profile of Apollo

Apollo at Delphi. Clipart.com

This profile is the main page on this site on the Greek god Apollo. In includes the myths involving Apollo, his mates, attributes, his connection with the sun and the laurel wreath, sources on Apollo, and some important modern cultural uses of Apollo's name.

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Apollo Picture Gallery

Apollo. Clipart.com

, goddesses, and mortals, and photos of sculptures. Apollo's depiction changes somewhat over time.

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Apollo's Mates

Ajax snatching Cassandra from the Palladium. Attic black-figure Kylix, c. 550 B.C.
Ajax snatching Cassandra from the Palladium. Attic black-figure Kylix, c. 550 B.C. Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich, Germany. Public Domain. Courtesy of Bibi Saint-Pol at Wikipedia.

The men and women with whom Apollo mated, and their children. Apollo didn't have as many affairs as his father. Not all of his liaisons produced children -- even those with women. His most famous offspring was Asclepius.

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Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo

Not really by "Homer", this hymn to Apollo tells the charming story of how Leto talked Delos into permitting her to rest long enough to give birth to her great son Apollo.

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Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo

Another hymn, not really written by "Homer," that tells the story of how Apollo came to be connected with the oracle. There is a scene that describes how the Olympians and their families and attendants delighted in Apollo's singing and music. It then describes the quest of Apollo for a place to locate his shrine and oracle.

Also see Pythia.

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Homeric Hymn to the Muses and Apollo

This short hymn to the Muses and Apollo explains that the Muses and Apollo are both necessary for music.

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Ovid's Apollo and Daphne

Apollo and Daphne
Apollo and Daphne. Clipart.com

In his Metamorphoses, Ovid tells the story of love affairs like this one that go wrong, resulting in the transformation of a human into (in this case) a tree.

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Apollo and Daphne

retelling of the story of Apollo and Daphne.

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What's Love Got to Do With It?

Sacred to Apollo, the Pythian Games were almost as important to the Greeks as the Olympics and, as is appropriate for a religious festival in honor of Apollo, the laurel is its symbol.

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Apollo and Hyacinth

Apollo and Hyacinthus
Apollo and Hyacinthus. Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thomas Bulfinch retells the story of the love affair between Apollo and Hyacinth(us). The pair were playing a game with a pointed missile Bulfinch calls a quoit. It accidentally struck Hyacinth, possibly because of the mischievous West Wind. When he died, Apollo made the flower called hyacinth grow from his blood.

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Sun Gods and Goddesses

Apollo is usually thought of today as a sun god. Here is a list of other sun gods and goddesses from mythology.

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Hermes - A Thief, Inventor, and Messenger God

Mercury, by Hendrick Goltzius, 1611 (Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem).
Mercury, by Hendrick Goltzius, 1611 (Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem). Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Zeus fathered both Hermes (the Roman Mercury)and Apollo. When Hermes was still a baby and Apollo grown, Hermes started rustling Apollo's cattle. Apollo knew Hermes was responsible. Zeus helped smooth out the ruffled family feathers. Later, Apollo and Hermes made various exchanges of property so that although Apollo was the god of music, he tended to play instruments Hermes had invented.

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Asclepius - Healing God and Son of Apollo
Asclepius - Healing God and Son of Apollo. CC Flickr User flypegassus

Apollo's most famous son was the healer Asclepius, but when Asclepius raised people from the dead, Zeus killed him. Apollo was furious and got revenge, but he had to pay for it with a term on Earth as herdsman for King Admetus.

Also see Alcestis

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Titles of Apollo

This list of titles of Apollo gives an idea of the diversity of Apollo's powers and spheres of influence.

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Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Apollo." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, thoughtco.com/apollo-117071. Gill, N.S. (2021, September 7). Apollo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/apollo-117071 Gill, N.S. "Apollo." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/apollo-117071 (accessed May 29, 2023).