The Wives, Mates, and Children of the Greek God Apollo

The statue of Apollo at his temple in Pompeii

Photography by Jeremy Villasis. Philippines. / Getty Images

Apollo is the only principal god who has the same name in Greek and Roman mythology. He is portrayed as a blend of physical superiority and moral virtue and rules over a long list of objects and pursuits, ranging from the sun and light, music and poetry, and healing and plagues to prophecy and knowledge, order and beauty, and archery and agriculture. He would seem to be busy, but he has had time to mate or attempt to mate with a long list of women and some men, siring many children along the way, mostly males.

Apollo's Women

  • Marpessa: daughter of Euenos. Their offspring was Kleopatra, wife of Meleager, although her father may have been Idas.
  • Chione: daughter of Daedalion. Their son was Philammon, sometimes said to be the son of Philonis.
  • Koronis: daughter of Azan
  • Daphne: daughter of Gaia
  • Arsinoe: daughter of Leukippos. Their son was Asklepios (Asclepius).
  • Kassandra (Cassandra)
  • Kyrene: Their son was Aristaios
  • Melia: an Oceanid. Their child was Teneros.
  • Eudne: daughter of Poseidon. Their son was Iamos.
  • Thero: daughter of Phylas. Their child was Chairon
  • Psamathe: daughter of Krotopos. Their son, Linos, was killed by dogs.
  • Philonis: daughter of Deion. Their son, Philammon, was the first man to train choruses of young women, though sometimes his mother is given as Chione.
  • Chrysothemis: Their child, Parthenos, was Apollo's only daughter, who became the constellation Virgo after an early death.

Apollo's Men

The Ones Who Got Away

Apollo's most famous love was Daphne, a nymph who was vowed to Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and chastity, that she would remain eternally innocent. But Apollo fell for her and stalked her until Daphne could take it no more. She asked her father, the river god Peneus, to transform her into something else, and he made her a laurel tree. Apollo swore he would love her forever and from that day he has worn a laurel wreath as a token of his love.

In an attempt to seduce the Trojan princess Cassandra, Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy, but she eventually bailed out. Apollo wasn’t allowed to recall his gift, but he found a way to spoil it: He took away her powers of persuasion. So, even though her prophecies are always right, nobody believes her.

More About Apollo

The meaning of the name Apollo is debated. Candidates for translations include "destroyer,” “redemptory,” “purifier,” “assembler,” and “stony.” Most scholars link his name to the Greek word apella, meaning “a sheepfold” and suggesting that Apollo might originally have been merely a protector of flocks and herds instead of the many-faceted god he became.

Apollo is the son of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and Leto, one of Zeus' many lovers. She incurred the wrath of Hera, Zeus' wife, who sent the dragon Python after her rival. Apollo is considered the most perfectly developed male. Beardless and athletically built, he is often depicted with the laurel crown on his head and either a bow and arrow or a lyre in his hands.

Resources and Further Reading

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Gill, N.S. "The Wives, Mates, and Children of the Greek God Apollo." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Gill, N.S. (2020, August 27). The Wives, Mates, and Children of the Greek God Apollo. Retrieved from Gill, N.S. "The Wives, Mates, and Children of the Greek God Apollo." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 1, 2023).