Pan the Greek God

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Pan, the noisy goat-footed god of the Greeks, looks after shepherds and woods, is a capable musician, and invented the instrument named after him, panpipes. He leads the nymphs in dances. He stirs up panic. He is worshiped in Arcadia and is associated with sexuality.



The family of Origin:

There are various versions of the birth of Pan. In one, his parents are Zeus and Hybris. In another, the most common version, his father is Hermes; his mother, a nymph. In another version of his birth, Pan's parents are Penelope, wife of Odysseus and her mate, Hermes or, possibly, Apollo. In the bucolic Greek poet of the third century B.C. Theocritus, Odysseus is his father.

Pan was born in Arcadia.

Roman Equivalent:

The Roman name for Pan is Faunus.


The attributes or symbols associated with Pan are woods, pastures, and the syrinx -- a flute. He is depicted with goat's feet and two horns and wearing a lynx-pelt. In the Pan Painter's vase, a goat-headed and tailed young Pan pursues a youth.

The death of Pan:

In his, Moralia Plutarch reports a rumor about the death of Pan, who as a god, couldn't die, at least in principle.


Ancient sources for Pan include Apollodorus, Cicero, Euripides, Herodotus, Hyginus, Nonnius, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Statius, and Theocritus.

Timothy Gantz' Early Greek Myths itemizes many details about the Pan traditions.