of the Arts, the gift of prophecy and also connected with light (which in
Greek also can be translated illumination). He was born on the island Delos
by Leto, a Titan's daughter, and Zeus. The island was to be the most sacred
of islands, and ruins of many temples can still be seen there. His sister
was Artemis, the goddess of hunting and protecter of young women.
After he killed the huge snake Python in Delphi by the mountains Parnassus, the site was dedicated to him. There, the Omphalos, the navel, stood - a point believed by the ancient Greeks to be the centre of the earth. His oracle there was a place many people, commonmen and rulers, came to consult the priestess, Pythia, about their future.
In Delphi games were held in Apollo's honour, originally every eight years but later every four. The Pythian games were both athletic and musical.
In many ways, Apollo personified the perfect man according to ancient Greek standards: he would entertain the other gods by playing the lyre, and he was also a brilliant archer and runner,
There are several stories about Apollo as a man desperately in love, avenging the women who will not return his feelings: Cassandra was cursed to never be believed when she saw terrible things in the future, Daphne had to become a tree to escape him and he abandoned princess Creusa of Athens and their child.
Apollo also loved men. In the story of the young man Hyacinthos Apollo accidentily kills his young lover with a discus, and is then transformed into the flower with the same name, where the letters AI AI can be read as the gods lament.
But Apollo was also the sender of the plague. His wrath punished the Greeks when he fired his arrows of plague upon the Greek camp at the Trojan war. As a healer, he teaches the people the importance of cleanliness, and he is the father of Asclepios, the god of medicine.
Apollo can easily be considered one of the most important gods in Greek mythology. Seven was Apollos holy number, and he was connected to the calendar. The tripod was one of his symbols, and he was often referred to as Phoibos = the cleanser. Apollo was also connected to the dolphin.
Apollo also had many epithets:
Abaeus, Acesius, Acraephius, Acreitas, Actiacus, Actius, Aegileus, Aegletes, Aegyptaeus, Agraeus, Agyieus, Alexicacus, Amazonius, Amyclaeus, Aphetaeus, Archegetes, Boedromius, Calydneus, Carinus, Carneius, Clarius, Coropaeus, Corythus, Cynthius, Cyparissius, Daphnephorus, Decatephorus, Deiradiotes, Delius, Delphinius, Dionysodotus, Epibaterius, Epicurius, Erethimus, Eutresites, Galaxius, Hyperteleates, Ismenus, Ixius, Laphrius, Larissaeus, Latous, Leucadius, Loemius, Lyceius, Lycoreus, Maleates, Malloeis, Moiragetes, Nomius, Oncaeatus, Pagaseus, Parnopius, Parrhasius, Patrous, Prostateirus, Ptous, Pythaeus, Pythius, Salganeus, Selinuntius, Sitalcus, Smintheus, Spodius, Tarrhaeus, Tegyreius, Tempeites, Teneates, Thearius, Theoxenius, Thermius, Thymbaeus, Zosterius