Art and culture from Ancient Persia, £20.00
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The Greek god Apollo
The god Apollo was particularly associated with youth, prophecy, archery, healing, music and the sun.
Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus and Leto. Jealous Hera wanted to prevent any place on earth from giving the pregnant Leto sanctuary, but Poseidon anchored the floating island of Delos and the children were born.
At an early age Apollo travelled to Delphi, and there killed a huge serpent. In some versions of the story this snake is called Python and had guarded the ancient Delphic oracle. Apollo took over the oracle, and was well-known as the god of prophecy. Seers widely claimed to have learned their art from him.
Apollo was god of music, playing the lyre, and is often shown leading the Muses in song. While his arrows could bring pestilence and sudden death, he was also a healer, and one of his most famous sons was the divine physician Asklepios. He had other offspring from various affairs, but his loves were often rather unsuccessful. Cassandra, Daphne, Marpessa and Sinope all rejected his advances, while his two male loves, Hyakinthos and Cyparissos, were transformed into the flower (hyacinth) and the tree (cypress) that bear their names.
Apollo appears in art as a youthful, sometimes even rather feminine, figure, beardless, with long, flowing locks of hair. He is often portrayed either with his bow and arrows or with his lyre.