The epitome of youth and beauty, source of life and healing, patron of the civilized arts, and as bright and powerful as the sun itself, Phoebus Apollo was, arguably, the most loved of all the Greek gods. Son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother to Artemis, Apollo was born on the island of Delos (in Hesiod’s account clutching a golden sword). At... [continue reading]
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Marble statue (severe style) of Apollo (c. 460 BCE) from the west pediment of the temple of Zeus, Olympia (Olympia Archaeological Museum).
National Archaeological Museum, Athens, 215. 330-20 BCE. This relief slab is one of four that made up the revetment of a pedestal (only three survive), and was found at Mantineia, Arcadia. The pedestal either acted as a base for a statue group of the Delian trinity (Leto, Apollo, and Artemis) or as an altar. On this relief the musical agon between Apollo... [continue reading]
A fresco of Apollo playing the kithara, from a building in the Forum of Rome. Augustan period. (Museum of the Forum Romanum, Rome)
published on 16 December 2012
A kylix depicting the god Apollo pouring a libation and holding an early version of the lyre (chelys) which was made from the shell of a tortoise. The bird may represent the crow which announced the marriage of the nymph Aigle-Korone, the daughter of King Phlegyas. Provenance: Delphi, 480-470 BCE, artist unknown. (Delphi Archaeological Museum).
Detail of Apollo from NAM, Athens, 215. He is seated on a tree stump, wearing chlamys and chiton, and sandals. In his left hand he rests his seven string lyre (the stings would have been painted; the number of tuning pegs gives their frequency.)
The Belvedere Apollo statue considered to be a 2nd century CE copy of a bronze statue of the 4th century BCE by Leochares. The god would have once held a bow in his left hand. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
Delos is a Greek island in the Cyclades archipelago which was both an influential political force and, with its sanctuary to the god Apollo, an important religious centre in the Archaic and Classical periods. The island was also a major commercial and trading centre in the 2nd and 1st centuries CE. Delos in Mythology Delos, measuring a mere 3 km²... [continue reading]
published on 18 October 2012
A lion sculpture in marble from the island of Delos in the Greek Cyclades, 7th century BCE (this is a replica as the originals are now in the museum of Delos). Orignally nine or even as many as 16 lions lined an avenue in the sanctuary complex dedicated to Apollo.
Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity... [continue reading]
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, worshipped by Hesiod’s contemporaries: (ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin... [continue reading]