Apollo: prophecy and music
Apollo and Delphi
- Apollo's birthplace was Delos
- He is connected by myth to Delphi
- Delphi was thought to be the centre of the world
- Apollo had promised to protect Delos forever as that island allowed him to be born
- At his birth, Apollo announces that he will be the voice of the gods. He will tell the will
of Zeus to humanity. Apollo travels throughout Greece to find a place for his Oracle.
He eventually finds Delphi. There, he slayed a dragon and left its corpse outside to rot.
Pythian Apollo title comes from the word for decay or rot [pyth?], in reference to the
- Once he's taken over Delphi, he sees far south. He sees a ship sailing to Palsos to Sandy
Peilos. He intercepts the ship at sea and jumps on as a giant dolphin. He conjures a wind
and lands the ship near Delphi. He orders the sailors to set up a cult in his name and
become keepers of the temple.
-Delphinus Apollo title comes from the greek word for dolphin. This also explains the
- Delphi is a religious centre for Greeks and non-Greeks (eg. Croesus of Lydia). Note that
the Homeric hymn that tells this story names a lot places from the south all the way up
to Delphi. This connects these places to the myth and help give them ownership over it.
Therefore, Apollo is important to all of these places.
Apollo in love
- Many of Apollo's love affairs fail. Shows humanity of even very powerful gods.
- Apollo and Daphne-- Daphne is the name of a plant that was said to exist because a
woman Apollo pursued was turned into a plant.
- Daphne was devoted to Artemis. She hunted and ran wild. Eros caused Apollo to fall
in love with her and Eros also causes her to reject his advances. She runs away from him
and he chases her. As she's praying to her father to protect her, she is turned into a laurel
- Apollo is desirable, but his marks tend to be devotees of Artemis and, as such,
uninterested. He consistently fails when he falls in love. This failure in the realm of
emotion makes him representative of rationality.
Apollo and music
Homeric Hymn 25- To the Muses and Apollo- depicts Apollo and the Muses as lovers
and creators of music.
-Marsyas found a double flute, discarded by Athena in a moment of vanity. She felt it
made her cheeks puff out. He practised and eventually thought he became more skilled
than Apollo. Apollo accepted the challenge on the condition that the winner could do
anything with the loser. Marsyas accepted and played first. Apollo turned his lyre upside
down and played it very well; Marsyas could not do the same with his flute and he lost.
Apollo punished Marsyas by flaying him alive. - Here he is behaves similarly to Artemis, who also punishes people very violently when
they are crossed.
- Apollo is the god of a lot 'good' things- prophecy, music etc. But he has a violent streak
in a similar way to Artemis.
-Apollo and Pan also had a music contest; Pan on his pipes and Apollo on his lyre. The
judge decides Apollo wins. King Midas, who ruled the area where the contest took place,
preferred Pan's performance. Apollo, in retaliation, gives him donkey's ears.
Overall- Apollo has a quality of humanity, unlike Artemis who is always violent.
Apollo is that god of rational behaviour and systemic organization of the world
- this big idea comes from all the things Apollo is supposed to have control over- the sun,
medicine, music etc.
- He is a kind of foil to Dionysus.
Apollo vs. Artemis
- Apollo can be as vengeful as Artemis
- However, where Artemis always runs away from love, Artemis tries, even though he
often fails. He has a more humane streak in him.
- symbols: petasus (broad hat), caduceus (herald's staff), winged sandals
Roles for Hermes are evident in the Homeric Hymns to Hermes
- Messenger of the gods
- God of trade/commerce- Hermes as the trickster connects with these ideas about trade
- More genreally, he can be thought of the god of travel. His hat was something travelers
wore. People travelled for trade of delivering messages etc.
Origins of Hermes
- Hermes was originally a god of rocks. He was depicted as a pile of rocks. These
piles were used to mark boundaries etc. This was odd for the Greek anthropomorphic
sensibilities. From the Archaic period onwards, this began to change.
- Hermes in Linear B tablets
- "herma"= piles of rocks (subtxt: boundary markers, landmarks).
- Development into a god of boundaries-
- respecting boundaries (marking down land ownership limits)
- crossing boundaries (good- travel OR bad- theft, trespassing)
- Crossing the boundary of death- Hermes can go to the Underworld to deliver messages
to Hades. He moves freely between the human world, Mt. Olympus and the Underworld.
- leader of souls= [psychopompos]= psychopomp - brings souls to the Underwold. Despite this, he does not encompass the grimness or darkness of
- judgement of souls= psychostasy. Hermes has been depected weighing souls.
This is usually done by the fates, but Hermes sometimes does it. He may
decides to wins a battle and lives etc.
- One step further: transition between youth and adulthood (and on one occasion, birth).
- Transition of Hermes' visual form
- From the Archaic period onward, he became more anthropomorphised.
- Herms= a marker stone with a man's bearded face on top. The face looked vaguely like
Zeus or Poseidon. These were never fully anthropomorphised. Even after Hermes was
depicted fully in art, as a younger man, the pillars (herms) stayed as they were.
- Hermes became more youthful in later literary and artistic representations. He had
become more connected with the transition of youth to adulthood.
- Herms were often set up in gymnasia, where young men trained and exercised. Thus,
Hermes came to be seen as a patron of young men.
*In the textbook, myths in general are viewed as relevant only if they're beautiful and
deep. Lectures aim to counterbalance that.
Hermes and Dionysus
- Hermes was involved in the birth of Dionysus
Dionysus: A god of "fluid force"
- Motifs- leopard print (seen on him and his followers), wildness
- Epiteths- Power in the Tree, Blossom-bringer, Fruit-bringer
- God of the power inherent in liquids- tree-sap, fruit, flowers, blood, wine/alcohol. Flows
through everything alive.
- Was worshipped through revels in the forest that led his followers mad.
Myth vs. Religion