Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | gods | olympians | Apollo

Apollo at a Glance

name | Apollo

role | god of the arts, archery, and divination

symbols | bow, lyre, laurel

Apollo in Greek Mythology

Apollo : Page 1, 2, 3

Apollo is in many respects the paradigm of a Greek god. He represents order, harmony, and civilization in a way that most other Olympian deities cannot quite equal. One only has to compare him with Dionysos to understand how Apollo is depicted as a bright, rational counterpart to the chaotic and frenzied god of wine and women. Indeed, Apollo is most often associated with the cultivated arts of music and medicine, and his role as the leader of the Muses establishes him as a patron of intellectual pursuits.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in art, images of Apollo represented the height of male attractiveness - indeed, for years, Archaic statues of youths were commonly referred to as "Apollo", later to be replaced the more accurate term "kouros" (young man). However, as with most Greek deities, Apollo has characteristics that are myriad and diverse, so we should proceed to an exploration of this important god.

Birth of Apollo

According to the Greek poet Hesiod (Theogony, 918-20), Apollo was the son of the Olympian Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the brother of the goddess Artemis. And the details of how Apollo and his sister were born make an intriguing story, so let us look at this legend more closely.

The myth of Apollo's birth includes another instance of the wrath of Hera. Again, the wife of the philandering Zeus discovered that her husband had impregnated yet another goddess, and this time it was the Titan Leto. In her anger, Hera would not allow Leto to bear her children (remember, she was pregnant with the twin gods Apollo and Artemis), and the land itself was afraid to provide a shelter for Leto because of the fear of Hera's notorious retribution. Finally, Leto found an island that was willing to allow her to give birth, and this island was named Delos (which means "brilliant", and, incidentally, inspired the epithet Delian) in honor of the divine site. Apollo was then cared for by Themis, who fed him nectar and ambrosia for a few days, after which time he was an adult capable of assuming the full responsibilities of a god. And this is the story of how Apollo was born in Greek mythology.

Page 2 : Legends of Apollo

Apollo in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Apollo in art, visit the Mythography gallery!

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Your altars wear flowers in spring-all the pied blossoms that the Hours bring forth when the west wind breathes dew, and in winter the sweet crocus.

- Callimachus

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend. And there is a comprehensive entry on Apollo.