Both the ancient Greeks and the Romans favor Apollo, the Sun God. He is known as Apulu in Greek (Etruscan) mythology and as Apollo in Roman mythology. He is beauty personified. He is not only the Sun God but also known as the god of beauty, music, arts, medicine and poetry. Sculptures and paintings of Apollo depict him as a handsome young man holding lyre and the bow and arrow. His symbol is an egg or the symbols of Delphi’s oracle (tripod or omphalos).
The Greek god Zeus is the father of Apollo and Leto, the nymph is the mother. Her husband’s relation with a nymph outraged Hera, the rightful wife of Zeus. She persuaded the Mother Earth to refuse Leto to deliver her child anywhere on the surface of the earth. However, island of Delos provided her the refuge and here she delivered Apollo and Artemis, his twin sister. Goddess Themis raised Apollo. It is said she fed him with the scared nectar of the gods, Ambrosia.
Apollo – The Sun God
Apollo is associated with beauty and he is portrayed as a young man with curly hair in color of gold. He symbolizes the Sun and light. It is believed he crosses the sky in his chariot everyday and he carries his lyre.
Apollo was an easy prey to the charms of nymphs. This was a weakness that he shared with his father Zeus.
Apollo, the Sun God was never married, though he had many encounters with nymphs. It is believed he presented his beloved nymph Cassandra with the gift of prophecy as a token of his love. Nymph Daphne was terrified of him and fled from his embrace. Later on she was turned into a laurel tree. Nymph Calliope bore him a child. This child was known as Orpheus.
Orpheus had a wonder voice that could enchant the birds, animals and the human beings. Asklepios, another offspring of Apollo, was the God of Healing.
Apollo, the Sun God and Pan
This is a story of a musical contest between Apollo and Pan, the God of the Woods. Tmolus, the God of River was the judge. Both Apollo and Pan played their respective instruments and Tmolus declared Apollo as the winner.
King Midas, one of the spectators of this show, was not pleased with the judgment and voiced his opinion aloud. Apollo, the Sun God punished the king by turning one of his ears to that of an ass. The legend says after this incident King Midas started wearing a Phrygian cap.
Temple of Apollo, the Sun God
Apollo, the Sun God has a temple in the mountains of Parnassos in Delphi. The architecture of this temple belongs to the Doric era and dates back to the 4th century BC. The historical evidences also show that the renowned architects Trophionions and Agamedes built a temple of Apollo around the 7th century BC. The island of Delos is the sacred place to Apollo but there are no temples in his name.
The Greek and Roman poets and musicians patronize Apollo, the Sun God. Physicians hold him in high esteem. The Roman emperor Constantine was known for offering prayers and sacrifices to Apollo, the Sun God.