It has almost been a year since I last posted about the juicy gossips of the ancient Greek Gods, their passions and adventures. As the title indicates, we will not focus on Zeus’ pants today but on Apollo’s adventures and the grace of his so-called perfection.
Apollo (Απόλλων) was not one of the first Olympic God and the mortals’ perspective of him was close to that of the ideal god, the one with the least human imperfections than the rest of the Gods. Besides, Apollo was what every Greek wished to be; Handsome, but with a manly stature but likeable all the while, strong, brave, artful, as well as prudent, equally experiences with science, beauty, pleasures and the arts, and just to his friendships, barely tender to his loved ones and so secluded to his personal freedom that he could never bare the marital burden.
He was the son of Zeus and Lito (Λητώ) (insert Zeus’ pants comment here) and was said to be born in the island of Dilos (Δήλος), which was protected by Poseidon as it was covered with waves and hidden from sunlight. Apollo’s mother gave birth to him there because of Hera’s curse, which was that the mortal mother not give birth but to a place with no sunlight. How ironic that Apollo is also the God of light, of sun and of knowledge though he was born under the waves and hidden from the sun and its warmth.
To the point now, his love adventures and passions of pleasure.
Apollo was famous for his adventures with both Goddesses as well as mortals, all great figures of beauty. To begin with, the Goddess Estia (Εστία) refused his passions and swore to Zeus eternal virginity. There are myths that Apollo even went after his twin sister, Artemis, and that the attack was committed next to her own temple in Dilos (insert Lannister joke here). Then there was the muse Kalliopi (Καλλιόπη) and the list goes on and on….
The one I liked is that of Daphne, who rejected all men’s proposals and was very free-spirited in general. Leucippus though, driven by his pure love for the nymph let his hair grow long, wore women’s garments and earned her friendship. However, Apollo had already set his eyes on the woman so he tried to reveal Leucippus secret and draw him away from her. Soon, the God persuaded the woman to invite all her friends to go for a swim at the river Lathona. Leucippus, unable to explain his refusal to the invitation was forced to reveal himself and his sex. Of course, they instantly killed him. His rival now gone, Apollo chased after Daphne who ran to save herself. Once Apollo caught up to her and embraced her, the nymph prayed and begged her mother, Gaia, to help her. The earth opened up and swallowed Daphne whole. In that same spot Apollo watched as a plant quickly grew and that was laurel or in Greek, daphne (Δάφνη).
Another good story is that of mortal Marpessa (Μάρπησσα), to whom Apollo actually proposed believing the feeling of love to be mutual. However, witty Marpessa ad another one on the side, Idas (Ίδας), with whom she eloped on a flying horse. Apollo was enraged and chased after them. Thank Zeus, the father of the Gods actually intervened and ordered Marpessa choose one. The woman worried that Apollo as an immortal and ageless would abandon her once she got older, chose Idas who was mortal. The god respected her choice and walked away. – May I just congratulate this beautiful immortal bachelor for at least knowing when to give up instead of cursing and killing mortals? Truly the most different of the rest of the Gods. May I also point out how wise Marpessa was? I mean, she really thought ahead and wasn’t driven by beauty, power or passions.
Well done to all of you, guys!
Modern Greeks approve!
Source: Ρίσπεν Ζ., Ελληνική Μυθολογία, Εκδόσεις Τριήρης, Τόμος 1ος, σ.127-142