Apollo was one of the 12 major Greek deities, and was considered the Greek ideal
of moderation, which was the "golden mean". He was the god of the hunt, healing, light,
music, and truth, and was well respected by the Greeks. Apollo represents youthful
masculinity and he epitomizes the transition between adolescence and manhood in Greek
society. Another important role played by Apollo in Greek mythology is that he is the
leader of the Muses, who were the daughters of Zeus. Zeus was also Apollo's father and
the king of the Greek gods. Leto was Apollo's mother, and his twin sister was Artemis,
who was also a goddess of the hunt.
Although these were all very important roles in Greek mythology, Apollo's most
important role was his daily task of harnessing his chariot with four horses and driving the
sun across the sky. Apollo was the god who spread sunlight over the entire Earth. For
this reason he was the god of light. This was the role for which Apollo gained great
respect from the Greeks and Romans.
Apollo was also well known for his role as the Greek god of music. The lyre is
one of his symbols, and he is almost always pictured with a golden lyre. Apollo was such
a wonderful musician that if his father, Zeus was angry with him, Apollo could play the
lyre for him and Zeus would no longer be angry. Apollo could make not only Zeus's anger
disappear, but he could also make the anger of anyone else disappear by playing his lyre
for them.
Apollo the hunter was also, ironically, the god of healing and pestilence. His son
was Asclepius, the god of healing. Apollo was called the Healer because he could bring
sudden death with his bow and arrows. Greeks believed that outbreaks of pestilence were
brought on by his arrows. They prayed to Apollo to stop the killing and gratefully gave
him credit for showing mercy by calling him the Healer.
The shrine of Apollo is located at Delphi, which was considered by Greeks to be
the center of the world. This shrine at Delphi was acquired by Apollo after he swam there
in the form of a dolphin to battle Python, a fearsome female serpent. Apollo inherited the
shrine from Python after he was victorious in their battle. Thereafter people came from all
over to consult the oracle at Delphi.
Apollo was a well-respected Greek god of many important roles. These roles
include being the god of light, healing, music, and the hunt. Apollo aquires many of his
symbols from myths that were told by the Greeks. These are the golden lyre, the dolphin,
the laurel tree, and the bow and arrow. These are all important to the character of Apollo,
who is one of the most important deities in Greek mythology.