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Ancient Greek and Roman Myths Notes


Apollo – a god of the second generation of Olympians, son of Zeus and Leto, twin brother of the goddess Artemis (Diana). There are many legends connected with Apollo. Apollo is considered to be the god of light, the patron of music and fine arts. In the retinue of Apollo are Muses and Graces.
See: François Boucher. Apollo Reveals his Divinity to the Shepherdess Issé.
Karl Brulloff Temple of Apollo in Phigalia.
Eugène Delacroix Apollo Slays Python.
Lorenzo Lotto Sleeping Apollo, Muses and Fama.
Nicolas Poussin. Apollo and Muses. Apollo and Daphne
A legend about Apollo and Marsyas, the Satyr, who found a flute, which had been thrown away by Athena. She had tried to play it but, but realizing how ugly she looked with protruded mouth, had immediately given it up. When Marsyas found that he could play nice music with the flute he challenged Apollo and claimed to make sweeter music with his flute than Apollo with his lyre. Marsyas was the loser and Apollo first hanged him from a pine tree and then flayed him.
See: Agnolo Bronzino. Apollo and Marsyas.
Pietro Perugino. Apollo and Marsyas.
Raphael Apollo and Marsyas;
Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto. Contest Between Apollo and Marsyas.
Titian The Flaying of Marsyas.
A legend about Hyacinthus tells: Hyacinthus was so beautiful that Apollo fell in love with him, but one day while they were practicing throwing discus, Apollo’s discus changed its course and hit Hyacinthus on the head, killing him at once. Apollo was in grief. To commemorate his name, he transferred his friend’s blood into a flower.
Cyparissus, a beautiful youth loved by Apollo. His favorite companion was a sacred stag, which he had tamed. Once Cyparissus inadvertently killed the stag with his javelin. Full of grief he asked the gods for death. The gods turned him into a cypress, the tree of sadness.
See:  Alexander Ivanov Apollo, Hyacinthus and Cyparissus Singing and Playing Music.
Apollo and Phaeton. Phaeton was the son of Helios, the god of the Sun, who every morning started his travel across the sky carrying the Sun in his chariot. Helios was later associated with Apollo. Phaeton’s mother, who kept identity of his father in secret, until the boy reached adolescence, brought him up. Phaeton then came to his father, who was very glad to see him. In his joy Apollo/Helios granted the son one wish. Phaeton wanted to go across the sky in father’s chariot. Apollo/Helios tried to dissuade his son, but the youth stubbornly insisted. At last Apollo/Helios agreed. At first everything went smoothly, Phaeton managed the horses. But then he was scared of the height, the monsters of Zodiac frightened him, he lost the management and lost the route. The chariot dropped too low and the Sun nearly burnt the Earth. To save it, Zeus struck the boy with a thunderbolt. His body felt into river Eridanus. Phaeton’s sisters, the Heliades, wept over him so much, that at the mercy of gods they were turned into poplars.
Nicolas Poussin. Helios and Phaeton with Saturn and the Four Seasons.

Ancient Greek and Roman Myths Index

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