The Ancient Library

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forma of his worship and some versions of his story imply that Apollo, like his sister Artemis, was regarded as a protector of tender game and a slayer of rapacious beasts, especially of the wolf, the enemy of flocks, and himself a symbol of the god's power, that now sends mischief, and now averts it. Apollo promotes the health and well-being of man himself. As a god of prolific power, he was invoked at weddings; and as a nurse of tender manhood and trainer of manly youth, to him (as well as the fountain-nymphs) were consecrated the first offerings of the hair of the head. In gymnasia and palcestrce he was worshipped equally with Hermes and Heracles; for he gave power of endurance in boxing, with adroitness and fleetness of foot. As a war­like god and one helpful in fight, the Spartans paid him peculiar honours in their Carneia (q.v.\ and in a measure the Athe­nians in their BocdrQmia. Another Athe­nian festival, the Mctageitnia, glorified him as the author of neighbourly union. In many places, but above all at Athens, he was worshipped as Agyieus, the god of streets and highways, whose rude symbol, a conical post with a pointed ending, stood by street-doors and in courtyards, to watch men's exit and entrance, to let in good and keep out evil, and was loaded by the inmates with gifts of honour, such as ribbons, wreaths of myrtle or bay, and the like. At sea, as well as on 1 and, Apollo is a guide and guardian, and there, especially under the name Delphlnius, taken from his friend and ally the dolphin, the symbol of the navigable sea. Under this character he was widely worshipped, for the most part with peculiar propitiatory rites, in seaports and on promontories, as that of Actium, and particularly at Athens, being also regarded as a leader of colonies. While he is Alexicdcus (averter of ills) in the widest sense, he proves his power most especially in times of sickness; for, being god of the hot season, and himself the sender of most epidemics and the dreaded plague, sweeping man swiftly away with his unerring shafts, he can also lend the most effectual aid; so that he and his son Asclepius were revered as the chief gods of healing. As a saviour from epidemics mainly, but also from other evils, the pcean (q.v.) was sung in his honour.

In a higher sense also Apollo is a healer and saviour. From an early time a strong ethical tinge was given to his purely phy­sical attributes, and the god of light became a god of mental and moral purity, and there-

fore of order, justice, and legality in human life. As such, he, on the one hand smites and spares not the insolent offender, Tityoa for instance, the Aloldae, the overweening Niobe, and the Greeks before Troy ; but, on the other hand, to the guilt-laden soul, that turns to him in penitence and supplication, he grants purification from the stain of committed crime (which was regarded as ai disease clouding the mind and crushing the heart), and so he heals the spirit, and readmits the outcast into civic life and religious fellowship. Of this he had him­self set the pattern, when, after slaying the Delphian dragon, he fled from the land, did seven years' menial service to Admetus in atonement for the murder, and when the time of penance was past had himself purified in the sacred grove of bay-trees by the Thessalian temple, and not till then did he return to Delphi and enter on his office as prophet of Zeus. Therefore he exacts from all a recognition of the atoning power of penance, in the teeth of the old law of vengeance for blood, which only bred new murders and new guilt. The atoning rites propagated by Apollo's wor­ship, particularly from Delphi, contributed largely to the spread of milder maxims of law, affecting not only individuals, but whole towns and countries. Even without special prompting, the people felt from time to time the need of purification and expi­ation; hence certain expiatory rites had from of old been connected with his festivals. As the god of light who pierces through all darkness, Apollo is the god of divination, which, however, has in his case a purely ethical significance; for he, as prophet and minister of his father Zeus, makes known his will to men, and helps to fuKher his govern­ment in the world. He always declares the truth; but the limited mind of man cannot always grasp the meaning of his sayings. He is the patron of every kind of prophecy, but most especially of that which he imparts through human instruments, chiefly women, while in a state of ecstasy. Great as was the number of his oracles in Greece and Asia, all were eclipsed in fame and import­ance by that of Delphi (q.v.).

Apollo exercises an elevating and inspiring influence on the mind as god of Music, which, though not belonging to him alone any more than Atonement and Prophecy, was yet pre-eminently his province. In Homer he is represented only as a player on the lyre, while song is the province of the Muses; but in course of time he grows

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.