The Gods of Greek and Roman Mythology - Apollo (Apollo)

Role in the Mythos: God of the Sun and Light


  • God of Light and Truth
  • God of Music, Poetry, Art, Healing, and Prophecy
  • God of Delphi
  • Defender of Herds and Flocks
  • Protector of Young Boys

Notable Relations: 

  • Parents: Zeus and Leto
  • Spouse: None
  • Sister: Artemis, his twin  


  • Lyre
  • Bow and arrows
  • Laurel wreath
  • Dolphin
  • Raven
  • Python


  • Young, beardless
  • Beautiful, graceful, musical
  • Wise, truthful
  • Often depicted with the Muses

Myths to Know: 

Daphne and Apollo

Daphne is a chaste wood nymph who vows never to marry and convinces her father never to marry her off to any of the suitors who pursue her. She enjoys hunting in the woods, her hair wild and arms bare. One day, Apollo encounters her in the wilderness, finds her irresistibly beautiful, and begins to pursue her. He calls out to her that he is Apollo, Lord of Delphi, and that she need not be afraid, but hearing him makes her run faster. He begins to gain on her, and as she feels his hot breath on her neck as he was ready to seize her, she calls out for her father’s help. Her feet become rooted in the spot and bark encloses her body as she is transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo is dismayed that his love had become forever unobtainable. He breaks off a branch of the tree and claims, “Apollo and his laurel shall be joined together wherever songs are sung and stories are told.” Thus, the laurel branch became the symbol of poetry, unrequited love, and artistic expression of emotion.  

Music Contest with Marsyas

After Athena invents the flute, she casts it out of heaven because she has to puff up her cheeks to play it, disfiguring her face. The satyr Marsyas finds the flute and begins to play beautiful music with it. He grows too prideful of his talent and challenges Apollo to a musical competition. The god agrees, but in the second round of the contest, he demands that they play their instruments upside down. Because Marsyas is unable to do this, he loses. Apollo then has Marsyas tied to a tree and flayed alive to punish him for his hubris. 

Slaying the Serpent in Delphi

When Leto gives birth to Apollo and Artemis, children of Zeus, Hera sends a great python to pursue Leto as punishment. Apollo seeks to avenge his mother’s plight when he grows old enough. He chases the python to the temple of Delphi and kills the serpent with his arrows in the temple. The priestess sitting on the throne next to which the python died is renamed Pytho, and Apollo becomes the god of Delphi.