The qualities and characteristics of Apollo

Golden-haired Apollo with his Lyre,
© Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis, Ministry of Culture and Sports


Apollo was the god who symbolized light and regeneration, the protector of the arts and the highest manifestations of the spirit.

As in most other ancient religions, there are many mythological versions regarding the birth and deeds of the god. Apollo was born on the 7th day of the month Vyssios, the first month of spring. When he was still an infant, he had to kill with his bow the Python, the dragon or snake which symbolized the powers of the underworld. According to another version, he killed the dragon at Tempi or in Crete when he was older and then he exiled himself to the land of the Hyperboreans, in order to be cleansed from the murder. In Attica Apollo's return from the Hyperboreans and the regeneration which followed it were celebrated on the 6th and 7th days of the month Thargelion; on the first day there were lamentations whereas on the second joyous paeans were sung. The relation of Apollo with the underworld and his dominant position in the eternal game of death and rebirth is symbolized by the conviction that within the tripod of Delphi had been buried the remains of the Python or, according to the Orphic philosophers, the body of Dionysus who had been dismembered by the Titans.