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Pan, the Greek Shepherd God - Windows to the Universe

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Statue of Pan. Hever Castle, Kent, England.
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Image courtesy of Corel Corporation.

Pan

Pan is the Greek god protector of shepherds, sheep, and goats. According to an account of his birth, Hermes was his father. Romans confused him with the Roman god Faunus. Pan's name is said to derive from the Greek word "paein", which means "to pasture." He has horns and legs of a goat, and he is able to shout so loudly that he terrifies people and animals.

The word panic derives from his name. His personality has also gentle aspects. In fact, he plays so well a reed pipe, called syrinx, that he challenged the sun god Apollo in a musical contest. But unfortunately, Pan lost and Apollo received the prize for playing his lyre.

One of the moons of the planet Saturn was named after him.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF