"Parnasus Apollo" by Raphael (1511).
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Image courtesy of Planet Art.
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leto (Letona). He was the twin brother of the goddess Artemis. He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer.
Leto travelled all over Greece to find a place to give birth to Apollo. She finally came upon an island named Delos. The island agreed to allow the birth of Apollo if he in turn founded a temple on the island. Leto agreed, and when Apollo grew up, he changed Delos into a beautiful island.
He was known as the god who could foretell the future. His most famous sacred place was at Delphi, site of the Oracle of Delphi.
Apollo was very intelligent, as seen in a story with Hermes. As a young baby, Hermes was also very cunning. He tried to steal Apollo's cattle, and tricked Apollo by forcing the animals to walk backwards. This way, the footprints made it appear as if the cattle were walking the other way.
Eventually, a trial was held in front of Zeus. Hermes admitted he hid the cattle and agreed to show Apollo where they were. Eventually, Hermes gave his lyre to Apollo to make amends. They became very good friends.
The Romans also believed in Apollo as the god of light, music, and healing.
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