|747877. Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:54 pm
|Eishkimojo wrote: |
|It's a common misconception that Apollo is the Greek god of the sun, but he is in fact the god of light, prophecy, art, song, and poetry. |
Odd; I always thought Apollo the god of agriculture and archery, of plague and healing. You didn’t mention any of these.
Sometimes he combined this aspects, as in Book Ⅰ of the Iliad, in which the Archer for nine days assailed the Greeks with plague‐arrows:
And in the anguish of a father mourn’d.
Or, if you prefer a more recent rendering:
Disconsolate, not daring to complain,
Silent he wander’d by the sounding main;
Till, safe at distance, to his god he prays,
The god who darts around the world his rays.
“O Smintheus! sprung from fair Latona’s line,
Thou guardian power of Cilla the divine,
Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores,
And whose bright presence gilds thy Chrysa’s shores.
If e’er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane,
Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain;
God of the silver bow! thy shafts employ,
Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy.”
Thus Chryses pray’d.— the favouring power attends,
And from Olympus’ lofty tops descends.
Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound;
Fierce as he moved, his silver shafts resound.
Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread,
And gloomy darkness roll’d about his head.
The fleet in view, he twang’d his deadly bow,
And hissing fly the feather’d fates below.
On mules and dogs the infection first began;
And last, the vengeful arrows fix’d in man.
For nine long nights, through all the dusky air,
The pyres, thick-flaming, shot a dismal glare.
And moving off to a safe distance, over and over
Corpse‐fires burning day and night, no end in sight: the Iliad’s imagery never grows old—nor comforting. Once you’ve read this, it is hard not to forever think of Apollo as god of the plague.
the old priest prayed to the son of sleek‐haired Leto,
lord Apollo, “Hear me, Apollo! God of the silver bow
who strides the walls of Chryse and Cilla sacrosanct—
lord in power of Tenedos—Smintheus, god of the plague!
If I ever roofed a shrine to please your heart,
ever burned the long rich bones of bulls and goats
on your holy altar, now, now bring my prayer to pass.
Pay the Danaans back—your arrows for my tears!”
His prayer went up and Phoebus Apollo heard him.
Down he strode from Olympus' peaks, storming at heart
with his bow and hooded quiver slung across his shoulders.
The arrows clanged at his back as the god quaked with rage,
the god himself on the march and down he came like night.
Once against the ships he dropped to a knee, let fly a shaft
and a terrifying clash rang out from the great silver bow.
First he went for the mules and circling dogs but then,
launching a piercing shaft at the men themselves,
he cut them down in droves—
and the corpse‐fires burned on, night and day, no end in sight.
Nine days the arrows of god swept through the army.