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Lundy, Isle of Avalon

Apollo / Hyperion

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Gods, Saints and Heroes

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"...The lord of the unerring bow, The god of life, and poetry, and light,

The Sun, in human limbs arrayed, and brow All radiant from his triumph in the fight.

Byron - "Childe Harold," iv. 161:
 
 

APOLLO, Sun God. (Greek and Roman)

In Greek mythology Apollo was the son of the god Zeus and  Leto, both children of Titans. Apollo was not a native Greek god. His cult and that of his twin sister Artemis were imported from the north. His name Apollo (Apple -Man) is understood to be derived from the Celtic word 'Abal' - apple ( as is Avalon). Apollo was a gifted musician, who delighted the gods with his performance on the lyre.

Apollo / Hyperion, Roman / Greek sun god

  He was also a master archer.  According to Homer's Iliad, Apollo answered the prayers of the priest Chryses to obtain the release of his daughter from the Greek general Agamemnon by shooting fiery, pestilence-carrying arrows into the Greek army.

'The island of Delos, which held a special position in religious life as being the birthplace of Apollo, was for centuries considered a 'holy place.' -Robert Temple

Apollo slew the Pythos, an enormous serpent which lurked in the caves on Mount Parnassus at Delphi, with his arrows. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi replaced Mount Olympus as the centre of Greek religion.

According to one account, Apollo himself was buried at Delphi; for Pythagoras is said to have carved an inscription on his tomb, setting forth how the god had been killed by the python and buried under the tripod. (Fraser) 

 When he was adopted by the Romans Apollo became more closely associated with the sun

Later, in Roman Britain, Apollo became closely associated with the Celtic god Mabon to such an extent that four out of the five surviving Roman inscriptions discovered in North Britain mentioning the god link the two as   'Apollini Mapono'. Apollo is Bel, Belinos of the Celts.

 Cicero tells that Apollo came from the land of the Hyperboreans, the dwellers-behind-the-North-wind. He departed from his temple at Delphi for three months every year to live among the Hyperboreans, from whom straw-wrapped offerings were delivered each year to the temple of Apollo on Delos. Another legend recalls how Abaris, a druidic British priest of Apollo, travelled on the god's golden arrow from the British Isles to Greece to visit Pythagoras.

Another legend describes the return of Apollo travelled from the land of The Hyperboreans to Delphi in a chariot drawn by swans.

( These legends of a journey from Britain to Greece seem to somehow be connected to the trans european axis of sacred sites; researched in modern times by Jean and Lucien Richter )

Hecateus quoted by Diodorus; 'The Greeks link 'Apollo' with the Hyperborean land (the lands at the back of the north winds)' ....'His mother 'Leto' was born there.' He describes a country that may be Britain ... it is small and located opposite the mainland of Gaul. ... In this Hyperborean land  a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape dedicated to Apollo to which he returned, in person, every nineteen years'.

( Nineteen years is the period required for the moon to return to synchronicity within the solar year. It is also close to the time that passes between solar eclipses. )

 

'.. the ancient Celtic god Grannus, whom the Romans identified with Apollo, and whose worship is attested by inscriptions found not only in France but in Scotland and on the Danube' Fraser - The Golden Bough

 

 

related pages

Temples of Apollo
 
Diana, goddess of the moon
 
The Romans and Southwest Britain
 
Gods, Saints and Heroes

 

 

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