Apollo, the god of light and the arts: His myths and his cult

Apollo is one of the most versatile and admired Olympian deities in Greek mythology. Representing the god of light and the arts, he embodies both prophecy and music. Apollo's importance is such that he influences ancient culture in many ways, including philosophy, religious ritual and artistic aesthetics. This article aims to explore in depth the myths associated with Apollo, the practices of his cult, and the indelible imprint he has left on culture through the ages.


The Origins of Apollo

The Birth of Apollo

  • Relationship between Zeus and Leto

Apollo is the fruit of the union between Zeus, the ruler of the gods of Olympus, and Leto, a titanid woman.

  • Léto's flight and birth on Delos

Fleeing Hera's jealousy, Léto takes refuge on the island of Delos, where she gives birth to Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis.

Artemis' brother

Apollo and Artemis share a unique brotherly bond, giving birth to numerous myths depicting their strength and mutual support.

Apollo's attributes and symbols

Apollo's attributes are manifold: the laurel, the raven and the lyre, for example, depict his various powers and functions.

Myths associated with Apollo

Apollo and the Python

  • The founding of the Delphic oracle

After defeating the serpent Python, Apollo established the Delphic oracle, becoming the most important center of ancient divination.

Apollo and Daphne

  • The pursuit and transformation into a laurel tree

In a story of love and rejection, Apollo pursues the nymph Daphne, who will eventually be transformed into a laurel tree, his consecrated tree.

Apollo and the Raven

  • The curse of the raven

The raven, once white, is changed into a black bird because of his tendency to deceive, according to a tale that linked him to Apollo.

Other significant myths

  • Apollo and Asclepius , healer and god of medicine, son of Apollo.
  • Apollo and Hyacinth** , a tragedy of love.
  • Apollo and Cassandra** , the Trojan prophetess cursed by Apollo.

Apollo in art and literature

Apollo in sculpture and painting

The image of Apollo is omnipresent in ancient art, where he is often represented at as the eternal young man, symbol of beauty and perfection.

Apollo in ancient and modern literature

Apollo is a recurring protagonist in literature from antiquity to modern times, sometimes as a source of poetic inspiration, sometimes as a moral figure.

Music and Apollo

  • Patron of musicians and the lyre

The mythical figure of Apollo is closely associated with music. As the patron saint of musicians, he personifies harmony and rhythm.

The cult of Apollo

Centers of worship

  • Delphi and the oracle of Delphi

The sanctuary of Delphi, home of the famous oracle, was a major site of pilgrimage.

  • Delos, the birthplace

The island of Delos, where Apollo was born, was also a sacred site for his cult.

Rituals and Ceremonies

  • The Pythians

Celebrated at Delphi, these cultural games and competitions were dedicated to Apollo.

  • The Delphic Games

Another celebration featuring sporting and artistic events in honor of the god.

Regional influence

  • The spread of Apollo worship

Apollo worship extended beyond Greece, influencing various regions and ancient civilizations.

Apollo's legacy through the ages

Apollo's role in ancient philosophy and thought

Apollo, with his oracular "Know thyself", inspired Greek philosophers and the search for truth and wisdom.

The image and ideals associated with Apollo continue to influence contemporary art, music and literature.

Modern representations of Apollo

Modern and contemporary interpretations continue to revisit and reinvent Apollo, testifying to his timeless appeal.


Apollo, god of light and the arts, remains an emblematic figure whose myths and cult have spanned the centuries. This article has revealed how, from ancient Greece to the present day, Apollo continues to shine as a symbol of beauty, inspiration and intellectual brilliance, bearing witness to the indelible legacy he has left in human art, literature and thought .


  • Ancient scriptures
  • Classical texts on Greek mythology
  • Modern studies on Hellenic religion and culture
  • Analyses of Apollo's cultural impact in art and philosophy