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Apollo, the son of Jupiter and Latona, and twin-brother of Diana, was born in the island of Delos, which was raised by Neptune from the bottom of the sea, as a refuge for Latona when pursued by the fury of Juno. This god presided over all the fine arts, music, poetry, medicine, and eloquence; his residence was generally on Mount Parnassus, in the company of the Muses. Apollo was the father of Esculapius, who was killed by Jupiter for raising the dead to life; he, in a fit of resentment, killed the Cyclops, and joined in a conspiracy
against his sire, in consequence of which he was banished from heaven: whilst on earth, he took the form of a shepherd, and kept the flocks of Adinetus, king of Thessaly; he also assisted Neptune in building the walls of Troy; his contests with Marsyas and Pan, and the punishments he inflicted upon the former, and upon Midas, are familiar to every reader.
After a banishment of some years, Apollo was restored to the abodes of the gods, and entrusted with the chariot of the Sun, whence he received the name of Phoebus; at the earnest entreaty of his son Phaeton, he allowed him to have the guidance of this chariot for one day; but he, unable to restrain the ardour of the steeds, overturned it, and set the world in a blaze. The conflagration, and the death of Phæton, are beautifully described by Ovid.
Apollo is usually represented as a handsome youth; his head, surrounded with rays of light, flowing hair, and a lyre in his hand, on which he plays, for the amusement of the Graces, who dance to his melody; at a distance Pegasus, the winged horse, is frequently seen.
He is said to have had a knowledge of future events, and his oracles were much esteemed, particularly that of Delphi, one of the most famous in the world.
Apollo was worshipped in every country, but especially in Greece, Italy, and Egypt; he had a statue upon Mount
Actium, to which Augustus addressed his prayer before his final victory over Anthony. The celebrated Colossus of
Rhodes was also sacred to him. He is known by a variety of appellations, the principal are, Pytheus, from his conquest over the serpent Python, Cyntheus, Pæan, Delius, Delphinus, and Ismerinus; the animals sacred to him were the cock, the grasshopper, the wolf, the swan, the crow, and the hawk; the plants were, the palm, the laurel, and the olive. Besides his temple at Delphi, Apollo had oracles at Tenedos, Claros, and Delos: the Pythian games were instituted to his honour; the victors received a crown of laurel.
Me Claros, Delphi, Tenedos, obey;
These hands the Patareian sceptre sway.
Mine is the invention of the charming lyre,
OVID'S Metamorphoses, book 1.
The contest of Apollo and Pan is well described by Ovid.
The god his own Parnassian laurel crowned,
And in a wreath his golden tresses bound;
Graceful his purple mantle swept the ground;
The lute, embossed with glitt'ring jewels, blazed.
His easy posture spoke a master's skill.
The strings he touched with more than human art,
And to the lute postponed the squeaking reed.
All, with applause, the rightful sentence heard,
To him unjustly given the judgment seems,
Ibid. book 11.
Diana, the virgin daughter of Jupiter and Latona, and twinsister of Apollo, was the goddess of hunting, chastity, and marriage, and is represented sometimes as a young virgin, armed with bows and arrows, a crescent on her head, and a train of wood-nymphs and dogs attending her; at others, in a chariot drawn by stags. Diana was worshipped in Greece, Egypt, Taurica, and Ephesus; the celebrated temple in the latter city, burnt 355 B.C. was dedicated to her; it was one of the seven wonders of the world; the sacrifices offered to her