The Ancient Greek was and still is a rich source of myths about the culturally significant life of Greece before the Hellenistic period.
This period marked a decline in the occurrences that were deemed to be historically influential. Greek gods were worshiped for different reasons. This was an instance of the earliest form of paganism that was experienced in the ancient times. The sole purpose of having many gods for different purposes was to have representation for the various issues in life. As such, it suffices to say that the gods represented or stood for different aspects of life. For instance, Zeus was considered as the king of gods.
He therefore had the power that every other god or goddess could possess. Other examples of gods and goddesses included Aphrodite who was the goddess of love, Demeter the goddess of good harvest, Athere the goddess of Athens just to name but a few. Apollo, the son of Zeus and Leto, was the god of light. His sister, Atermis, was the goddess of the forest and the living organisms that inhabited them. The importance of the gods could not be underestimated as they formed the basis upon which life was revered.
They could be consulted during times of strife and important events and happenings. Apollo was considered to be “the least foreign god” due to the fact that his existence was solely owed to Zeus and Leto who were of pure Greek descent. His importance lay in shining light into the darkness of life. He was also considered to be the god of truth. Whatever he said was considered to be the truth.
His oracle, Delphi, served as an important connection between the people and the other gods. As such, his powers as one of the major gods could be seen in the way he could influence the lives of the Greeks. His talent as an astute musician was captured in his frequent use of the lyre to entertain the other gods. This was seen as important as it appeased the other gods so that they could not be lenient to the people for sinning and going against the dictates of the gods. His word as truth could be used in forecasting the future by the oracles so that the people could avoid harm. This was important in fore-telling misfortunes so that they could be mitigated if not avoided totally (Del’Cato, 2010). The kind of help that he provided the people stemmed from his basic duties of shining the light on the earth.
It is believed that he was responsible for the sun’s light. This means that he controlled the darkness that was on earth. Myth has it that this is the reason why there was day and night. As an extension, the myth of light and darkness was also taken in poetic terms. This implies that the darkness that was sin could be shone by his light and eliminated to leave righteousness.
He helped the people in healing sicknesses and other diseases that required medicine. He thus shone the light on the activities of medicine-men so that they could be successful in their healing and curing of diseases. The help he provided to the people of Greece was therefore colossal and the people revered him for this. The reason for his being one of the main gods is explained in the fact that his roles were in the main issues that affected the people. Examples that have been noted are such as health, law and prophecy.
In as much as he is considered to be one of the major gods, his existence did not come without blemish. First and foremost, he had numerous unions and relationships with different gods. This was not against the law but the manner in which he carried out his activities left a lot to be desired. For instance, he had relationships with both male and female lovers. His relationship with Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, ended tragically due to Zephyrus’ jealousy. This was seen when Zephyrus hit Hyacinth with a discus that was meant to hit Apollo. Hyacinth died from the fatal blow dealt on him by the discus.
He is therefore a negative influence as he did not have a good hold of the relationships he had. They did not mirror good deeds to the society and in effect could not be seen as model relationships that the Greeks would want to have. He was also cruel and did not have pity. Myth has it that he killed the python in Delphi.
His dad, Zeus, had to offer sacrifice so as to purify him. He was also seen as hasty in his decision to kill the python. He was also a problem to the Greeks due to the fact that his generosity had limits. He could at times unleash terror on herdsmen who had only wanted pasture for their animals. Myth has it that he had powers over wolverine creatures. He therefore could at times refuse to offer protection from these creatures that were considered dangerous to the people and their animals. This is seen as against the expectations the people had for the gods. To them, the gods were supposed to be pillars of virtue and not disdain.
To be precise, the myths thus paint him as a god who was not pitiful and generous as opposed to the conventional nature of gods. Gods had been seen as paragons of righteousness who could only mete out punishments when the people erred. This, coupled with his lustrous and hasty nature, depicted him as a bad role model to the people. However, the Greeks did not stop relying on him for his help as his role in their lives was monumental. His negative side was minute compared to the good that he offered the society.
The Greeks therefore did not mind his wayward nature and continued considering him as one of their most revered gods. In conclusion, the ancient times saw the worship of several deities. This was not only evident in Greece. Mythology has it that most of the ancient empires worldwide held beliefs in gods. Apollo, being one of the gods, served an important role in the lives of Greeks.
He was seen as the light in their lives. He also served other roles in medicine, prophecies and arts. Despite his pivotal roles in all these, he had negative sides as he could also cause ill-health and strife amongst the people without a legitimate reason. This set him apart as a god who could cause both good and harm.
His many relationships with gods of both sexes portrayed him negatively to the people of Greek. It is however worth noting that his place as a powerful Olympian god was reserved despite a need to be purified at one point. His position is thus important up to date as most of his roles went a long way in creating the history of Greece as a culturally rich nation. Connecting the people through his Oracle Delphis kept the people’s hopes alive.
ReferencesDel’Cato, I. (2010). Mythology: Guide to the Major Greek Gods.