Apollo (Attic, Ionic, and Homeric Greek: Ἀπόλλων, Apollōn (GEN Ἀπόλλωνος); Latin: Apollō) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the sun and light, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all gods. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo is an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius. Yet Apollo is also a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague with his arrows. Apollo is the god of archery and the invention of archery is credited to him and his sister Artemis. He has a golden and a silver bow, and a quiver of golden arrows. As the god of Mousike (art of Muses), Apollo presided over all music, songs, dance and poetry. He is the inventor of string-music, and the frequent companion of the Muses, functioning as their chorus leader in celebrations. The lyre is a common attribute of Apollo. As the protector of young, Apollo (kourotrophos) is concerned with the health and education of children. He presides over their passage into adulthood. Apollo is an important pastoral deity. He is the patron of herdsmen and shepherds. Protection of herds, flocks and crops from diseases and pests were his primary duties. Apollo encouraged founding new towns and establishment of civil constitution, and is associated with dominion over colonists. He is also the giver of laws, and his oracles were consulted before setting laws in a city. Apollo is the god who affords help and wards off evil. He delivered men from epidemics. Various epithets call him the "averter of evil". As the patron of seafarers, he is also the god of foreigners, the protector of fugitives and refugees. In Hellenistic times, especially during the 5th century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun. In Latin texts, however, there was no conflation of Apollo with Sol among the classical Latin poets until 1st century AD. Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the 5th century CE.
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