Friday, February 17, 2012

Greek God of the Month: APOLLO (week 3)

The Loves of Apollo

One of the main reasons why Apollo's story hasn't been made into a film or hasn't figured much in popular culture is the undeniable fact that he loved both women and men. It's a given. Most Greek deities, certainly the male ones, were omnisexual: they fornicated with anything with a heartbeat but that hasn't stopped Zeus from making many appearances in films. With that said Apollo's case is different because it's more obvious than something like Zeus changing into an eagle and having fun with Ganymede. Apollo fell hopelessly in love with anyone who was remotely beautiful, female or male. He was a hopeless romantic.

In one of his most famous love stories, Apollo sought Daphne, the daughter of a god of nature. The beautiful Daphne disliked the idea of Gods chasing after humans and specifically asked her father to help her when Apollo was chasing her. Her father then turned her into a laurel. A bit drastic, no.

Many of Apollo's loves turned into plants/flowers.

In another story, Apollo was in love with Coronis and both were lovers for some time. When Apollo was away (on a mission?) Coronis fell in love with a mortal, while carrying Apollo's son, Asclepius. A crow told Apollo about this, turned the crow black (they were white before) and sent Artemis to kill Coronis. Coronis' body was burning on a funeral pyre when Apollo asked Hermes to rescue the unborn Asclepius from her womb. Asclepius was raised by centaur Chiron and he became the god of healing, with his famous Staff which has become the symbol of medicine. This sorta makes sense as Apollo is the god of health and medicine. Ah, Greek melodrama is everywhere!

Asclepius and his staff

One of the most famous of Apollo's love stories is with the Spartan prince Hyacinthus. Apollo was deeply in love with the handsome young man causing Zephyrus, a wind god, to become jealous of Apollo’s happiness with the prince. While Apollo was working out with a discus, Zephyrus changed the path and speed of the discus so it hit Hyacinthus in the head and killed him. Unable to save him, Apollo transformed his corpse into a beautiful flower, a hyacinth. I wonder if any film will ever show this famous story? I doubt it.

According to Wikipedia, Apollo had 70+ female lovers and over a dozen male lovers.

Next week: Apollo at the movies! Or not at the movies...


Steven Lester said...

Did Apollo ever die?

PEPLUM cinema said...

Steven, Apollo is a God and, well, immortal.

Anonymous said...

These books by Jean Shinoda Bolen make fascinating reading in which each Greek god and goddess is dealt with extensively as archetypes with their strengths and all-too-human psychological difficulties.

Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women (1984)
Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men's Lives and Loves (1989)
Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty (2001)