What are Apollo's main attributes

Mos Maiorum


Apollo with Kithara, wall painting from Pompeii

God of healing, music, poetry, arts, truth and prophecies and the hunt. He is also considered a god of light and sun in his form Phoebus Apollo (of which there are several among the Romans, e.g.Sol Invictus).

"Healing" is to be seen in relative terms; Apollo was the person to call when you felt an emerging illness or feared an illness, an outbreak of epidemic, or injury. He was the one to turn to when seeking protection from an illness; once it broke out, it was soonerAesculapius The right person to speak to. in the Gallo-Roman cult he was as Apollo Grannus, together with his Celtic companion Sirona, responsible for healing.

He was particularly responsible for the plague, from which he was supposed to protect, because in mythology it was said that he had once saved the city of Troy from the plague.

In 217 BC Apollo became one of the 12th century BCYour consentdeclared and thus belonged to the particularly revered deities of Rome. He received special admiration from archers, artists, singers, writers and musicians.

He is the 9th Muses before, the patron goddesses of the arts, which earned him the nickname "Musagetes" (the classifications and attributes of the muses that are common today were not yet known to the Romans, they only emerged in modern times).

Again and again Apollo appears as the god of revenge or atonement.

Sphere: Sky.

Attributes and representations:

Typical depictions show Apollo as a beardless, handsome youth with: bow and arrow. Kithara / Lyra (musical instruments). Sacrificial tripod (symbolizes his prophetic gifts).


Wheat, incense, cakes of all kinds (honey, cheese), parsley, wine, marigold, cedarwood, hyacinth

Cult animals: White goats, ox with gilded horns. Strictly forbidden as sacrificial animals: horses. Apollo was one of the three only gods (besides Neptune and Mars) to whom bulls could be sacrificed.

Apollo with Kithara, 50 AD (Rome)

Public holidays: Major holidays are those Ludi Apollini (July 6th to 13th) and September 23rd (together with Diana)

Assignments: Palm trees, wolves, dolphins, swans, cicadas (symbolize music and song), falcons, ravens, crows, snakes (symbolize the prophetic gift), mice and the griffin.

Miscellaneous: Apollo was taken over from the Greek pantheon by the Romans. Even among the Etruscans it was already known as "Apulu“Revered, which is probably also due to Greek influence. In the meantime it is assumed in research that Apollo was not originally a Greek god, but comes from a pre-Greek culture (the Minoan, the Doric or an Anatolian / Asia Minor culture). Already with the Hittites around 2000 BC there was The plague god Aplu. The contradiction between healing and helping God on the one hand, violent, disease-causing God on the other, points to a pre-Greek origin, so that many aspects finally united in the cult of the god Apollo. Apollo also became associated with the Sabine god Soranus equated. As an oracle god, he was the patron saint of Delphi among the Greeks. Apollo was also very popular among the Romanized Celts, especially the Gauls, and was worshiped by them as the god of healing and the sun god and equated with Celtic gods with a similar function, such as sun and healing gods Apollo Belenus in Gaul and Northern Italy, Apollo Moritasgus, God of healing in Alesia. Frequent depictions on coffins indicate his relationship with Orpheus, as whose father he is described. Emperor Augustus regarded Apollo as his personal god and built for him the temple of Apollo Palatinus on the Palatine Hill in Rome. In the Roman cult he is in Rite Graecum instead of in Roman rite adored.

Ancient sources with prayers to Apollo:

  • Arnobius the Elder: Adversus Nationes 3-43
  • Claudius Claudianus: Panegyricus dictus Olybrio et Probino consulibus 71-2
  • Horace: Carmen saeculare 1.2.30
  • Livy 5.21.2
  • Martial 9.42
  • Ovid: Remedia amoris 75 and 704
  • Petronius: Papyri Graecae magicae 94
  • Petronius: Satyrica fr. 31
  • Plautus: Mercator 678
  • Seneca: Hercules furens 592 and 900
  • Statius: Thebais I 643-5; I 694-6; I 716-20; IV 649-51; VI 296-300; VII 779-88; VIII 90-94
  • Tibullus: 2.5.1ff; 3.10; 4.4.1
  • Gaius Valerius Flaccus: Argonautica 1.5; 5.17; 5.244
  • Virgil: Aenais 3.85; 6.55; 10.875; 11.785; 12.197
  • Varro: De Lingua Latina 7.17

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Tags:Apollo, Cultus, Dei Consentes, Diana, God, Kithara, Muses, Roman Gods

From Q.Albia Corvinain Cultus Deorum, Götterwelt, Lexikon, Religio Romana am.