Apollo’s Powers Were Sick, Yo
I’m back with another installment of my lesser known domains series. You can read previous articles about [Athena], [Dionysus], [Posiedon], and [Hades] in the archives. Today I’m going to tell you all about Apollo. Apollo is best known for two things– being the god of music and being the god of the sun. Apollo had a few other domains, and one of them might surprise you; it seems contradictory to the other.
Apollo was best known the sun god, and his twin sister, Artemis, was the goddess of the moon. Of course this is an evolution. In classical Greece Helios was the god of the sun, but Apollon was still associated with it and later (especially during the Renaissance and Victorian eras) he took over the domain in popular opinion. Along with the sun, came two natural offshoots. Ancient peoples associated sunlight with cleansing, and so Apollo was also the god of truth and medicine. With truth came music and prophecy. Also poetry and intellectual pursuit. With medicine came plague. (Record Scratch) Wait, what? Plague?
Apollo holds the key to disease and the cure. He is the poison and the antidote. In The Illiad, Apollo fires plague arrows into a city to infest the Achaeans. Apollo also teaches the cleansing ritual to cure the disease. This was one of Apollo’s functions in myth. Zeus did his smiting with thunderbolts. Poseidon did his with floods. Apollo punished mankind for their transgressions with plague (and sometimes, like with Niobe, a good-old-fashion slaughter.) To make up for the disease, though, Apollo had a son; Asclepius is the demigod of medicine in Greek mythology.
So, just to do a roll call of his domains, Apollo was the god of sun (one of them), truth, prophecy, archery (but not hunting), medicine, academia, poetry, disease, and music. He was a busy dude with a lot of powers. Apollo’s powers were sick, yo.