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“I am handsome. Admire”
“I am intelligent. Admire”
“I swing all ways. Admire”
Apollo was capricious, clever, cruel, cultured, cynical and a C four letter word. Those was his good points. He was the only Greek God to have got a fully rounded education from the Muses and hold a conversation for years on end if need be. Apollo expected physical compliments on his mop of blond hair and the shape of his legs. He was also the sun god, a job he took off another solar deity called Helios and appropriated the name as well. Apollo was quite shameless but always took care to boast of his triumphs to trusted friends. Except he didn't have any.
Apollo got used to having his own way and had a notoriously thin skin if his abilities were challenged. If he liked you, he would kill with an arrow from his bow. If he didn't, you would be skinned alive or receive an arrow in the back.
He was one half of a pair of twins. His sister was Artemis was also a dab hand with the flying darts. She took a vow of virginity and that was something Apollo was keen to defend. If this was just to keep Artemis for himself (the Gods happily married sisters, sons and daughters), no story survives. More likely Artemis didn't attract Apollo but he was certainly keen on her entourage of nymphs. But there Artemis would get her own back, punishing a girl who had caught her brother's eye. It always involved death but then so did much else Apollo would touch.
Apollo's mother Leto was just another notch on Zeus's celestial bedpost. The goddess Hera had her love rival suffer all sorts of bad luck and death as their punishment. Leto managed to stay alive long enough to give birth to Apollo and Artemis. Eventually (after the children had grown up), they managed to get their mother out of the burning pits and a retirement apartment on Mount Olympus. Apollo bitterly resented Zeus for that delay (and other assumed slights) and plotted to overthrow Zeus in an alliance with Poseidon. This combination of sun and water was no match for the thunderclap master and Apollo was punished by receiving a banishment to the city of Troy. He and Poseidon were given the job of rebuilding that city's walls though it seems only Poseidon actually did the work. Apollo said he helped by providing the soundtrack on his lyre.
Zeus ensured Apollo got the sort of education he didn't have. Apollo learnt to read and write (a skill not granted to his sister), play the lyre, invent poetry and write the first financial report on the credit worthiness of Ancient Greece. Apollo was also a graceless loser. He got involved in a musical contest with Marsyas. Apollo played solo acoustic guitar whilst Marsyas blew through a comb with a piece of tracing paper over it. King Midas (he with the golden hands) who was acting judge said Marsyas had won the contest. Appalled, Apollo said Midas was an ass and replaced his ears with a pair of donkey flappers. That was mild to what Marsyas got. A slow skinning by a grinning Apollo who told him as he died 'hubris dear chap, hubris'.
So Apollo fell into looking into the future, crystal ball in hand. He moved to Delphi and hired a priestess to 'moan predictions' for him to those who asked. As a keen crossword compiler, Apollo liked to make the clues as cryptic as possible and laughed as he saw clients walk away deeply puzzled by what they had heard.
Apollo swung both ways. He had a thing about nymphs. One called Daphne promised she would give him a 'woody' the next time he came looking for her. Smitten with lust, Apollo tried to impose his presence on Daphne. She turned and ran away and when Apollo eventually caught up with her Daphne transformed herself into a weeping willow tree. Unable to reverse the trick, Apollo cut the gree down and turned Daphne into a park bench for him to sit and compose limericks on the insubstantial essence of love.
Another woman who caught Apollo's attention was Cassandra, Princess of Troy. Cassandra persuaded Apollo to wine and dine her first, and if he had time, tell her how to predict the next winner at the Athens Derby. Apollo did all of this but it was him who got shafted. Cassandra refused to lie down and shag the god. He pretended 'not to be upset at this brush off' but took her out for one last time at the most expensive restaurant he could find - then doing a 'runner', leaving Cassandra to pay the bill. This caddish behavior helped to undo Cassandra's gift. No one would believe a word she said - especially if she was going 'Dutch' on a meal.
The blond charmer did wrangle the goddess Aphrodite into bed but she found his pillow talk too self-congratulatory and preferred the brawnier charms of Ares. Apollo showed an interest in Athena, they would often talk long into the night about Greek philosophy and why it was pants. But Athena refused Apollo, saying he was basically a woman hating, closet homosexual. This was indeed true. The only time Apollo was seen to blub was when his male companion Hyacinth died in a frisbee throwing contest.
In the guise of Apollo Phoebus, he claimed to see everything. The all seeing and all know all backed the wrong side the Trojan War. Despite his treatment from Cassandra, Apollo preferred them to the Greeks. His arrows could kill or spread disease, depending on mood. The writers would later say it wasn't Paris who killed Achilles but Apollo who had got jealous over yet another love tussle. This time it was Cassandra's sister Polyxena. She rejected Apollo and preferred Achilles. So Apollo sneakily killed his rival with a poisoned arrow to Achilles's exposed and vulnerable heel. Like Cassandra, Polyxena came to a bloody end. Apollo had a deadly way with women.
edit Romans, Christians and Astronauts
The Romans adopted Apollo without a name change but liked to also call him 'Sol Invictus', the Sun God. He liked that and added a big shiny halo when out on his travels. The christians liked that image too but added a beard and said it was Jesus. Another sign was to give Apollo's physical form to Jesus too which is why the saviour has a toned body and not an ascetic skinny carcass. Why the Americans called the space mission 'Apollo' and not say, Athena...? Ask NASA.
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