"Parnasus Apollo" by Raphael (1511).
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Planet Art.


In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leto (Letona). He was the twin brother of the goddess Artemis. He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer.

Leto travelled all over Greece to find a place to give birth to Apollo. She finally came upon an island named Delos. The island agreed to allow the birth of Apollo if he in turn founded a temple on the island. Leto agreed, and when Apollo grew up, he changed Delos into a beautiful island.

He was known as the god who could foretell the future. His most famous sacred place was at Delphi, site of the Oracle of Delphi.

Apollo was very intelligent, as seen in a story with Hermes. As a young baby, Hermes was also very cunning. He tried to steal Apollo's cattle, and tricked Apollo by forcing the animals to walk backwards. This way, the footprints made it appear as if the cattle were walking the other way.

Eventually, a trial was held in front of Zeus. Hermes admitted he hid the cattle and agreed to show Apollo where they were. Eventually, Hermes gave his lyre to Apollo to make amends. They became very good friends.

The Romans also believed in Apollo as the god of light, music, and healing.

You might also be interested in:

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more


In Roman mythology, Jupiter was the king of heaven and Earth and of all the Olympian gods. He was also known as the god of justice. He was named king of the gods in the special meeting that followed his...more


In Greek mythology, Artemis was born with her twin brother Apollo in the island of Delos. Their parents were Zeus and Leto. Artemis was the goddess of woodland and the personification of the Moon. She...more


Hermes was the god of eloquence, games of chance, commerce, and story telling, and was the messenger-god of Zeus. He was the offspring of Zeus and Zeus' mistress-goddess, Maia, who in turn was the daughter...more


Diana was an ancient Italian goddess of woodland. In Capua and in Aricia, a locality near Rome, there are still shrines dedicated to the old Italian goddess. Her shrine in Aricia was on the shores of...more

Leda and the Constellation Cygnus

Various Greek myths are connected with the constellation Cygnus, which means "swan." Some authors say that the constellation cygnus was related to the shape of a beautiful swan that Zeus assumed to court...more


Faunus was a Roman pastoral god. The Romans identified him with the Greek god Pan. Some times the Greek god Pan was associated with the different Roman deity Silvanus, the god of wild nature. Like his...more


The ancient Greeks saw the figure of the Greek myth, Orion, in the nighttime sky. There are many different stories about how Orion's figure was placed among the stars. Orion was an handsome and skillful...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA