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Apollo - Artemis

Apollo was the god of music and healing. He was also an archer, and hunted with a silver bow. Apollo was the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the twin of Artemis. His symbols include the laurel tree, the crow, and the dolphin.

Apollo in Greek religion and mythology, one of the most important Olympian gods, concerned especially with prophecy, medicine, music and poetry, archery, and various bucolic arts, particularly the care of flocks and herds. He was also frequently associated with the higher developments of civilization, such as law, philosophy, and the arts. As patron of music and poetry he was often connected with the Muses. Apollo may have been first worshiped by primitive shepherds as a god of pastures and flocks, but it was as a god of light, Phoebus or Phoebus Apollo, that he was most widely known.

After the 5th cent. BC he was frequently identified with Helios, the sun god. Apollo was the father of Aristaeus, Asclepius, and, in some legends, Orpheus, although his amorous affairs were not particularly successful.

Daphne turned into a laurel rather than submit to him, and Marpessa refused him in favor of a mortal. He gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy, and when she disappointed him, he decreed that no one would believe her prophecies. His chief oracular shrine was at Delphi, which he was said to have seized, while still an infant, by killing its guardian, the serpent Python. This event was celebrated every eight years in the festival of the Stepteria. Other festivals held in Apollo's honor included the yearly Thargelia, to celebrate spring, and the Pythia, held every four years to honor his victory over the Python.

Besides Delphi, his other notable shrines were at Branchidae, Claros, Patara, and on the island of Delos, where, it was said, he and his twin sister, Artemis, were born to Leto and Zeus. In Roman religion, Apollo was worshiped in various forms, most significantly as a god of healing and of prophecy. In art he was portrayed as the perfection of youth and beauty. The most celebrated statue of him is the Apollo Belvedere, a marble statue in the Belvedere of the Vatican.

Artemis (Roman name: Diana)

Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and the protector of women in childbirth. She hunted with silver arrows and loved all wild animals. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin of Apollo. Her symbols include the cypress tree and the deer.

Artemis in Greek religion and mythology, Olympian goddess, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis' early worship, especially at Ephesus, identified her as an earth goddess, similar to Astarte. In later legend, however, she was primarily a virgin huntress, goddess of wildlife and patroness of hunters.

Of the many animals sacred to her, the bear was most important. Artemis valued her chastity so highly that she took terrible measures against anyone who even slightly threatened her (e.g., Actaeon). She was attended by nymphs, whose virginity she guarded as jealously as her own. She was also an important goddess in the life of women, concerned with marriage and with the young of all creatures.

As the complement to Apollo, she was often considered a moon goddess and as such was identified with Selene and Hecate. In ancient Greece, the worship of Artemis was widespread. The Romans identified her with Diana. She is mentioned in the biblical book of Acts of the Apostles, where she appears to be in competition with the god of the Christians.