“blond” Apollon

I have seen a remark about how Apollon shouldn’t be represented with yellow hair because ethnic Greeks were not blonds. The thing that bothers me about this remark is this, the gods are not human. The way the gods are envisioned poetically is based on symbolism, and so is how the god is expressed. It has nothing to do with human genetics. To say that a goddess has eyes the color of the sea, this obviously has symbolic connections. Well then Apollon’s coloring has nothing to do with racial identity, but rather on symbolism. Gold is the color of the divine, Apollon is the guardian of the process of attaining deification connected to his association as guardian with Dionysos, as guardian of the vine. As a god intimately connected with deification in the mysteries, the divine hero, it is natural the god who be expressed specifically as one with gold hair. We know he has gold hair from poetry, and even the remains at Delphi have the god… quite literally… with gold for hair. So why should worshippers throw away this very real material about how people saw the god away. Now a mythic representation where the god is disguised as a mortal, I can see making him appear ethnic for those reasons, because he is literally taking the form of the people with whom he is blending. However, for religious representation of the god it is reasonable to depict the god with symbolic poetic descriptions. He is the god of light, he is bright. He is golden thoroughly. For these reasons it is quite appropriate to portray the god with golden hair, despite ethnic origins of his worship. And that is saying nothing for those who discuss parts of his cult that are connected to the north and the Hyperboreans.

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4 thoughts on ““blond” Apollon

  1. I know where this discussion started and I thank you very much for being there expressing your opinion along with mine. As I’ve said before, I don’t see a point in discussing the color of the hair of the gods if we don’t even know if they have a original shape, since they can change into other people and animals and other stuff. Besides that, Eros was depicted totally differently from Cupid. So I agree with you, it’s mostly symbolic and according to how we imagine them. :))

  2. actually the ancient Greeks were light haired and light eyed people , so I dont know where you git the idea that we were dark haired folk ..

    • Honestly, I have heard people argue both ways on the subject but I have never put a lot of stock in arguments about racial phenotypes…it seems rather pointless to me. The only things that interests me is how the gods are described and what can be understood about the gods from those descriptions. It is obvious, as I have argued before, that there were light haired and light eyed people since we see such descriptions too, but other than acknowleding that fact it is not something I put much of my energy into, especially in useless arguments with people who say differently.

  3. Interesting that you pick this up (I know this article is quiet old but I did not read it untill today). I was thinking about the thing with the hair color too. And I agree with you, that it does not really matter because He is a God. People seem to forgett this sometimes. Not even is He a God without human genes, He is also a shape shifter sometimes. He can look like He wants to. And I am sure, that He displays the expectations of the person He has to do most of the time.
    I also agree with you about the symbolism.
    Why nobody seems tu argue about the hair color of Aphrodite?

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