PBP: L is for Love (and Marriage)

Despite what you may think, I am not going to really talk about Eros or Aphrodite in this post (which would be the natural assumption). Rather I would like to talk about Apollon’s place in this part of human life. That Apollon has a relationship with gods of love we can infer not only from the myth of him being on the wrong side of Eros’ dart in the myth of Daphne, but also from the myth of Theseus in which Apollon not only advised the hero to let Aphrodite guide him for which Ariadne’s statue of Aphrodite was said to have been dedicated to him at Delos. But outside of these relationships I just want to look at what role Apollon specifically has.

While Apollon doesn’t have a direct function when it comes to love, there are remarks to the point that boys who sing for Apollon in their youth will be blessed with marriages in their adulthood. For which we can find three things going on here. That Apollon as the god of transitions, particularly in the lives of males, he would be a god that is instrumental in the transition between youth and the marital state of adulthood. That marriage is an expected part of adulthood is rather clear, and especially among Spartans, who quite revered Apollon at whose festival the Gymnopaediae bachelors were explicitly forbidden to attend. So in a life transition sense of not only passing into another phase of life but also providing more sons to the community Apollon would certainly be pertinent when it comes to marriage, the end result of Aphrodite’s charms.

I would associate, just my personal UPG here, that Apollon, in the field of love, would be a god of love poems and songs. Granted, I am pretty sure that there is a Muse whose influence covers that, but I consider this an extension of his marital role in which he is a god closely associated with the marriage hymns as he played himself for the marriage of Thetis to Peleus, a role which is more commonly recognized by his son among the Erotes via a Muse, Hymenaios. Therefore the songs of courting and romance would be quite appropriate in my mind in relationship of the celebratory songs of marital union. And it may have some basis if we consider what I said above about the promise of marriage for boys who sing to him in their youths. Perhaps he fulfills this by giving them tools of wooing, if not by poems or more bardic forms of wooing, by soft words of feeling in order to persuade a marital match. It is certainly a possibility.Therefore as I see it Apollon does play a vital, even really rather understated, role. Though I imagine he had some fun during the period of the courtly love poems of later periods!

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2 thoughts on “PBP: L is for Love (and Marriage)

  1. It seems I’m not the only one who sees His love influence, especially in the game of courtship, because He certainly inspires loving words from His devotees, myself included.

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