excerpt from Name of Apollon

With all the work on “Name of Apollon” I have decided to share an excerpt from the beginning of the book in which I begin discussing his name beginning with its meaning destroyer. Of course that section goes on for several more pages. This is approximately a little less than one page worth 🙂
Naturally this is still in rough draft. It hasn’t been edited yet since I am still working on putting the booklet together.

“When it comes to the name of the gods, meanings found in the common understanding of the people are the first logical place to start for deciphering the linguistic roots of the identification of the gods. The reason that this is important is because Hellenic language expresses clear ideas within the names that the give things. Plato wrote of an entire discussion of Socrates which dealt specifically with this concept. Names in the Hellenic language have purpose in the way that they constructed. With the gods this is even more so the case as the names of a god can give us clear ideas about the domain of the god and how he acted within the cosmos and human life. The name carries the action that the god makes. Socrates is quite adamant about this in Plato’s Cratylus when it comes to the evaluation of the names of things. For instance, most scholars agree that Apollon comes from apollymi, “destroyer,” and that this was a common belief is alluded to by Socrates when he says that the common understanding of Apollon’s name brings fear.  However, that does not make this definition incorrect, or even that being “destroyer” carries a negative connotation. It is therefore reasonable, and necessary for this line of inquiry, to query what object the action, apollymi, is working on, to gain a further understanding of Apollon as destroyer. With this evaluation it is highly improbable that the name or action should be fear-inspiring, other than normal fear against authority when one transgresses and breaks the law as Apollon does act against such in his cultus and myths. The reason being that his name doesn’t infer any particular thing he is destroying, and therefore it can be assumed that he destroys everything, making this act one that, by its very nature, is neutral. It manifests daily in our world as light destroys darkness. The morning vanquishes the night, the night consumes the day, and the season of light and dark overcome each other at every equinox, coinciding with the departure and return of the god at Delos and Delphi. This is not to say that by his frequent associations with the sun that he is literally an opponent to the natural night which obscures the world, for there is no form of natural darkness which lacks light and therefore in which he is not present. Rather this serves as an allegory by the physical reminder that even as night cannot withstand the light of day, so too does the divine light, which illuminates and reveals to the mind, conquer the darkness of dangerous ignorance and superstition which blinds the mind and stunts the soul. And also, with the transition and “deaths” of night and day, there is the manifestation of seasonal flow which is accorded to him by the Orphic hymns for good reason. By destroying he reveals truth and brings new growth. His acts of destruction are therefore not contrary to nature, but are a significant part of it continuously recreating itself and evolving in the rhythm of the cosmos, in the life of our world, and in human spiritual pursuits. In all of these things there must be destruction and recreation, and this destruction is what he governs even as he welcomes, nurturers, and safeguards the new life. Apollon’s association with the natural order of death is specifically addressed by Euripides in Aclestis, when Thanatos proclaims the laws of death as those over which Apollon presides. But this should not be confused with heinous acts of life-taking committed by humans, for that which is Apollon’s is not the office for condoning murder, “but to cast death on those that are ripe for it.” However, despite how little attention Scorates gives to the root apollymi, he does edge along the periphery of it when he suggests a derivation from Aeiballon, Always Shooting. ”


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2 thoughts on “excerpt from Name of Apollon

  1. The interpretation of the name “Apollon” as “destroyer” also resonates with another popular esoteric etymology of it as “not multiple”, insofar as the opposite of multiplicity is not unity (for every multiplicity is both composed of unities, and is a unity itself), but negation or nonbeing. From a Platonic point of view, Apollon’s activity seems particularly focused on the plane of being where the force of negation is applied to multiplicities in the form of a criterion, hence the importance of the concepts of Truth, Harmony, and Health in Apollon’s sphere.

    • Indeed and I follow up mentioning this a few paragraphs later and then also relate this to how it is reflected in the Spartan Apella (for Apellon which is his name in the Doric language) when it comes to the assembly in which people are brought together as one. So certainly this point shouldn’t be missed 🙂

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