Syncretism of Apollon

This will be updated periodically as I find more to add to it.


Ruda/Shiva (Indian): I have spoken of this at length on my page Apollon and Artemis, Shiva and Paravati. Please refer there for more on this šŸ™‚

Resheph (Canaanite): This syncretism is mentioned mainly in Cypris. If the academia that suggests Apollon came from Asia is correct (and likely the more southern part of Asia Minor given the related position of Rhodes and Apollon’s important cult center in that part of Asia Minor in Claria) then it is possible that the identification of Apollon as Resheph has some weight to it. His titles which associate him as Resheph of the garden, and Resheph of the arrow bear a lot of similarities in the character of Apollon, as do the black boundary stones which scholars who investigate this relationship attribute as primary form of Resheph and the early form of Apollon and the localities which are attributed as sacred gardens of Apollon. That both gods are associated with the healing of disease, and are connected with the deer/gazelle.Ā  Like Apollon he is also a divine charioteer, which was his most popular form in his adoption in the Egyptian pantheon.

Freyr (Norse): It seems that those who attempt to do a syncretism between Hellenic and Norse gods tend to link Apollon to Bragi, the divine musician among the gods. However in the context of Apollon in relationship to music, though he is a great musician I can’t say that this his primary function, as music and his instruments are symbols more of his cosmic nature. In Hellenismos the playing of the kithara is more linked to solar energies in which we also have Helios as a kithara player. Thus is more logical to say that the playing of the kithara was more related to his divinity as a god of light and the spiritual nature of this domain though its impact on the soul. He is the god who keeps bodies operating in harmonious movement.Ā  I find it more logical to associate Freyr with Apollon, who like Apollon is a god associated with the sun but is not literally the sun god.Ā  Like Apollon heĀ seems to beĀ associated with ships and the sea, weather, kingship, phallicĀ fertility, boars, peace (harmony in other words) and the sun mostly through its fertile activity on the earth. Like Apollon he is also a warrior, though I think that this can be said of most Norse gods lol.

Heru-wer (Egypt): It is more common to see Heru-sa-Aset associated with Apollon, but this link seems made almost exclusively via the nature of healing and the killing of serpents while a babe. I consider it far more appropriate to syncretize Apollon with the elder Heru, Heru-wer, the twin brother of Set and younger brother of Wesir. He is a heavenly god whose eyes are the sun and moon respectively (which makes a good association with the lunar and solar connections of Apollon). Like Apollon he is also an inspirer of fear, a solar god, and bears a relationship to fire. Like Apollon he also bears a distinct militaristic nature. The association of Apollon with falcons (perhaps largely to do with his movement as he was considered the fastest of all the gods) can be seen in the Iliad in which the god is described as dropping from the heavens like a falcon.

Grannus (Gaul): This is a god typically associated with Apollon, so much so that one of Apollon’s epithets is believed to have an etymological connection with this name. The Germanic Gauls had consider contact with Hellas and Rome and therefore it is not surprising that this connection would be made. There may be some relationship between the Grynian Apollon mentioned in the Orphic hymn, an epithet associated with a distinct cult center in which Apollon had a temple surrounded by a beautiful garden full of fruiting and non-fruiting trees) and thisĀ Gaulic deity. Grannus is a solar god, but like Apollon is also a god of thermal springs (this is a particular well known function of Apollon in several places including Lesbos). He is likely also associated greatly with the maturation and harvest of wheat as Apollon is if we take into consideration that chants were sung to Grannus with the offering of wheat into the fire. It is speculated that Grannus gives his name to the word for grain. Grannus is likely identifiable with theĀ Gaul Belenus who was also a solar god associated with thermal springs, and whom Apollon was considered syncretic to by Romans.

21 thoughts on “Syncretism of Apollon

  1. Hello!
    I’m sorry for bothering you like this, but I’d just like to correct a mistake of yours, if I may. I’m a Gaulish reconstructionist and I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. šŸ™‚

    First of all, Grannos – whose name was romanised as ‘Grannus’ – isn’t a Gaelic (Gaelic = Irish) God, but a Gaulish / Gallic one. The concept of his name is connected to the word for ‘grain’ is a common misconception; it is linked to the Proto-Celtic word for ‘heat’: *gwrensno- > *gwresno > *gwrenno- > *granno- > grannos. You can check Xavier Delamarre’s “Dictionnaire de la Langue Gaulloise” and Ranko Matasović’s “Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic” for the little details.

    Lastly, though Grannos may be linked to grain and its growth and harvest, it isn’t known if he was praised for this during Spring or Autumn, since both these seasons are good for harvesting wheat and barley, depending on when you plant it. His festival – DecanoĻ‡tes (or DecamnoĻ‡tiacā) Granni, ‘Ten Nights of Grannos – may have been held during Spring, based on an inscription found in Limoges and because of a possible folkloric french festival that was held at Aachen until the beginning of the XXth century, which is thought to be a remnant of an old Gaulish and/or Gallo-Roman rite.

    If you’d like to read more about it, feel free to check this article I wrote about Gaulish solar Gods:
    It’s in Portuguese, but if you use Google Chrome it might be decently translated for you.

    Keep on your excellent writing, I find your posts and practises very interesting, even though I’m not an Hellenic polytheist myself! šŸ˜€

    • Thanks for the correction and valuable information! Apollon himself has two harvest associated with him…a spring and autumnal one, so I can understand how such celebrations can be pretty flexible at these opposite seasonal quarters. I also think that the association with heat is fascinating connection too, considering Apollon’s own fiery nature.
      Thank you for your valuable commentary and praise!

  2. Here’s another. Very recently I found this article which says that there are many similarities between the cultic practices of both the Apollon of Amyklai (Sparta) and the Slavic four-headed deity Svantovit/Swantewit/Swiatowit/Svetovid of the Isle of RĆ¼gen (Germany), whom I regard as a sort of family or tutelary god since my grandmother came from RĆ¼gen.

    Here is the link:

    • Really fascinating, thank you! I will take a look at the link you have attached. I have wondered about any possible Slavic connection but since I am not familiar enough with Slavic gods (as in not at all) it wasn’t something I got to.

  3. St Patrick was also handy at snake-bashing and was supposed to have brought ‘light’. Funnily enough, the Irish constructed a version of the Omphalos stone, which was broken up by Christian missionaries circa the ‘St Patrick’ time: It still exists in the County Cavan Museum, and is known as the ‘Killycluggin Stone’, believed to be that referred to as ‘Crom Cruach’ in the Patrick myths.

    • The only thing I tend to be cautious about is making syncretism so devoted on the python slaying myth…while it is an important feature of his myth and cult, he also took the form of a serpent too….dragon slaying of Python by Apollon has been compared to the conflict between Zeus and Typhon (name similarity there) which can also be somewhat implacable in other such syncretic relationships too šŸ™‚ This is a reason why for syncretism I try to fine numerous mythic and things pertinent to their domains that align.

    • Belinus was British as well as Gaulish, of course. ‘Melinus’ was another name given for Manannan in the Gaelic Isle of Man in the 11/12thC (read Jocelyn’s ‘Life of Patrick’). Belinus > mBelinus > Melinus : It all depends on how you lenit your initial consonants and transform your labial occlusives into labial plosives in early/proto British, Gaulish and Irish! It is worth mentioning that Manannan ‘Son of the Sea’ is actually a solar god, not a ‘sea god’ as such: he goes in and out of the sea šŸ˜‰ Travels a lot šŸ˜‰

      • LOL I really don’t know about these matters well enough to comment on it to be quite honest. For whatever reason, the gods of the majority of my ancestrial heritage never particularly attracted me. I know very little regarding Gaulish, Anglo-Saxon, Welsh or Gaelic gods overall and freely admit that. Although this conversation you guys are having is interesting.

  4. To my knowledge, *Belinus does not occur as an independent element in British sources; it occurs in the compound personal name Cunobelinus, for example, but there is no definitive evidence to suggest that Belinus and Belenus are “the same,” or that there was a cultus to *Belinus in Britain.

    It’s also a pretty far stretch to talk about Melinus as possibly related when it only occurs in a relatively late Latin text which has a lot of unusual forms of names that are earlier attested.

    • Thank you for your insights. I will admit that British and surrounding areas is not something am overly familiar with and I am mostly using secondary resources when talking about these connections.

  5. I have come across the suggestion that Apollon and Ullr are in fact the same, and I am curious of the reasoning behind it. Unfortunately I am not very well read on Apollon and even more unfortunately there is a distinct lack of sources on Ullr. Is this a theory you have come across?

    • Interesting! I will have to read more on Ullr since I am not familiar enough with this deity to say one way or another. A brief examination would draw up parallels of ships and shields (in the case of Ullr his ship being his shield), the use of the bow, even being a son of a grain goddess (in some alternate myths Apollon is likened as a son of Demeter in which Diodoros Siculus parallels the Eleusinian mysteries of Demeter to that of Egypt where he talks about Apollon being the son of Isis and Leto serving as his nurse as a descriptive narrative of the lore of the Mysteries). Likewise there is the connection of law and justice associated with the deity, and possessing a king type of status.
      May I ask if you recall where you say that suggestion? Just for sake of my curiosity šŸ™‚

      • I’m going to have to try and hunt down the source of that suggestion, I’m afraid I didn’t write down the details. But if I try to recall what main points they did…

        A classic written source supposedly said that Apollon was the only Greek god to also be revered up in the North.

        Apollon supposedly ventured North to live in the wild during wintertime? Ullr (Ull/Ollerus) is heavily associated with winter, this seems to be when he mainly was thought to appear.

        Ullr was described as beautiful and very skilled in the art of combat. A master archer. Justice and oath-keeping is also associated with him, as you too pointed out. His name means “glory” and he is heavily associated with light and the sun – so as such he is far from the sort of “winter god” one tends to imagine. This is not a Father Winter, grey and old, this is a glorious, beautiful man with great skill and strength.

        I personally can’t help wondering about a potential linguistic connection between the names – Apollon – Ollerus – Ullr really doesn’t seem that far fetched. But I haven’t yet looked into that so might be a hunch without a steady linguistic foundation, would need to do some more research on that point.

        I really don’t know yet what I myself think of the theory, other than recognizing that it’s interesting. Ullr has been on my mind a lot lately and I am just trying to piece everything together!

      • Hmmm interesting. Another website I ran into also talked of some speculations regarding death via his association with the yew tree which is both used for bows but is also a toxic tree that is often grown in cemetaries. Apollon was not associated with the yew that I have noted but was associated with the black poplar which has certain connections with that function too. It is certainly interesting to speculate. I fear I know next to nothing about linguistics to comment at all regarding any name connections sadly. Interestingly in Hellas is the god of the summer season (as noted by Pausanias in Arkadia) but that would correlate with being a winter god during his northern retreat certainly

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