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Apollo and the Serpent Python

One of the 12 Olympians of Greek Myth, Apollo is the god of light, youth, beauty, and prophesy. One of Apollo's great deeds was the killing of the serpent Python, the feared beast residing in the hills near Delphi. Apollo came down from Mount Olympus and with his silver bow and golden arrows and slayed the beast in one shot to save the people of the land. In remembrance of his deed, it's said that Apollo created the Pythian Games, held every four years. Today we have a very similar form of games in the form of the olympics. After taking control of the oracle from Python, he bestowed special abilities of prophecy upon one of his priestesses and named her Pythia.

Apollo is also well known for his big mistake in mocking a fellow god. One day he made fun of Eros, saying he had no archery skill and was too small to have much significance. Eros then shot an arrow at Apollo, making him infatuated with the sea nymph Daphne. He then shot another arrow at Daphne which made her unable to love anyone. Apollo continuously pursued Daphne until she finally called for help from a river god and she was changed into a laurel tree before Apollo could get to her. This is why the laurel is his sacred tree.

Another interesting myth about Apollo is his love for another guy...a mortal by the name of Cyparissus, descendent of Heracles. As a token of his love, Apollo gave to Cyparissus a deer. Cyparissus and the deer were close companions until Cyparissus accidentally threw a javelin into the deer, killing it. Cyparissus begged Apollo to let him die and allow his tears to forever fall. With that, Apollo turned him into a tree...a Cypress. The sap of the tree falls like that of tears.

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto. He was also the twin brother of Artemis.