34. Ἀπόλλωνος, θυμίαμα μάνναν.
Ἐλθέ, μάκαρ Παιάν, Τιτυοκτόνε, Φοῖβε Λυκωρεῦ,
Come, Blessed Healer, slayer of Tityos, Phoibe’s Lycian flow,
Μεμφῖτ', ἀγλαότιμε, ἰήιε, ὀλβιοδῶτα,
Gloriously honored in Memphis, whole life-giving,
χρυσολύρη, σπερμεῖε, ἀρότριε, Πύθιε, Τιτάν,
Golden-lyred, seed-ploughing Pythian Titan,
Γρύνειε, Σμινθεῦ, Πυθοκτόνε, Δελφικέ, μάντι,
Grynion, Smintheion, and Delphic mantic python-slayer,
ἄγριε, φωσφόρε δαῖμον, ἐράσμιε, κύδιμε κοῦρε,
Agrarian light-bearer, divine beloved celebrated son,
Μουσαγέτα, χαροποιέ, ἑκηβόλε, τοξοβέλεμνε,
The Muses’ charming archer, bow launcher,
Βράγχιε καὶ Διδυμεῦ, ἑκάεργε, Λοξία, ἁγνέ,
From the Branchidae of Didyma, out of stillness, oblique, pure
Δήλι' ἄναξ, πανδερκὲς ἔχων φαεσίμβροτον ὄμμα,
Delian Commander, all-seeing foundation, mortal light’s eye,
χρυσοκόμα, καθαρὰς φήμας χρησμούς τ' ἀναφαίνων·
Gold-crowned, whose pure, prophetic prophecies bring light.
κλῦθί μευ εὐχομένου λαῶν ὕπερ εὔφρονι θυμῶι·
Call forth with these prayers, release from above your kindly-disposed spirit,
τόνδε σὺ γὰρ λεύσσεις τὸν ἀπείριτον αἰθέρα πάντα
Reach out, look upon us, extend unbroken and aetherial over all of
γαῖάν τ' ὀλβιόμοιρον ὕπερθέ τε καὶ δι' ἀμολγοῦ,
Gaia, the blessed Fates above, too, and from starry
νυκτὸς ἐν ἡσυχίαισιν ὑπ' ἀστεροόμματον ὄρφνην
Night within the silence above, astral Mother’s darkness,
ῥίζας νέρθε δέδορκας, ἔχεις δέ τε πείρατα κόσμου
The root of Earth’s sight, foundation of the pierced cosmos
παντός· σοὶ δ' ἀρχή τε τελευτή τ' ἐστὶ μέλουσα,
Over all. Together from origin to completion let festal melodies
παντοθαλής, σὺ δὲ πάντα πόλον κιθάρηι πολυκρέκτωι
Gladden all, synchronizing all poles, your kitharas’ many-strummed
ἁρμόζεις, ὁτὲ μὲν νεάτης ἐπὶ τέρματα βαίνων,
Harmonies, when the lowest string turns the dance,
ἄλλοτε δ' αὖθ' ὑπάτην, ποτὲ Δώριιον εἰς διάκοσμον
And then, alone, the highest, bestowed throughout the cosmos,
πάντα πόλον κιρνὰς κρίνεις βιοθρέμμονα φῦλα,
Over all poles mixing separate life-nurtured tribes.
ἁρμονίηι κεράσας τὴν παγκόσμιον ἀνδράσι μοῖραν,
Harmonically mix, then, all of the cosmos’ human fate,
μίξας χειμῶνος θέρεός τ' ἴσον ἀμφοτέροισιν,
Mix winter, summer, too, then, equally both of the two,
εἰς ὑπάτας χειμῶνα, θέρος νεάταις διακρίνας,
The height of winter, summer’s depth through separation,
Δώριον εἰς ἔαρος πολυηράτου ὥριον ἄνθος.
Give early Spring’s much-loved season of blooms.
ἔνθεν ἐπωνυμίην σε βροτοὶ κλήιζουσιν ἄνακτα,
Thence with your name, mortals herald the revival of
Πᾶνα, θεὸν δικέρωτ', ἀνέμων συρίγμαθ' ἱέντα·
Pan, divine Dike’s rotation, the winds’ piping tune.
οὕνεκα παντὸς ἔχεις κόσμου σφραγῖδα τυπῶτιν.
All, on your account, the foundation of the cosmos consigns its forms.
κλῦθι μάκαρ, σώζων μύστας ἱκετηρίδι φωνῆι.
Be open, Blessed Savior, to the mystic suppliants’ voices.
Apollo (Ἀπόλλων) is the immortal God of inspiration. He is often depicted as playing the seven-stringed lyre/kithara in the company of the Muses (Μοῦσαι), the Goddesses of inspiration. As the far-shooting archer, Apollo inspires, heals, and causes malady seemingly out of nowhere. Apollo was also associated with the establishment of new colonies, perhaps the provenance of his epithet “seed-ploughing.”
Apollo’s sanctuaries were located throughout the Hellenic world, most notably in Delphi (Δελφοί), considered in antiquity to be the navel (ὀμφαλός) of the earth. Delphi means “womb.” In ancient times Delphi was called Pytho (Πῡθώ) which means the first, most essential root foundation. Apollo slayed the serpent-Python at Delphi when he took control of its “oracle.”
Apollo inherited his dominion over Delphi through a succession of Goddesses on his mother’s side of the family tree. This is consistent with Apollo’s heritage because he was born in Lycia, a society where people traced their lineage maternally, through mothers and grandmothers, as described by Herodotus:
“They (the Lycians) name themselves after their mothers and not their fathers. If one person asks another who he is, he will recite his maternal lineage, recounting his mother and grandmother and the mothers before her.”
In the play The Eumenides the priestess of Delphi professes the heritage of deities channeled through Delphi:
“First, in this prayer of mine, I give the place of chiefest honour among the [Goddesses and G]ods to the first prophet, Earth; and after her to Themis; for she, as is told, took this oracular seat of her mother. And third in succession, with Themis’ consent and by constraint of none, another Titan, Phoebe, child of Earth, took here her seat. She bestowed it, as birth-gift, upon Phoebus, who has his name from Phoebe.”
Phoibe (φοίβη) means prophesy; inspire.
The chreestees (χρήστης, χρείστης) is the inspired priestess or “oracle” whose spoken prophecies were known as chreesmos (χρησμός). People came from all over the Hellenic world to seek the priestess’ counsel on matters ranging from the personal to the geopolitical. Mantic (μαντικός) means capable of channeling divinity.
Sanctuaries of Apollo in modern Turkey included locations in Didyma near Miletus, Sminthe near Troy, and Grynion near Myrina.
Didyma (Διδύμη) means “twin.” Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis’ major sanctuaries in Didyma were connected by a Sacred Road. The Branchidae family of priests and priestesses administered these sanctuaries.
Sminth- (Σμινθ-) means mouse, an animal associated with Apollo.
Grynion (Γρύνιον) means torch.
This hymn says that Apollo is honored in Memphis, a major capital of ancient Egypt that occupied a strategic position along the Nile River adjacent to Alexandria. The Egyptian God Horus was regarded by some writers as identical to Apollo.
Apollo’s mother Leto (Λητώ) reputedly gave birth to Apollo on Delos Island in Lycia. Delos (Δῆλος, Δᾶλος) means “disclose, make manifest.”
The Xanthos (Ξανθός) River of Lycia is so-named because of its yellow-tinged water, said to have arisen from Leto's birth travail, perhaps her divine amniotic fluid. Quintus Smyrnaeus says that the Xanthos river formed “when Lycia's stony plain was by [Leto’s] hands uptorn mid agonies of travail-throes wherein she brought to light mid bitter pangs those babes of birth divine (Apollo and Artemis)."
Tityos (Τῐτῠός) is a Giant who tried to attack Leto in Delphi. He was slain by either Apollo or Artemis and is stretched out for eternal punishment in Tartaros (Τάρτᾰρος), the deepest realm beneath the earth. The Titans (Τῑτᾶνες, Τῑτῆνες) reside in Tartaros, while the Olympians reside at the heights of Mount Olympus. Apollo’s mother, Leto, is a Titan. His father, Zeus, is an Olympian. Titan (Τιτάν) means stretch, extend.
Gaia (Γαιά) is the immortal Goddess of generative Earth and, according to Hesiod, the mother of the Heavens and the Stars.
The Moirai (Μοῒραι) are the immortal Goddesses who determine a person’s fate or “portion” of life.
Night (Νύξ) is the immortal Goddess of Night.
Pan (Πάν) is the immortal God of All, depicted as a musical, comical, rural, dancing figure. The syrinx (σῦριγξ) is a flute, a “Pan-pipe” made of reeds.
Dike (Δίκη) is the all-seeing immortal Goddess of justice who controls the “wheel” of justice.
Anemones (ἀνεμώνη) are scarlet, spring-blooming flowers associated with Aphrodite, Goddess of love, and Adonis, God of rebirth. The prefix anem- (ἀνέμ-) means “wind, winds, windy.”
Some traditions equate Apollo with Helios (Ἥλιος), the God of the sun, who is also referred to as “golden-lyred.” The references in this hymn to day and night and the seasons seem in keeping with this.
The name “Apollo” can be interpreted in a few ways.
Apo (ἀπό) means “from, away from, departure from, far from, alien from, free from, finishing off, ceasing from, leaving off.”
Lo (λῶ) means wish, desire.
Combining these syllables suggests that the name Apollo (Ἀπόλλων) could be broken down to mean: “coming from (Ἀπό) + a wish, desire (λω).”
Other words that begin with the prefix apo- (άπό-) convey the sense of something coming off from (άπό-) the base word:
- apolampo (ἀπολάμπω), to shine or beam from;
- apokueesis (ἀποκῠησις) bringing forth birth;
- apokineo (ἀποκῑνέω) move off;
- apoikeo (ἀποικέω) go away from home;
- apothrayo (ἀποθραύω) break off;
- apothlibo (ἀποθλίβω) squeeze out;
- apozeo (ἀποζέω) boil till the scum is thrown off;
- apodoreo (ἀποδωρέω) give away;
- apodrepo (ἀποδρέπω) pluck off;
- apodeemos (ἀπόδημος) away from one’s country, abroad;
- apodermatizo (ἀποδερμᾰτίζω) flay, strip skin;
- apographo (ἀπογρᾰ́φω) write off, copy;
- apogonos (ἀπόγονος) born or descended from;
- apogeios (ἀπόγειος) coming off land;
- apogalaktizo (ἀπογᾰλακτίζω) wean from the mother’s milk;
- apobolee (ἀποβολή) throwing away, jettison;
- apoblyzo (ἀποβλύζω) spirt out;
- apoblastano (ἀποβλαστάνω) shoot forth from, spring from;
- apobiosis (ἀποβιωσις) ceasing to live, death;
- apobasis (ἀπόβᾰσις) stepping off, disembarking;
- apoballo (ἀποβάλλω) throw off;
- apobaino (ἀποβαίνω) step off from a place, disembark.
Another interpretation of the name “Apollo” is as the God who transcends political boundaries: “transcending (Ἀ) + the polis (πόλ) + λων.” In this aspect, Apollo had sanctuaries all over the Greek world and the prophecies of his priestesses were held in highest regard.
 The Manna ash tree, Fraxinus Ornus.
 Herodotus, The Histories 1.173, trans. Purvis.
 Aeschylus (circa 450 BCE), Eumenides (1-10).
 Herodotus (1.46.2, 1.92.2); H.W. Parke, “The Massacre of the Branchidae, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 105 (1985), pp. 59-68, http://www.jstor.org/stable/631522?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
“Oracular responses were given by a priestess esconced above a sacred spring.” http://www.jstor.org/stable/639826?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
 Herod. ii. 144, 156 ; Diod. i. 25; Plut. de Is. et Os. 12, 61; Aelian, Hist. An. x. 14.
 Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 11. 21 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic c350 CE)
 Hesiod, Theogony 123-124.