Apollo

Apollo is the Greek god of prophecy, medicine, the sun, light, music, poetry, plague and disease, and one of the most important gods in both the Greek and Roman pantheon. He is the twin brother of Artemis and often associated with the sun (and Artemis the moon), and the son of Zeus and Leto. His name is of uncertain etymology and meaning though the ancient Greeks often associated it with the Greek apollymi meaning “to destroy”. It’s also been associated with Doric apella “wall”, later referring to an assembly. Other possible theories regarding the name link it to Indo-European apelo “strength”, Greek apolusis “to redeem”, apolousis “purification”, apoloúōn “washing”, apolúōn “delivering”, aploun “simple”, and aei bállōn “always shooting (arrows)”. However, it seems more likely that Apollo is pre-Greek in origin, perhaps related to Appaliunas, an Anatolian god  whose name possibly means “father light” or “father lion”, though it could also be related to the name of a Hittite god related to Aplu, a Hurrian and Hittite god of plague and healing; the name might be derived from Akkadian Aplu Enlil meaning “the son of Enlil”, a title given to the Mesopotamian god Nergal (who was the god of war, pestilence, and death), though I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “father light” or “father lion”. Appaliunas might also have a Luwian etymology (Luwian being an ancient language related to Anatolian and closely related to Hittite) from *appal- meaning “trap, snare, pitfall, ambush”.

Origin: Indo-European, Greek, Akkadian

Variants:

  • Apollon (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaris (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollonios (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollinaire (French)
  • Apolinary (Polish)
  • Apolinar (Spanish)
  • Apollodorus (Ancient Greek)
  • Apollodoros (Ancient Greek)

 

Female forms:

  • Apolla
  • Apollonia (Ancient Greek, Italian)
  • Apollodora (Ancient Greek)
  • Apolena (Slovak, Czech)
  • Apolonia (Spanish, Polish)
  • Apolline (French)
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