Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 27

The walls of Troy.

Apollo, after endowing Admetus with immortality, left his service, and went to assist Neptune, who had also been banished to earth, to build the walls of Troy. Scorning to perform any menial tasks, the God of Music seated himself near by, and played such inspiring tunes that the stones waltzed into place of their own accord.

Apollo slays Python.

Then, his term of exile being ended, he returned to heaven, and there resumed his wonted duties. From his exalted position he often cast loving glances down upon men, whose life he had shared for a short time, whose every privation he had endured; and, in answer to their prayers, he graciously extended his protection over them, and delivered them from misfortunes too numerous to mention. Among other deeds done for men was the slaying of the monster serpent Python, born from the slime and stagnant waters which remained upon the surface of the earth after the Deluge. None had dared approach the monster; but Apollo fearlessly drew near, and slew him with his golden shafts. The victory over the terrible Python won for Apollo the surname of Pytheus (the Slayer), by which appellation he was frequently invoked.

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APOLLO BELVEDERE. (Vatican, Rome.)

This annihilation of Python is, of course, nothing but an [67] allegory, illustrating the sun’s power to dry up marshes and stagnant pools, thus preventing the lurking fiend malaria from making further inroads.

Apollo has always been a favorite subject for painters and sculptors. The most beautiful statue of him is the Apollo Belvedere, which represents him at the moment of his conquest of the Python.