utorak, 5. travnja 2011.

Pan - Greek God

Pan is distinctive among the Greek gods because of his hybrid human-animal form (theriomorphism).

The earliest images of Pan, in bronze sculpture and in a Boiotian vase painting of the early fifth century, show a goat-headed god with a human torso atop a goat’s hind legs.

Originally a guardian of the goats whose character he shares, he achieved Panhellenic status only in the fifth century, when his cult was introduced from Arkadia to Athens and rapidly diffused to the rest of the Greek world.

Many etymologies have been put forward for his name, which is also known in the compound form Aigipan (Goat-Pan). The most convincing makes it a cognate of Latin pastor, so that Pan is “one who grazes the flocks.”In Arkadia itself, Pan’s myth and cult were not standardized.

There were conflicting views of his genealogy, the most common being that he was the son of Zeus and twin of the national hero Arkas, or that he was the son of Hermes and Penelope. His connection with Zeus sprang from their association on Mt. Lykaion, the sacred mountain of the Arkadians.

Pan possessed a sanctuary on the south slopes of Lykaion, where in keeping with his identity as both goat and goatherd, he offered asylum to any animal being pursued by a wolf (lukos). A votive dump excavated here revealed many late Archaic and early Classical bronze figures, cut-out plaques, and terracottas with subjects reminiscent of those at Kato Symi: hunters, men carrying animals for sacrifice, and Hermes. Both youthful and mature males are depicted, and the bronzes include dead foxes, a standard courtship gift presented by adult males to their favorite youths. Inscribed pots show that the sanctuary was sacred to Pan, whose role as a god of the hunt and Master of Animals made him well suited, like Hermes, to sponsor maturation rituals.

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