My last trip to the sea was over a year ago. I learned to scuba dive in the Philippines (and then saw the sea from Busan in South Korea on my way home). It was an incredible experience that allowed me to feel the grace and power of Poseidon, Amphitrite, and so many others. I wish I could go diving now, but alas, pandemic. I am stuck in a landlocked city.
Apollon also has connections to the sea and some of the various sea gods. I will attempt a short exploration of that side of him today. If any of these epithets sound interesting or inspirational to you, I do hope that you’ll consider exploring them for the devotional. There is no current deadline in the CfS because submissions trickle in too slowly. When I do have enough material, I will publish the volume. I realize that this devotional is quite different and has different requirements than others out there, so please do follow the directions. If your submission is off-topic, I won’t be able to include it no matter how good it is.
So, Apollon and the Sea.
‘Ακτιοσ – As Apollon Aktios, he is a god of the foreshore, seashore, or coast (whichever translation you like). He shares this epithet with Pan. In Actium, once upon a time, Apollon Aktios “cast aside his lyre, took his stand above the ship of Augustus, and flashed an unexpected light into the face of the enemy, while he grasped his bow and exhausted his quiver in defense of Rome and Augustus.” This anecdote was relayed by Propertius, and you can read more about it in the Transactions of the American Philological Association. There was a temple to him built there in Actium and another on the Palatine Hill in Rome, where he was called Phoebus of the Sea (Navali Phoebo).
‘Αποβατήριος – As Apollon Apobaterios, he is a god who protects travelers as they disembark from a ship. He shares this epithet with this twin sister, Artemis and his father, Zeus. There was an inscription to Apollon Apobaterios found at a temple in Cyrene. Dio (63.19.2) relayed the story of how Emperor Nero, after surviving a shipwreck, made an offering to Apollon Apobaterios as the God of Safe Landing.
Δελφίνιος – As Apollon Delphinios, he is a god of dolphins and of sailors, among other things.
Εμβασιόσ – As Apollon Embassios, he is a god of embarkation. He is who is prayed and offered to when people embark on journeys ask that he keep them safe. If you would like to see this epithet in use by characters praying and making offerings to Apollon in ancient literature, try The Argonautica.
Έπιβατήριος – As Apollon Epibaterios, he is a god who conducts people aboard a ship, as well as being a god of seafaring in general. In Troezene, there was a temple dedicated to Apollon Epibaterios founded by Diomedes in thanks for escaping a storm which befell the Greeks on their way home from Troy.
Έύρυαλος – As Apollon Euryalos, he is the a god of the wide sea.
Μυρτώω – As Apollon Myrtoos, he may be a god of myrtle trees or of a particular grove of myrtle trees, but the stretch of sea between the Peloponnese and the Cyclades is also connected to this name. In Cyrene, Emperor Nero also made an offering to Apollon under this epithet, and it could have been just an offering to him under a local epithet, but it could also have been an indication of where Nero’s shipwreck took place. You can read more about this Two Notes Concerning Nero by Keith R. Bradley.
Σαληγενα – As Apollon Saligena, he is rising from the sea. This epithet refers to his birth on the island of Delos.
I wrote a bit about connections between Apollon and Poseidon here. There are also a number of sea gods that share similar functions with Apollon under the epithets explained above, but that will have to be another post for another day.