Pan - Greek mythology - The myth of Pan -

Pan - Greek mythology - The myth of Pan -

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Detail of the photo below

There are numerous legends that are told around the figure of the god Pan. Some claim he was the son ofZeusand of Callisto others ofHermesand of the nymph Driope (or Penelope) who, immediately after giving birth to him, abandoned him so much she was horrified by his ugliness. It was in fact Pan, more like an animal than a man in that the body was covered with bristly hair; yellowed fangs protruded from the mouth; the chin was covered with a thick beard; on the forehead it had two horns and instead of feet it had two goat hooves.

Pan and Dafni Heliodorus (III-II century BC)
marble, Roman copy of a Greek original, Farnese Collection, National Archaeological Museum, Naples (Italy)

Hermes, merciless from this child to whom nature had certainly not given any grace, decided to take him to Olympus in the presence of the other gods, where, despite his appearance, he was welcomed with kindness. Pan in fact had a jovial and courteous character and all the gods rejoiced in his presence (2). In particularDionysushe welcomed him with greater enthusiasm so much that he became one of his favorite companions and together they made raids through the woods and the countryside, enjoying each other's company.

Pan was basically a sylvan god who loved nature, loved to laugh and play. He loved and seduced many women including the nymph Eco and Piti, the goddess Artemis and Syringe, daughter of the river god Ladone, with whom he fell madly in love. The girl, however, not only did not share his love but when she saw him she fled in horror, terrified by his goat appearance. She ran and ran Syringe chased by Pan and realizing that she could not escape him she began to pray to her father to change her appearance so that Pan could not recognize her. Ladone, tormented by his daughter's prayers, turned her into a reed near a large swamp.

Pan tried in vain to grab her but the transformation happened before her eyes. Afflicted, he embraced the reeds but there was nothing more he could do for Syringe. At that point he severed the barrel, cut it into many pieces of different lengths and tied them together. He thus manufactured a musical instrument to which he gave the name of "syringe" (which to posterity is also known as the "pan flute") from the unfortunate girl who, in order not to submit to his love, was condemned to live forever as a reed .

Ovid (Metamorphosis) narrates: «Pan who, while returning from the Lyceum hill, saw her, her head surrounded by pine spikes, said these words to her ...». And there was nothing left but to tell them: how the nymph, deaf to prayers, fled through inaccessible places, until she reached the calm currents of sandy Ladone; how here, preventing the river from running further, invoked the sisters of the water to change its shape; like Pan, when she thought she had already grabbed Syringe, would squeeze a tuft of marsh reeds in place of her body and melt into sighs: then the wind, vibrating in the reeds, produced a delicate sound, similar to a moan and the god enchanted by the completely new sweetness of that music: "So, so I will continue to talk to you," he said, and, having welded together some unequal reeds with wax, he kept the name of his girl on the instrument.

Pan playing the flute, Fresco, Royal Palace of Caserta (Italy)

Since then Pan went back to wandering in the woods, running and dancing with the nymphs and to frighten the wayfarers who crossed the woods: in fact, the deaf noises that were heard at night were attributed to the god (hence the saying "panic fear" or simply "panic" ).

Here is how the light-hearted Luciano (Dialoghi VIII) describes it:

«Bread (N R. alias Pan). Good of, oh Father Mercury
Mercury. Good of; but how am I a father to you?
P. Aren't you the Cilennium Mercury?
M. Yes, they are; but how are you my son?
P. I am your bastard, and born of love
M. By Jupiter! bastard perhaps of a beak and a goat. You, my, if you have horns, and that nose, and a beard
shaggy, and the forked feet and goats, and the tail on the buttocks?
P. With these insults that you say to me you demonstrate the ugliness of your son, or father. they look better on you,
that you know how to make children of this grace. What is my fault?
M. Who do you keep as a mother? Or would I have mugged a goat myself?
P. Not a goat, but remember well, if you ever did violence to a free girl in Arcadia. You bite your finger:
what are you looking for? and don't you remember? Icarus's daughter, Penelope.
M. And why did she make you not like me, but like a goat?
P. I will tell you his words. When she sent me to Arcadia, she said to me: O son, I am your mother
penelope Spartana; and know that your father is the god Mercury, offspring of Maia and Jupiter.
If you have horns and forked feet, don't be sorry; because when your father mixed with me,
to hide, he took the likeness of a goat; and yet you came like a goat.
M. For Jupiter. I remember a certain escapism. Therefore I, who am proud for beauty, and am still beardless,
I will be called your father, and at my expense I will make people laugh for such beautiful sonship.
P. I do not shame you, father; because I am a musician, and I know how to play the syringe very well.
Bacchus can do nothing without me, and he made me his companion and agitator of the thyrsus, and I lead him in the dances.
If you saw my flocks, as many as I have in Arcadia and on the Partenio, you would be very happy.
I am lord in all of Arcadia. Lately I gave myself a great help to the Athenians, and I fought hard
value to Maratona, who gave me a cavern under the citadel as a prize. If you come to Athens sometimes,
you will hear who is Bread.
M. Tell me, did you take away your wife, or Bread? so it seems to me that they call you
P. No, father: I am fiery, and I would not be happy with one
M. And you certainly catch goats
P. You motteggi, I amuse myself: with Echo, with Piti, and with all the Maenads of Bacchus: and they love me a great deal.
M. Do you know, oh son, what you will do to me most pleasantly, and what I ask of you?
P. Command, O Father: let's see
M. Come to me, and embrace me as well; but beware of calling me father in front of the others ».

Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli


  1. In Latin mythology, Pan is identified with Faun, god of the countryside and the woods
  2. From here some interpreters derive the name of Pan; in fact, in Greek the adjective Pan means everything

Pan - Greek mythology - The myth of Pan -

The God Pan (in ancient Greek: Πάν, Pan) was, in the religions of ancient Greece, a non-Olympic divinity with the appearance of a satyr linked to the woods and nature. He was usually recognized as the son of the god Hermes and the nymph Driope.

In the Roman religion there is a divinity that has many similarities with the representation of Pan, it is the god Silvano. Fauns were also identified with Pan or satyrs.

Pan, Syringe and the history of the flute

Pan and Syringe near the Ladone river

Shortly after his transfer to the Chillene, Pan he met a nymph named Syringe. The god fell in love immediately, but the nymph did not respond to his feelings. The god thus chased her up the mountain and through the valleys since Syringe came to the banks of the river Ladone, his parent: "I beg you father, save me from PanHe said, and his father changed it to a gnarled rush. The exhausted god reached her and involuntarily blew on the reeds of the plant and heard a sweet sound of satisfaction.

"This relationship between us must never cease", after which, by welding several rods of different lengths together with the help of wax, he perpetuated the name of the nymph through the instrument " (Ovid, Metamorphosis, I book).

James Hillman's vision

Greek mythology 'hosts archetypes in the form of gods', argues James Hillman (1926-2011) in 'Essay on Pan' (Adelphi ed., Milan 1977). According to the American psychotherapist philosopher, in this cosmogony Pan plays the role of the unconscious tout-court. This is our starting point to investigate, through the myth, the contents of art, when it is the result of that unconscious material which represents its primary constituent substance.


  • 1 Etymology and elements of the cult
  • 2 Pan in mythology
    • 2.1 Pan in the Titanomachy: the origins of Capricorn
    • 2.2 Pan and the Nymphs
      • 2.2.1 Pan and the nymph Syringe
  • 3 Pan in literature
  • 4 Pan in mass culture
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 Bibliography
  • 7 Related items
  • 8 Other projects
  • 9 External links

The name Πάν derives from the Greek paein, that is "to graze", and in fact Pan was the shepherd god, the god of the countryside, of the woods and pastures. However, the name is similar to πᾶν, which means "all" [1]. The mythological figure follows the Vedic solar hero Pushan, whose name, from the Sanskrit verb pūṣyati, would mean "he who makes one prosper". It is also assimilated to Phanes (Φάνης, from φαίνω phainō , "who bears the light"), another name of Protogonos (Πρωτογόνος, "first born"). In fact, in some myths he is described as the oldest of the Olympians, if it is true that he had drunk the milk from Amalthea with Zeus, raised the dogs of Artemis and taught Apollo the art of divination. It was also famously associated with Fauno, the male version (later son, brother or husband, depending on the myth) of Fauna, and as such was the spirit of all natural creatures, later also linked to the forest, the abyss, the deep .

The noun derives from its name panic, originally panic fear or terror panic, as the god was angry with anyone who disturbed him by uttering terrifying screams, thus causing uncontrolled fear. Pausanias writes that the Gauls, sacking Greece, saw the statue of the god Pan in the temple of Delphi, and were so frightened by it, that they fled some stories tell us that Pan himself was seen fleeing for the fear he caused himself. But the most famous myth linked to this characteristic is the titanomachy, during which Pan saves the Olympians by emitting a scream and making Delfine flee.

God with strong sexual connotations - even Pan in fact like Dionysus and Priapus was generally represented with a large phallus - recently Pan has been indicated as the god of masturbation, by James Hillman, a well-known American psychologist, who claims Pan is the inventor of non-procreative sexuality.
In fact Pan, finding mating difficulties due to his appearance, used to exert his generating force through masturbation, as well as with sexual violence. He was a powerful and savage god, depicted with goat legs and horns, shaggy legs and hooves, while the torso is human, the face bearded and with a terrible expression. He roams the woods, often chasing the nymphs, as he plays and dances. It is very agile, quick in running and unbeatable in jumping.
He is mainly referred to as god Lord of the fields and forests in the midday hour, he protects the flocks and herds, the tops of the mountains are sacred to him. Traditionally, he wears a nebris, a fawn skin.

As a god linked to the earth and to the fertility of the fields, he is linked to the Moon, and to the forces of the great Mother. Among the myths that accompany him is one that sees him as a seducer of Selene, to whom he presented himself hiding the goat's hair under a white fleece. The Goddess did not recognize him and agreed to the union. Pan is a generous and good-natured god, always ready to help those who ask for his help.

This pagan god would later be taken up by the Christian Church to use his image as an iconographic of Satan.
A legend tells that in the Golden Age Pan arrived in Lazio, where it was hosted by the god Saturn.
In Greece the presence of the god is placed in Arcadia.

Pan's genealogy is controversial. The most accredited is that of the Homeric Hymn, in which the god Hermes and the goddess Persephone are indicated as parents.

  • Legend has it that the nymph Driope fled terrified by the deformed appearance of her son, while the god Hermes picked him up and, lovingly wrapped him in a hare skin, took him to Olympus to amuse the gods, thus causing the hilarity of Dionysus.

Another myth wants him to be the son of Penelope and all her suitors, the Suitors, with whom she would have had relations while waiting for her husband Ulysses. According to Herodotus (The stories: book II chapters 145 and 146) was instead the son of Penelope and of the god Hermes.

  • According to others, he was the son of Hermes and the goat Amalthea.
  • According to other sources he was the son of a love between Zeus and the nymph Callisto from whom Pan and Arcade were born. In another source it is believed to be born of Zeus and Ybris, pure abstraction.
  • Another version, supported by Hyginus, states that Zeus, after joining a goat named Beroe, gave her a son, the god Egipan, or the goat form of Pan.

One of his myths tells of his love for the nymph Echo from whom two daughters, Iambe and Iunce, were born.
Pan did not live on Olympus: he was an earthly god who loved the woods, meadows and mountains. He preferred to wander the mountains of Arcadia, where he grazed flocks and raised bees. Pan was a perpetually cheerful god, revered but also feared. Viscerally linked to nature and the pleasures of the flesh, Pan is the only god with a myth about his death. Plutarch, in his De defectu oraculorum, in fact, says that, during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (14–37), the news of Pan's death was revealed to this Tamo (Thamus), a Phoenician merchant who on his ship bound for Italy heard shouts from the shores of Paxos: "Tamo, when you arrive in Palodes, announce to everyone that the great god Pan is dead!". Scholars are divided between historical and allegorical significance. According to Robert Graves, (the Greek myths chapter 26 paragraph g and note 5) for example, the cry was not Thamous, Pan i megas tethneke, "Tamo, the great god Pan is dead", but Tammuz Panmegas tethneke, "The omnipresent Tammuz is dead", that is the Babylonian god of nature, Graves in note 5 also reports that Plutarch (de defectu oraculorum 17) believed this story and reported it, instead Pausanias in his Journey to Greece about a century later quoting Plutarch testifies that the sanctuaries dedicated to Pan were still very popular.

The Christian authors reporting this episode put it in relation to the end of a dark polytheistic era, of which to have "fear panic", (it is no coincidence that the features and attributes of the devil, goat foot, tail and horns are the same as Pan ) and at the beginning of a new world under the light of Christ, who died precisely under the empire of Tiberius (thus Eusebius of Caesarea in his Praeparatio Evangelica).

Pan in the Titanomachy: the origins of Capricorn Edit

Pan participated in the Titanomachy, having a fundamental role had to escape faster than all in the victory of Zeus over Typhon.

Typhon was a monster who was born of Gaea and Tartarus, who wanted to take revenge for the death of their children, the Giants.
When he attempted to conquer Mount Olympus, the Gods fled in terror from this monster. They went to Egypt, where they took on animal forms to hide better:

  • Zeus became a ram,
  • Aphrodite became fish,
  • Apollo became a raven,
  • Dionysus became a goat,
  • Hera became a white cow,
  • Artemis became a cat,
  • Ares became a boar,
  • Hermes became an ibis,
  • Pan turned only her lower part into a fish and hid in a river.

Only Athena did not hide, and disparaging the other gods convinced her father Zeus to go into battle against the monster. Although the god was armed, the monster managed to get the better of him, and locked him in the cave where Gea had generated him. With his Spire Typhon had severed the tendons of his hands and feet, which he had then entrusted to his sister Delfine, whose body ended in the tail of a snake.
The god Pan scared this creature with a tremendous scream, and Hermes stole the sinews of Zeus from her.
Zeus recovered his strength, and his tendons, threw himself on a chariot pulled by winged horses against Typhon, targeting him with lightning.
Zeus managed to kill the monster, and buried it under Mount Etna, which since then emits the fire caused by all the lightning used in battle, as told by Pseudo-Apollodorus.
To thank Pan, Zeus made sure that his appearance was visible in the sky. Thus he created Capricorn.

Pan and the Nymphs Edit

Pan is a god with a strong sexual connotation, he loved both women and men, and if he could not possess the object of his passion he abandoned himself to onanism.
Many mythological tales tell us about this god and his relationship with the Nymphs he tried to possess. So much so that these were saved only by transforming themselves, even if they often did not disdain the attentions of the god.

  • Eco generated with him Iunge and Iambe, only to fall in love with Narciso and yearn for him until he became just a voice.
  • Eufeme, nurse of the muses, had Croto, the inventor of applause.

The myth tells us the names of other of these nymphs: Pitis, Selene. The most important is perhaps Syringe.

Pan and the Nymph Syringe Edit

One of Pan's most famous myths concerns the origins of his distinctive musical instrument. Syringe was a beautiful one water nymph of Arcadia, daughter of the river god Ladone. One day, returning from hunting, he met Pan. To escape her harassment, the nymph ran away without listening to the god's compliments. He ran through the woods until he found a reeds and praying he turned into a reed. As the wind blew through the reeds, a plaintive melody was heard. The god, still infatuated, unable to identify which reed Syringe had become, took some and cut seven pieces of decreasing length (some versions claim nine) and joined them side by side. Thus he created the musical instrument that bore the name of his beloved Syringe. Since then Pan was rarely seen without it.

Gabriele d'Annunzio, inAlcyone, draws a close parallel between the god Pan and himself, identifying in the god the perfect symbiosis between man and nature, therefore called "panism".

The figure of Pan has also had considerable success in the literary field, there are countless works that speak of this god. In the book Essay on Pan by James Hillman, the author draws a clear contrast between the figure of Pan and that of Christ.

Pan also appears in the Percy Jackson saga.

In the Middle Ages Pan and its aspects were demonized by Christianity, so much so that in the following centuries the devil in Western culture gradually assumed the iconographic features of this ancient divinity [2] [3]: horns, goat legs, pointed beard.

As Professor Ronald Hutton explains, in his fundamental study on Wicca [4], starting from the romantic era, especially in England, the figure of Pan was however enormously re-evaluated. In a world headed towards industrialization and the progressive destruction of the natural environment, as a reaction there was a search for the purity of the origins and so the romantic Pan almost became the god of nature par excellence.

The subsequent revaluation step is explained by Hutton with the works of the anthropologist Margaret Murray: the god became the focus of the author's studies and in particular of one of her very controversial theses, according to which Pan was at the center of a pagan cult, survived the advent of Christianity, a cult later cataloged and persecuted by the Inquisition as witchcraft. Following these premises, the figure of Pan was then syncretized with that of other horned deities such as Dionysus and Cernunnos, becoming the main deity of today's Wicca religion.

Pan - Greek mythology - The myth of Pan -

Deity of Greek mythology, god of the mountains and rural life. His cult was originally in Arcadia. In the Homeric hymn dedicated to him, he is called the son of Hermes and the nymph Driope, companion of Dionysus and the mountain nymphs, protector of herds, lover of dance and music. Equipped with horns and goat feet, he loves woods and springs and is the patron saint of meridian rest, during which he is capable of instilling the fear of 'panic'.

The cult of P., which spread (5th century BC) from Attica to the rest of Greece and Sicily, reached its peak in the Alexandrian age. Only later was P. considered a universal god due to a false etymology of his name (τὸ πᾶν, "the whole").

In the Attic art of the 5th century. B.C. the figure of P. had a feral and frightening aspect, then the bestial characters were attenuated until they reached a more good-natured aspect.

The smallest and innermost of Saturn's satellites, discovered in 1985 by reworking data collected by Voyager probes.

Mammal genus Pongidae primates which includes only the chimpanzee.

Video: The Greek God Pan u0026 The Garden of Eden. Adam u0026 Eve Quick Breakdown


  1. Gardashicage

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  2. Ashraf

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