The Greek gods


   Nilsson finds Apollo to have been associated originally with the Hittites.  The Hittites were Indo-European people who came to Asia Minor when the Homeric Greeks were going down to the Greek peninsula, so there is an actual ancestral relationship.  The Hittites came into the Aegean area and entered into a different context of relationships from the Greeks.  Apollo was on the Trojan side in the war of Troy, and it is now since believed that he stems ultimately from Yazilikaya, Porsuk Çayi, and Alaca Höyük – areas within the Hittite domain. 

   At the entrance to a great mountain sanctuary of Yazilikaya in Turkey stands the image (Fig. 74) of the Hittite god Sharruma protecting the king.  Now, regarding such sanctuaries, we have seen the motif before of the guardians – lions or leopards – representing the threshold from the world of secular experience into the transcendent realm.  The Hittite word upolon means “gate” or “wall-guardian,” and Nilsson suggests this is the antecedent of Apollo.  Likewise, Nilsson argues that the Babylonian word ubulu, which also means “gate,” is a linguistic support to this matter of Apollo’s background as representing a threshold guardian, a protecting figure at the entrance to shrines. 

   When the Greeks incorporated him into their pantheon, Apollo came to be identified as Artemis’s twin brother – the god of human culture to balance the nature goddess. 

   Another role of Apollo is as sun god Phoebus Apollo.  Here he is driving the chariot of the sun across the sky (Fig. 80 page 125), sunrays encircling his head, while ephebes (the little star-boys) fall into the sea.  This is an example of how a number of different deities have been brought together into one, and then the whole mythology becomes something that wasn’t there before.   G 126