What do we know about Apollo? According to ancient Greek writers, mainly
Homer and Hesiod writing in the 600s to 700s BCE, we are told that
originally there were 12 Titans -- The Immortals -- 6 gods and 6 goddesses.
They "married" one another and then we have a genealogy:
We can see that Apollo was a 3rd generation Immortal. Apollo was
sometimes called Phoebus Apollo after his maternal grandmother. It so
happens that there were three building stages at Stonehenge, approximately
put at about 2,750 BCE, 2,000 BCE and 1,900 BCE. This might reflect the
eras of the Immortal generations as Hecateus tells us Apollo's mother Leto
was born in Britain. It may even be that the first Stonehenge was the
"temple" (which means 'house of god') or residence of Helios (a Titan and a
Sun God before Apollo), and all the later improvements were made by
Apparently many of the greater Immortals had more than one residence.
Apollo's shrine at the
Temple of Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus in Greece was the most
famous in antiquity and was consulted by Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and
the rulers of the eastern countries.
Apollo's interests and responsibilities were said to be archery, flocks and
herds, medicine, music, and prophecy. Prophecy may relate to Stonehenge
since being a sun god may have meant what we would call being an
astronomer. That might explain why the summer solstice was marked by the
sun rising over the so-called Heel stone at Stonehenge. This knowledge of
celestial events and ability to predict them probably degenerated over
human time into what came to be called prophecy and extended into
requests made to priests at Delphi and elsewhere for predictions or
prophecies about many things, not just celestial events.
Another interest or responsibility of Apollo, flocks and herds, was said by
some to include his consuming interest in breeding fast horses. This may
relate to the so-called White Horse of Uffington which is apparently stretched
at full gallop. This is only 37 miles from Stonehenge. It cannot be seen
properly from the ground. Apparently it was meant to be seen from the air.
The Uffington White Horse hill figure is 360 feet long, a very surrealistic
horse, if that's what it's meant to be.
As late as 200 years ago the village folk in the area held festivals every 7
years at which time they trimmed and cleared the growing grass from the
chalk figure. This "scouring" was a custom or ritual they had followed from
time immemorial. What a compelling force it must have been
originally that caused these descendant humans to continue thousands of
years later with this unproductive task when it provided them with no
particular benefit. You can see the artistic and imaginative quality of the
Uffington White Horse of the Neolithic Civilization in
contrast to this childish hack, picked out on a hill side about 200 years
ago and fully visible from the ground: