Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus and Leto. Born in the little island of Delos he has been called "the most Greek of all the gods." He is a beautiful figure in Greek poetry, the master musician who delights the gods of Olympus with his golden lyre. He is the Archer-god, master of the silver bow. He is the god of Light, in all the gods, like in men, there is a continuous struggle between good and evil, their light and dark sides, whatever the proportion of one to the other might be; in Apollo there was almost no darkness at all, his primitive and cruel side was shown only briefly and in very few myths. He is also the god of Truth, no false word ever fell from his lips, because of this his oracle at Delphi was very important to people, serving ad a link between men and gods. He was also the Healer- god, who first taught men medicine and the art of healing.
One of his more important daily tasks was to drive the Sun across the sky in his golden chariot. Sometimes he is called the son-god and Helios is said to be one of his many names, but in other myths Helios is separate god, the son of the titan Hyperion. One of Apollo's great deeds for mankind was his killing of the serpent Python, who lived in the caves of Parnassus after the Great Flood, because of this he was sometimes called Pythian. In the Iliad he is also called "the Sminthian", the Mouse-god, but it is unknown whether it was because he protected or destroyed mice.
Apollo is usually shown as a manly, beardless youth of great beauty, his head crowned with laurel leaves, either the bow or his lyre in his hand. His tree was the laurel. Many creatures were sacred to him, chief among them the dolphin and the crow. One of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes, was actually a statue of Apollo. Many festivals were held in his honor, the most famous of which were the Pythian Games, celebrated at Delphi every three years.
He had a huge temple in Didyma which became rival to the one in Delfi.