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Apollo, Helios, and the Solstices in the Athenian, Delphian, and Delian Calendars

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Abstract The mythical narrative of Apollo’s northern voyage and the place of his festivals in several Greek calendars, reflected also in local ritual practice, seems to reflect certain elements in his nature best explained through his association with the sun, more precisely, the annual solar movement. The association was noted long ago, but a selective analysis will show that both the narrative and the ritual reflect the model of annual solar motion expressed in terms of a suspended reference, a mythical metaphor, a linear narrative defined both by the very nature of language and the celestial phenomenon it is describing. The analysis of various Greek calendars supports the notion of the solstices as the most important defining moments in the annual solar motion, and their connection with Apollo reflects precisely this fact.

Affiliations: 1: Archaeological Museum in Zagreb Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square 19, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia tbilic@amz.hr

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