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By (Deity) Apollo; (Deity) Apollo; Graf, Fritz

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But in the world of Greek warrior ideology, archery is a problematic affair. A fight with spear and sword is straightforward, involves direct physical contact and needs as much courage as it needs training. The hoplite, the warrior in heavy armor, is the ideal Greek fighter. Most heroes in myth and often in cult are such warriors, and to fight in full armor in the hoplites’ closed line is the task and the pride of the fully adult citizen. Archers have a special talent that others might lack, and they certainly need much training, but they are sneaky and cannot be trusted.

IV 164). And it seems that the Greeks too had their problem with the term. But the need for an explanation must have arisen early, especially with an author such as Homer whose text was so important for the education and selfdefinition of the Greeks: already the rhapsodes who, in Archaic and Classical Greece, recited their Homer from memory, were asked questions about the meaning of strange words in their text. They had to have answers; they were, after all, public personalities. The epithet Smintheus, as the learned commentators tell us, would derive from the word for mouse in the local dialect.

His weapon is the bow, and his craft is archery; but he is also a boxer and an accomplished musician whose instrument is the lyre, and whose preferred song is the paean which is accompanied by dancing. His sanctuaries are often outside human settlements, and they often have the appearance of a sacred grove, with an altar but no temple; on the other hand one of the first and most impressive stone temples in Greece was his. And finally, he is the patron of divination: he is Zeus’ favorite son, as Athene is Zeus’ favorite daughter, and as such he has access to Zeus’ will and is willing to mediate this access to humans.

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