Apollo Soranus and the Dead

In investigating more into this aspect of Apollon for a specific icon project, I had come across coins bearing his image. This is, as far as I can tell, the only surviving images of Apollo Soranus. There we find our god in youthful visage, sometimes with a laurel wreath on his head or with a laurel bough extending over him.  He wears too a simple crown that usually has a serpent around it. Above his brow is a star and a pickax to the side.

Some of these symbols may seem unusual for Apollo, or at least uncommon for his iconic images.  However on contimplation it makes sense, especially give the strong Pelopennesian colinization in Southern Italy. The chthonic character of Apollon  is perhaps more apparent in that part of Hellas than elsewhere. Here we have Apollon has appeared as a serpent, even though the crown of Apollon Soranus has some clear Delphic links showing common imagery with the headress of the Python Delphyne (which makes some sense as in some regards his temple there was considered parallel in nature to Delphi. But it is in the Pelopnesse that we find direct references to Apollon as a tomb god most directly (though we also have inscriptions from tombs in Ionia). I believe that this is what the pickax represents, carving away rock not only to establish foundations but also to carve out tombs and catacomb chambers as we find attached particularly to Soranus. He lays to its final rest the flesh which decays and returns to the earth, releasing the soul feom the flesh. He annoints them and prepares their beds.

And the wolves sing at these barriers, of day and night, life and death. They sing at the twilight. The wolves represent his fluid movement where he dwells at the boundaries. Bring forth the dead, o lord of wolves, bring forth the dead freed by your hand. You who dwell at the starry axis of the heavens.  Hail to you O lord.


Lykeia is a priestess of Apollon, sculptor, painter and poet.



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