Thursday, May 7, 2015


Image from Theoi

Pan was the ancient Greek god of shepherds and flocks, born with the horns and legs of a goat and a long beard. The son of Hermes by a nymph, this god was spurned by his mother, who was afraid of the sight of this unusual newborn. Her fear on seeing him is the origin of the word panic.

Pan fell in love with a nymph called Syrinx and she too was afraid of him. To escape his attentions, she turned herself into a reed. Wanting to keep the memory of her with him, he used river reeds to create his sweet-sounding instrument, called the pan pipes, pan flute or syrinx.

According to Jason Mankey, his name is likely related to the Greek word pa, meaning guadian of the shepherd. This god exists on the cusp between civilization and wild nature.

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