Pan | Greek God

Pan Greek Mythology

Pã (Greek: Πάν, transl. Pann), in Greek mythology, is the god of the woods, fields, flocks, and shepherds. He lives in caves and roams the valleys and mountains, hunting or dancing with the nymphs. He is depicted with ears, horns, and goat legs, a lover of music, and always carries a flute.

He is feared by all those who need to cross the forests at night, for the darkness and solitude of the crossing predispose them to sudden fears, without any apparent cause, which are attributed to Pan; hence the term "panic".

Pan fell in love with the naiad Sirix, who rejected his love with disdain, refusing to accept him as her lover on the grounds that he was neither man nor goat. Pan then pursued her, but when Sirix reached the bank of the river Ladon and saw that she was no longer able to escape, she asked the river nymphs, the naiads, to change her form.

These, hearing her prayers, granted her request and transformed her into a reed. When Pan reached it and wanted to grab it, there was nothing except the reed and the sound that the air produced when it passed through it.

Upon hearing that sound, Pan was delighted and decided to put together reeds of different sizes and invented a musical instrument that he named Siringe, in honor of the nymph. This musical instrument is better known by the name Pan's flute, in honor of the god himself.

Pan would have been one of Zeus' children with his wet nurse, the goat Amalthea. His great love however was Selene, the moon. In an Egyptian version, Pan was with other gods on the banks of the Nile River and Typhon, the enemy of the gods, appeared.

Fear turned each of the gods into animals, and Pan, frightened, plunged into a river and thus disguised half of his body, leaving only his head and upper body, which resembled that of a goat; the submerged part adopted an aquatic appearance. Zeus considered this stratagem of Pan to be very clever, and as a tribute he transformed it into a constellation, which would be Capricorn.

In Rome

The Latins also called him Faunus and Silvanus and he became a symbol of the world because he was associated with nature and symbolized the universe.

In Rome he was called Lupertius, the god of shepherds and their festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the foundation of their temple, called Lupercalia, on February 15, 16 and 17. Pan is associated with the cave where Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf. The priests who worshipped him were dressed in goatskins.

In the last days of Rome, fierce wolves roamed near the houses. The Romans then invited Luperco to keep the wolves away.