In Greek mythology, Apollo was recognized as the god of music and dance, truth and prophecy, art, healing and disease, sun and light, knowledge, poetry, and archery.
Popular among the gods, Apollo was also loved by the ancient Greeks. Despite being so perfect with all the advantages, even a god like Apollo could be envious of other people’s abilities.
Even though he is famous in the art of music, it does not mean that he does not have rivals who consider himself equal in this regard. “There were several individuals who challenged him to compete in a music competition,” said A. Sutherland, quoted from the Ancient Pages page.
Music, Marsias and Pan
One is Marsias and the other is Pan. Marsyas is a satyr, a creature who inhabits forests and mountains. He who has taken the flute, which the goddess Athena disdains. After being touched by the lips of the goddess, he found that the flute made a charming sound by itself.
Marias is a great music lover. And in this regard, he was deeply loved by all the fairy-like creatures that lived in the valleys and forests. “He was so drunk with the sound of the flute and his inventions that he thoughtlessly challenged Apollo,” Sutherland said. Apollo was challenged to compete in a music competition.
The challenge was accepted, and Musai was chosen as the referee. It was also decided that the failed competitor should suffer the cruel punishment of being skinned alive.
For a long time, the position of the two was balanced so that the winner could not be determined.
Finally, Apollo decided to subdue Marsias by adding the sweet notes of his melodious voice to the strains of his magical harp.
Which God Has the Most Amazing Voice?
Thanks to that, he managed to win the competition. But the question arises. Would he be able to win the competition without using his amazing voice?
Marsias was very sad about his defeat. He suddenly realized that he had to serve a terrible death sentence in torture. Apollo carried out the most cruel punishment on Marsias. The god skinned him alive and nailed his bark to a pine tree.
A legend says that many of Marsias’ companions wept, including satyrs and driads. Displeased with his bad luck, they collected all the tears and created a river in Phrygia. Until now the river is still known as Marsias.
Pan, the shepherd god, claimed that he could play his seven-reed flute more skillfully than the god Apollo with his harp. Pan managed to survive unscathed.
Then came a third contender for Apollo’s prodigious musical skills. He was Cinyras, king of Cyprus and a great flute player.
Tradition has it that Cinyras was revered as the creator of art and musical instruments, especially the flute. In one source, he is also mentioned for his physical beauty. An extraordinary singer, he was also challenging and wanted to test Apollo’s abilities.
“Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on his side,” Sutherland added. His life ended dramatically when the god Mars took the life of Cinyras.
This exciting competition continued, and when it finished, Apollo was declared the winner by all the judges involved.