Pan is the Greek nature god who is believed to be the only Greek god who has died according to Plutarch. He is the protector of shepherds and animals such as sheep, and goats. The name Pan originates from the Greek word, paein, which stands for "to pasture" He was born in a place called Arcadia district of Greece. Though his parentage is of many variations he is believed that he was born to Hermes and his mother was Callisto.
In reference to the story of his birth, his mother was so shocked by his look that she ran away leaving him to be brought up by nymphs. He has goat-like features such as horns, hooves and beards and he was also able to make a loud shout that has terrifying effect on people and flocks. He would usually use the shout as a defensive tool for himself and even scaring away adversaries (Proud 32).
His individuality has also a good side. He was in actually a competent musician. He was gifted and determined in that he played so well the reed pipe called Syrinx, and managed to challenge Apollo in a musical competition. But unfortunately, he lost to Apollo who went with the prize for playing his lyre upside down. Pan's instrument was named after a nymph that tried to run away from his importunities. Afraid of Pan's further pursuance, the nymph Syrinx with the help of her sister transformed herself into a reed. In vengeance, Pan decided to use the reed to make his musical instrument which he decided not to leave it even for a while. Pan was also in love with a nymph who turned into a pine tree called Pitys. The Romans equivalent to Pan is Faunus (Swenson & Meidell 72).
When Zeus overthrew his authoritarian father Cronus, he was helped by Pan with his terrifying shout that made the Titans to flee away. From the role that Pan's played in the fight against Typhoeus, one of the stars was named after him as a reward. Pan could be multiplied into a crowd of Pans, and even given personal names, as in Nonnius' Dionysiaca, where the god Pan had twelve sons namely Kelaineus, Argennon, Aigikoros, Eugeneios, Omester, Daphoineus, Phobos together with Philamnos, Xanthos, Glaukos, Argos, and Phorbas. That helped Dionysus in his war against the Indians. There were two other Pans Agreus and Nomios. Both were the sons of Hermes. Argeus' mother was the nymph Sose. Nomios' mother was Penelope. Most of the mythological stories about Pan are actually about Nomios, not the god Pan. Although, Agreus and Nomios could have been two different aspects of the prime Pan, it reflects his dual nature as both a wise prophet and a lustful beast (Blackwood 62).
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Aegipan, well known as "goat-god," fully resembles a goat, relatively than the usual half-goat and half-man figure. As the Olympians run away from the ugly giant Typhoeus and took the form of an animal, Aegipan resembled a fish-tailed goat. Later he came to the help of Zeus in his fight with Typhoeus. In Italy there was a Pan known as Sybarios which resulted as a sybarite herds boy copulate with a ewe among his flock. It was worshipped by sybarite in Italy.
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