Apollo Iatros: a Greek god of Pontic origin

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The cult of Apollo Iatros existed only in the Ionian colonies of the Western and the Northern Black Sea coasts, in Apollonia Pontica, Histria, Tyras, Olbia, and on the Bosporus. As early as in the sixth century BC, Apollo Iatros played a prominent role in the pantheons of all these cities. The god’s epiclesis indicates that the founders of the cult sought to distinguish between Apollo Iatros and the established aspects of Apollo in their metropoleis. The new cultic title appears to reflect the newcomers’ wish to include a reference to the local deity or deities into the divine personality of their traditional god. Thracian and Scythian preoccupation with immortality and their fame as healers and diviners suggested an additional aspect in the image of Apollo. The merger was facilitated by the belief in mantic and healing powers of Apollo in the metropoleis of Pontic Ionians. The case of Apollo Iatros demonstrates that Greek colonists could introduce innovations into their ancestral pantheon.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationDie Griechen und ihre Nachbarn am Nordrand des Schwarzen Meeres
EditorsKlaus Stähler, Gabriele Gudrian
Place of PublicationMünster
Number of pages54
ISBN (Print) 978-3-86835-024-1
StatePublished - 2009

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