In our series on Greek mythology, we first feature Pan, the god of nature
Don’t you just love Percy Jackson, the demigod, and his larger-than-life adventures? Well, do you know where author, Rick Riordan drew his inspiration from? As a kid, he was fascinated by Greek and Norse mythology. He later went on to incorporate these gods into his stories. Not many of us know about these amazing gods. So, here’s your guide to the gods…
What: Nature Spirit or God of Nature (plants and animals, also shepherds and hunters)
Son Of Penelope and Hermes
He is part man, and part goat. His hindquarters, legs, horns and beard are those of a goat, whereas the rest of him is ssssa man.Pan created the pan flute (or syrinx), which is a musical instrument made from varying lengths of pipes glued or tied together — the earliest version of the harmonica.
Panic Pan: Pan created panic — quite literally. The word panic is derived from the reaction Pan was able to elicit when he frightened people. And why did he frighten them? Well, our hero, the goat-man-god was carefree and loved to have fun; but was absolutely uncompromising in his afternoon naps. Woe betide the person who dared to disturb his beauty sleep.
If anyone disturbed Pan, well, he’d punish them by letting out a shrill scream that would make you… well… panic. Pan even screamed as a favour to foster brother Zeus during a battle against the Titans; where his horrible piercing shriek was enough to scare and scatter the enemy, who fled the battlefield in terror.
Pan invented the syrinx, which is similar to the harmonica. Here’s how he invented the musical instrument. Syrinx was a beautiful nymph whom Pan saw while hunting. While he was dazzled by her beauty, she wasn’t too taken by his charms. But that didn’t stop our goat-man from chasing after the poor scared nymph (stalking wasn’t illegal then). Syrinx looked for ways to avoid him, but he just wouldn’t get the message (maybe his brain was less human and more goat).
Desperate to escape Pan, poor Syrinx prayed to the river nymphs for help, who converted her into a bunch of reeds at the river’s edge. The grief-stricken Pan plucked a handful of these reeds because they were once the beautiful Syrinx. He cut and stuck these reeds together with wax and created the pan flute, that he named Syrinx in honour of his (one-sided) lost love. Did you know that the word syringe (yes, the hollow tube attached to the scary needle they poke you with at the hospital) comes from Syrinx?
Lessons to learn
- Sometimes screaming can help you.
- Don’t chase after people who don’t want to be with you. (There may be other people who probably really like you; spend time with them! That way nobody gets converted into a reed.)
Category: Arts & Entertainment