PAN god of flocks and shepherds (Pan), the great among the Greeks; his name is probably connected with the verb paô. Lat. pasco, so that his name and character are perfectly in accordance with each other. Later speculations, according to which Pan is the same as to pan, or the universe, and the god the symbol of the universe, cannot be taken into consideration here. He is described as a son of Hermes by the daughter of Dryops (Hom. Hymn. vii. 34), by Callisto (Schol. ad Theocr. i. 3), by Oeneis or Thymbris (Apollod. i. 4. § 1; Schol. ad Theocrit. l. c.), or as the son of Hermes by Penelope, whom the god visited in the shape of a ram (Herod. ii. 145; Schol. ad Theocrit. i. 123 ; Serv. ad Aen. ii. 43), or of Penelope by Odysseus, or by all her suitors in common. (Serv. ad Virg. Georg. i. 16; Schol. ad Lycoph. 766; Schol. ad Theocrit. i. 3.) Some again call him the son of Aether and Oeneis, or a Nereid, or a son of Uranus and Ge. (Schol. ad Theocrit. i. 123; Schol. ad Lycoph. l. c.) From his being a grandson or great grandson of Cronus, he is called Kronios. (Eurip. Rhes. 36.)
He was from his birth perfectly developed, and had the same appearance as afterwards, that is, he had his horns, beard, puck nose, tail, goats' feet, and was covered with hair, so that his mother ran away with fear when she saw him ; but Hermes carried him into Olympus, where all (pantes) the gods were delighted with him, and especially Dionysus. (Hom. Hymn. vii. 36, &c.; comp. Sil. Ital. xiii. 332; Lucian, Dial. Deor. 22.) He was brought up by nymphs. (Paus. viii. 30. § 2.)
A goat-headed Pan, with erect members and goat hoof feet, pursues a young shepherd boy. Behind him stands a Herm on a rock, a rustic fertility statue of the god Hermes. Early Classical
Homeric Hymn 19 to Pan (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Hermes . . . came to Arcadia, the land of many springs and mother of flocks, there where his sacred place is as god of Kyllene (Cyllene). For there, though a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep in the service of a mortal man, because there fell on him and waxed a strong melting desire to wed the rich-tressed daughter of Dryopos, and there he brought about the merry marriage. And in the house she bare Hermes a dear son who from his birth was marvelous to look upon, with goat's feet and two horns--a noisy, merry-laughing child. But when the nurse saw his uncouth face and full beard, she was afraid and sprang up and fled and left the child. Then luck-bringing Hermes received him and tbe side Zeus and showed him to the rest of the gods. Then all the immortals were glad in heart and Baook him in his arms: very glad in his heart was the god. And he went quickly to the abodes of the deathless gods, carrying his son wrapped in warm skins of mountain hares, and set him down kkheios (Bacchic) Dionysus in especial; and they called the boy Pan [i.e. derived from the word pantes meaning ‘all’] because he delighted all their hearts."
Pan and the bear cubs. Statue of Pan and the bear cubs. Statue by Emmanuel Frémiet (1864)
In Arcadia he was on the summits of mountains and rocks, and in valleys, either amusing himself with the chase, or the god of forests, pastures, flocks, and shepherds, and dwelt in grottoes (Eurip. Ion, 501; Ov. Met. xiv. 515), wandered leading the dances of the nymphs. (Aeschyl. Pers. 448; Hom. Hymn. vii. 6, 13, 20 ; Paus. viii. 42. § 2.) As the god of flocks, both of wild and tame animals, it was his province to increase them and guard them (Hom. Hymn. vii. 5; Paus. viii. 38. § 8; Ov. Fast. ii. 271, 277 ; Virg. Eclog. i. 33); but he was also a hunter, and hunters owed their success to him, who at the same time might prevent their being successful. (Hesych. s. v. Agreus.) As god of flocks, bees also were under his protection, as well as the coast where fishermen carried on their pursuit. (Theocrit. v. 15; Anthol. Palat. vi. 239, x. 10.) As the god of every thing connected with pastoral life, he was fond of music, and the inventor of the syrinx or shepherd's flute, which he himself played in a masterly manner, and in which he instructed others also, such as Daphnis. (Hom. Hymn. vii. 15 ; Theocrit. i. 3; Anthol. Palat. ix. 237, x. 11; Virg. Eclog. i. 32, iv. 58; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. v. 20.)
CHILDREN OF PAN
Ovid, Metamorphoses 13. 750 ff (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Acis was son of Nympha Symaethis and Faunus [Pan] was his father, a great joy to both his parents."
Nicolas Paussin, Acis and Galatea
PERRIER, François, Acis, Galatea, and Polyphemus
The Music Contest of Apollo and Pan
Pan was identified with the Phrygian Satyr Marsyas in this story. The tale is modified slightly to exclude the punishment inflicted upon that Satyr for challenging the god.
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 191 (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Midas, Mygdonian king, son of the Mother goddess from Timolus (Matris deae a Timolo) was taken as judge at the time when Apollo contested with Marsyas, or Pan, on the pipes. When Timolus gave the victory to Apollo, Midas said it should rather have been given to Marsyas. Then Apollo angrily said to Midas: ‘You will have ears to match the mind you have in judging,’ and with these words he caused him to have ass's ears."
Lauri, Filippo, King Midas Judging the Musical Contest between Apollo and Pan
CLERCK, Hendrik de, The Punishment of Midas
LOTH, Jonhan Karl, Apollo, Pan, and Marsys
RAFFAELLO Sanzio, Apollo and Marsyas (ceiling panel), Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican
Love of Pan and Echo
Homeric Hymn 19 to Pan (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"[Pan] sounds his note, playing sweet and low on his pipes of reed . . . while Echo wails about the mountain-top."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 11 (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :"[Description of an ancient Greek painting:] [Country Nymph have captured Pan. To teach him a lesson they have bound him with ropes and shorn off his beard and they say that they will persuade Echo to scorn him and no longer even to answer his call.
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 15. 306 ff :
"A pretty thing, your Pan piping the Paphian's [Aphrodite's] tune! Often he chanted Eros (Love), and never became Echo's bridegroom."
Alexandre Cabanel, Echo
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 289 ff :
"Goatherd Pan cried out: ‘I wish my father had taught me the trick of that matchmaking wine! I wish I could be lord of the mindtripping grape, like Bacchus Then I should have seen that cruel maiden Echo, asleep and well drunken! Then I should have achieved my love, which like a gadfly sends me gadding afar! Farewell to this pasturage! For while I water my sheep here by a neighboring spring, Dionysus draws intractable Nymph to marriage by means of his tippler's river! He has invented a medicine for Eros--his plant : away with the goat's milk, away with the milk of my ewes! For that cannot bring sleep to desire, nor a maiden to marriage. I alone, Kythereia [Aphrodite], must suffer. Alas for love! Syrinx [transformed into a reed] escaped from Pan's marriage and left him without a bride, and now she [the pipes made from the plant] cries Euoi to the newly-made marriage of Dionysus with melodies unasked; while Syrinx gives voice, and to crown all, Echo chimes in with her familiar note. O Dionysus, charmer of mortals, shepherd of the bridal intoxication! you alone happy, because when the Nymph denied, you found out wine, love's helper to deck out the marriage!’
Such were the words of Pan, in sorrow for his thwarted desire.
"Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 670 ff :
"She [Aura after being raped in her sleep] killed the goatherds, killed their whole flocks of goats, in agony of heart, because she had seen Pan the dangerous lover with a face like some shaggy goat; for she felt quite sure that shepherd Pan tormented with desire for Echo had violated her asleep."
Love of Pan and Syrinx
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 289 ff (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"And one of the lovemad Satyrs in a thicket hard by . . . declaimed thus: ‘Horned Pan, still running alone after Aphrodite? When will you too be a bridegroom, for Echo whom you chase? Will you ever bring off a trick like this [i.e. Dionysus tricked a nymphe with wine], to aid, and abet you in your nuptials never consummated? Become a gardener too instead of herdsman, my dear Pan; forswear you shepherd's cudgel, leave oxen and sheep among the rocks--what will herdsmen do for you?’ . . .Not yet had his words ended, when goatherd Pan cried out: ‘. . . Alas for love! Syrinx escaped from Pan's marriage and left him without a bride, and now [i.e. after she was transformed into the reed from which pipes are made] she cries Euoi to the newly-made marriage of Dionysus with melodies unasked; while Syrinx gives voice, and to crown all, Echo chimes in with her familiar note.’"
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 42. 363 ff :
"You know how Syrinx disregarded fiery Kythera [Aphrodite], and what price she paid for her too-great pride and love for virginity; how she turned into a plant with reedy growth substituted for her own, when she had fled from Pan's love, and how she still sings Pan's desire!"
Arnold Böcklin - Syrinx fleeing the onslaught of Pan
Love of Pan and Pitys
Dionysiaca 42. 196 & 257 ff (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Sing also of Pitys who hated marriage, who fled fast as the wind over the mountains to escape the unlawful wooing of Pan, and her fate--how she disappeared into the soil herself; put the blame of Ge (the Earth)! Then she may perhaps lament the sorrows and the fate of the wailing Nymph."
The goat-legged god Pan pursues the Nymph Pitys who is transformed into a pine tree.
Edward Calvert, Pan and Pitys
Pan and Psyche
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 5. 25 ff (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :"Psyche despairing at having lost the love of Cupid (Eros) was about to cast herself into the river:] The rustic god Pan chanced to be sitting at that moment on the brow of the stream, holding the mountain deity Echo in his arms, and teaching her to repeat after him all kinds of songs. Close by the bank nanny-goats were sporting as they grazed and cropped the river-foliage here and there. The goat-shaped god was well aware of the calamity that had befallen Psyche. He called her gently to him, lovesick and weary as she was, and soothed her with these consoling words. ‘You are an elegant girl, and I am a rustic herdsman, but my advanced years give me the benefit of considerable experience. If my hazard is correct--sages actually call such guesswork divine insight--I infer from your stumbling and frequently wandering steps, from your excessively pale complexion and continual sighs, and not least from your mournful gaze, that you are suffering grievous love-pains. On that account you must hearken to me: do not seek gain to destroy yourself by throwing yourself headlong or by seeking any other means of death. Cease your sorrowing, lay aside your sadness, and instead direct prayers of adoration to Cupid [Eros], greatest of gods, and by your caressing attentions win the favor of that wanton and extravagant youth.’
Edward Coley Burne-Jones - Pan and Psyche
Pan god of panic
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 23. 7 (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"During the night there fell on them a panic. For causeless terrors are said to come from the god Pan."
Sacred plants and animals
Pan's animals were the goat and tortoise. Plants sacred to him included the pine-tree (see the story of Pitys above), the water-reed (see the story of Syrinx), as well as the mountain beech.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 54. 6 (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) : "Mount Parthenios [in Arkadia] rears also tortoises most suitable for the making of harps; but men on the mountain are always afraid to capture them, and will not allow strangers to do so either, thinking them to be sacred to Pan."
Plato, Cratylus 400d & 408b Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[Plato invents philosophical explanations for the names of the gods:]Sokrates: Let us inquire what thought men had in giving them [the gods] their names . . . The first men who gave names [to the gods] were no ordinary persons, but high thinkers and great talkers . . . And it is reasonable, my friend, that Pan is the double-natured son of Hermes [whose name Sokrates derives from the word for ‘speech’] . . . You know that speech makes all things (pan) known and always makes them circulate and move about, and is twofold, true and false . . . Well, the true part is smooth and divine and dwells aloft among the gods, but falsehood dwells below among common men, is rough and like the tragic goat [see note]; for tales and falsehoods are most at home there, in the tragic life . . . Then Pan, who declares and always moves (aei polôn) all, is rightly called goat-herd (aipolos), being the double-natured son of Hermes, smooth in his upper parts, rough and goat-like in his lower parts. And Pan, if he is the son of Hermes, is either speech or the brother of speech, and that brother resembles brother is not at all surprising."
Cult in Arcadia
Suidas s.v. Panikoi deimati (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Panikoi deimati (in Panic terror) : Women used to celebrate customary rites for Pan by shouting. And Menandros in Dyskolos [says] : `One must not approach this god in silence.' Or because they attributed to Pan things [that happen] for no reason; for example, the enemy seems to attack; and [the soldiers] pick up their weapons in the commotion, form ranks, and attack one another."
Sebastioano Ricci, Bacchanal in Honor of Pan
Elihu Vedder - Marsyas Enchanting the Hares
Jacek Malczewski with Fauns
Jacek malczewski His wife with Fauns
Jacek Malczewski, Madonna
Jacek Malczewski, Faun and a Girl
Arnold Böcklin - Idylle
Arnold Böcklin - Fauns and Sleeping Nymph
Arnold Böcklin - Pan between columns
Arnold Böcklin - Pan frightening a shepherd
Arnold Böcklin, Pan
Orphic Hymn 11 to Pan (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Pan, Fumigation from Odours. Strong pastoral Pan, with suppliant voice I call, heaven, sea, and earth, the mighty queen of all, immortal fire; for all the world is thine, and all parts of thee, o power divine. Come, blessed Pan, whom rural haunts delight, come, leaping, agile, wandering, starry light. Throned with the Horai (Seasons), Bakkhanalian Pan, goat-footed, horned, from whom the world began; in endless dance and melody divine. In thee a refuge from our fears we find, those fears peculiar to humankind. Thee, shepherds, streams of water, goats rejoice, thou lovest the chase and Ekho's secret voice: the sportive Nymph thy every step attend, and all thy works fulfill their destined end. O all-producing power, much-famed, divine, the world's great ruler, rich increase is thine. All-fertile Paian, heavenly splendour pure, in fruits rejoicing, and in caves obscure. True serpent-horned Zeus, whose dreadful rage, when roused, ‘tis hard for mortals to assuage. By thee the earth wide-bosomed, deep and long, stands on a basis permanent and strong. The unwearied waters of the rolling sea, profoundly spreading, yield to thy decree. Old Oceanus, too, reveres thy high command, whose liquid arms begird the solid land. The spacious air, whose nutrimental fire and vivid blasts the heat of life inspire; the lighter frame of fire, whose sparkling eye shines on the summit of the azure sky, submit alike to thee, whose general sway all parts of matter, various formed, obey. All natures change through thy protecting are, and all mankind thy liberal bounties share; for these, wherever dispersed through boundless space, still find thy providence support their race. Come, Bacchanalian, blessed power, draw near, enthusiastic Pan, thy suppliants hear, propitious to these holy rites attend, and grant our lives may meet a prosperous end; drive panic fury too, wherever found, from humankind to earth's remotest bound."
William-Adolphe Bouguereau - Faun and Bacchante
Aubrey Beardsley, Venus between Terminal Gods
Aubrey Beardsley, Design for the front cover, The Great God Pan and Inmost Light
Aubrey Beardsley, cover for Dancing Faun
Gustave Moreau - Apollo and the Satyrs
Gustave Moreau - Apollo and the Satyrs
CRANACH, Lucas the Elder, A Faun and his Family with a Slain Lion
George Demetrescu Mirea,, Bacchante
Jusepe de Ribera, The Drunken Silenus
MICHELANGELO Buonarroti, Head of a Satyr
MICHELANGELO Buonarroti, Satyr's head
MOTORSOLI, Giovanni Angelo, Drunken Satyr
RAVESTEYN, Dirck de Quade van, Venus Riding a Satyr
POELENBURGH, Cornelis van, Satyr Dance
Sebastiano Ricci Venus and Satyr
Max Slevogt, Faun and a Girl
SERGEL, Johan Tobias, The Drunken Faun
SALY, Jacques-François-Joseph, Faun Holding a Goat
TISCHBEIN, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm, Dance of the Fauns and the Meneads
BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo, The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun
BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo, Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children
XAVERY, Pieter, Faun
LAURI, Filippo, Faun and Cupid in a Landscape
CLODION, Nymph and Faun,
Franz von Stuck, Naiad and Faun
Franz von Stuck Faun and Nymph
Franz von Stuck Fighting Satrys
RICCIO, Il, Satyr
RICCIO, Il, Satyr with an Amphora and Shell
Rat, Mole and the Piper at the Gates of Dawn