Apollo is the son of Zeus and the twin brother of Artemis; his special interests are archery, music (particularly the lyre), and health and healing, as well as being god of plagues. His association with the sun came late to Greece.*
Apollo's first story is of his birth, along with his twin Artemis; son of Zeus by Leto, his mother drew the wrath of Hera, who kept away the birth goddess Eileithyia so that Leto could not give birth. Finally the gods sent their messenger Iris, who let Eileithyia know that she was needed and promised her a golden necklace if she will come (possibly to induce her to risk Hera's anger); she did so, and Leto bore her children.
Another story of Apollo tells how he acquired the oracle at Delphi. There are several versions of this myth, but all tell how he killed the snake Python who had occupied the spot beforehand; in some stories Apollo is then punished for that act.
Apollo is also known for a series of unfortunate love affairs with nymphs and mortal women, many of whom were far from eager to have a god for a lover; for example, he pursued the nymph Daphne, but she so feared him that she prayed to Zeus, who turned her into a laurel tree.
Apollo, while honored throughout Greece, had particularly strong centers of worship in Delos (his birthplace) and Delphi (the site of his oracle). He was celebrated in a number of festivals**, including the following: