God of the Week: Pan

God of the Week 8/31/09: Pan

PanPan was the Greek god of shepherds and flocks. He was also, somehow, the god of theatrical criticism. Not sure how that works out. Though, I guess, shepherding would be a pretty boring job. Perhaps the shepherds would gather around in the latter part of the day and chat about theater (“Hey Adrianio, seen any good plays lately?”). It was, after all, in the days before water coolers.

Because of his haunting half man half goat appearance, Pan is a favorite character in fiction (the horror story The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen is considered a horror classic and is available free from Project Gutenberg).

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5 Comments on “God of the Week: Pan”

  1. Buck Says:

    Pan was a companion of Dionyus, who was the god of theater. They had gods for everything. Momus for example was the god of criticism in general, also linked to Dionysus via the Satyrs.


  2. Ah, the god of criticism. What a busy god, indeed.

    I was attempting to find clarification on Pan’s relation to the satyrs, but couldn’t find much at the time.

  3. MKokko Says:

    Dionysus was perceived as the Lord of souls who liberates the soul from the rational insanity, induced by Apollo and takes them back in to the wilderness where a holy communion with the forces of nature can be achieved through rituals of pleasure and ecstasy. But also is the god of Death and represents the Darkest sides of human existence.

    The first form of Theatre was called Dithyrambs. People would gather on the slop of a hill and performers dressed in goats’ skin costume, alike Pan would sing Hymns to worship Dionysus. Later Theatre was developed as an art form which could entertain the people but also stimulate their awareness regarding the human psycho. Pan was the spirit of entertainment, sexual pleasure but also death and destruction themes inspired the ancient dramatists.

  4. Sam Says:

    Dionysus was also the god of partying and wine. Do you know the story of the panpipes? I shall tell you just in case. :) There was a nymph named Syrinx, and she was being chased around by Pan, he was a horny little goat boy ;) and she turned herself into reeds (like in the river) so Pan couldnt find her. He knew she did this, but didnt know which reed(s) were her, so he made them into an instrument and called it Syrinx, or the panpipes. :)


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