Paean (god)

In Greek mythology, Paean (Ancient Greek: Παιάν), Paeëon or Paieon (Παιήων), or Paeon or Paion (Παιών) was the physician of the gods.[1][2]

Mycenaean Greece

The name Paean is believed to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek as an alternative name of Apollo; the attested form of the name, written in Linear B, is 𐀞𐀊𐀺𐀚, pa-ja-wo-ne.[3][4][5]

Homer and Hesiod

A god of healing named Παιήων is mentioned twice in the Iliad.[6] In book 5, the Olympian god of war Ares is wounded by mortal hero Diomedes, who is assisted by Athena. Ares is taken up to Olympus in a hurry, where Paeon applies medicine (Ancient Greek: φάρμακα) that produces an instant relief.[7] Hades too had a similar medical treatment by Paeon when he was shot with an arrow by Heracles.[8] In the Odyssey, Homer says of Egypt, "[T]here the earth, the giver of grain, bears greatest store of drugs, many that are healing when mixed, and many that are baneful; there every man is a physician, wise above human kind; for they are of the race of Paeeon."[9]

Hesiod identifies Paeon as an individual deity: "Unless Phoebus Apollo should save him from death, or Paean himself who knows the remedies for all things."[10][11]

In time, Paeon (more usually spelled Paean) became an epithet of Apollo, in his capacity as a god capable of bringing disease and therefore propitiated as a god of healing.[12] Later, Paeon becomes an epithet of Asclepius, the healer-god.[13]


  1. ^ Παιάν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2005). Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology. Marshall Cavendish. p. 1069. ISBN 978-0-7614-7559-0.
  3. ^ Schofield, Louise (2007). The Mycenaeans. The British Museum Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-89236-867-9.
  4. ^ "KN V 52+". Deaditerranean: Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.
  5. ^ Chadwick, John (1976). The Mycenaean World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 89. ISBN 0-521-29037-6. At Google Books.
  6. ^ Gantz, p. 96.
  7. ^ "Homer, Iliad,Book 5, line 899". Tufts University.
  8. ^ "Homer, Iliad,Book 5, line 363". Tufts University.
  9. ^ "Homer, Odyssey, Book 4, line 219". Tufts University.
  10. ^ Hesiod & Evelyn-White 2007, p. 159.
  11. ^ Graf 2009, p. 66–67.
  12. ^ Graf 2009, pp. 66–67.
  13. ^ Eustathius of Thessalonica, on Homer, §1494; Virgil. Aeneid, vii. 769.


  • Connor, Peter, "Paeon" in Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology, Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corporation (January 2005). ISBN 978-0-7614-7559-0.
  • Hesiod; Evelyn-White, Hugh G. (2007). Hesiod the Homeric Hymns and Homerica. BiblioBazaar, LLC. ISBN 1-4264-7293-5.
  • Gantz, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0801853609 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0801853623 (Vol. 2).
  • Graf, Fritz (2009). Apollo. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-31711-8.
  • Homer. The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924.
  • Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919.
  • Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1873). "Paean"

External links

Paeon (myth)

In Greek mythology, Paean (Ancient Greek: Παιάν), Paeëon or Paieon (Ancient Greek: Παιήων), or Paeon or Paion (Ancient Greek: Παιών) may refer to the following characters:

Paean (god), the physician of the Greek gods.

Paeon (father of Agastrophus), the father of Agastrophus in Homer's Iliad, and the husband of Cleomede and father of Laophoon in Quintus Smyrnaeus' Posthomerica.

Paeon (son of Antilochus), a lord of Messenia, from whom the Attic clan and deme of Paeonidae or Paionidai is supposed to have derived its name.

Paeon (son of Endymion), from whom the district of Paionia was believed to have derived its name.

Paeon (son of Poseidon), the son of Helle and Poseidon; in some legends he was called Edonus.

Paeon, son of Ares and father of Biston.

Paean, an epithet for the Greek god Apollo.

Paean, an epithet for the Greek healer-god Asclepius.

Ancient Greek deities by affiliation
Other deities

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