Paean (god)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
God of healing, the Physician of the Gods
Other names Paeëon, Paeon

In Greek mythology, Paean (Greek: Παιάν), Paeëon or Paieon (Greek: Παιήων), or Paeon or Paion (Greek: Παιών) was the Greek 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 𐀞𐀊𐀍𐀚, pa-ja-wo-ne.[3][4][5]

Homer and Hesiod

A god of healing, (spelled 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 (φάρμακα) that produced 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:[9]

"... there 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."

Hesiod identifies Paeon as an individual deity:[10]

"Unless Phoebus Apollo should save him from death, or Paean himself who knows the remedies for all things."

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.[11] Later, Paeon becomes an epithet of Asclepius, the healer-god.[12]


  1. Παιάν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. Connor, p. 1069.
  3. Schofield, Louise (2007). The Mycenaeans. The British Museum Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-89236-867-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "KN V 52+". Deaditerranean: Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Chadwick, John (1976). The Mycenaean World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 89. ISBN 0-521-29037-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> At Google Books.
  6. Gantz, p. 96.
  7. Homer. The Iliad, 5.899.
  8. Homer. The Iliad, 5.401.
  9. Homer. The Odyssey, 4.227–232.
  10. Hesiod & Evelyn-White 2007, p. 159; Graf 2009, pp. 66–67.
  11. Graf 2009, pp. 66–67.
  12. Eustathius 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Homer. The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., 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, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919.
  • Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1873). "Paean"

External links