Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods Cult >> Pan Cult


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Pan and Daphnis | Greco-Roman marble statue | Naples National Archaeological Museum
Pan and Daphnis, Greco-Roman marble statue, Naples National Archaeological Museum

PAN was the god of shepherds and the mountain wilds.

He was worshipped primarily in the highlands of the Peloponnese where rustics tended herds of goats. The traditional center of his cult was Mount Mainalos in Arkadia.

In classical sculpture Pan was depicted as a goat-legged and horned man with bestial facial features. In the Roman era he was sometimes portrayed as a youth with just a small pair of horns to suggest his goatish nature.



I. ATHENS (ATHENAI) Main City of Attica (Attika)

The Athenians believed that Pan came to their rescue in their historical war with the Persians and founded a temple in his honour.

Simonides, Fragment 6 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
"Goat-footed Pan, the Arkadian, ememy of the Medes (Persians), ally of the Athenians, [he was believed to have created panic in the army of the Medes attacking Athens] was set up by Miltiades [a statue]."

Herodotus, Histories 6. 105. 1 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"While [the Athenians were] still in the city [at the start of the Persian War], the generals first sent to Sparta the herald Philippides, an Athenian and a long-distance runner who made that his calling. As Philippides himself said when he brought the message to the Athenians, when he was in the Parthenian mountain above Tegea he encountered Pan. Pan called out Philippides' name and bade him ask the Athenians why they paid him no attention, though he was of goodwill to the Athenians, had often been of service to them, and would be in the future. The Athenians believed that these things were true, and when they became prosperous they established a sacred precinct of Pan beneath the Akropolis. Ever since that message they propitiate him with annual sacrifices and a torch-race."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 54. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"A little further on [from Tegea, Arkadia] is a sanctuary of Pan, where the Athenaians and Tegeans agree that he appeared to Philippides and conversed with him."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 27. 290 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"In the aftertime [Pan] shall help the Athenian battle, he shall slay the Medes and save shaken Marathon."

Suidas s.v. Haliplanktos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Haliplanktos (Sea-roaming) : Thus Pan is called, either because he aided the Athenians in the sea-battle, or because he hunted Typhon with nets, or because seamen honour Pan as an established god, or because [he is] loud-voiced in the dance, roaring like the sea, or because he is in love with Ekho; the sea is noisy. Pan is the patron of dances."

Suidas s.v. Hippias :
"Hippias : [Battle of Marathon.] Pan met up with Philippides as he was going back across the Parthenion mountain in Arkadia and faulted the Athenians, by whom he alone of all the gods was neglected, and promised to support them in battle. After one man had advised--for they were ten--waiting for the Lakedaimonians, but with Miltiades and then Kallimakhos recommending that they go forth, the Athenians went out, themselves being nine thousand and having one thousand Plataians [in support]. And they say they won that same day. Among these Kallimakhos fell dead by the spear, and Polyzelos, after being blinded when a phantom appeared who had a beard which shaded his shield (they suppose him to be Pan as ally), fought as if he saw, and distinguished the enemy and his own side by voice."


Strabo, Geography 9. 1. 21 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"And in the neighborhood of Anaphlystos [in Attika] is also the shrine of Pan."

III. Near MARATHON Town in Attica

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 32. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"A little beyond the plain [of Marathon, Attika] is the Hill of Pan and a remarkable Cave of Pan. The entrance to it is narrow, but farther in are chambers and baths and the so-called ‘Pan's herd of goats,’ which are rocks shaped in most respects like to goats."

IV. OROPUS (OROPOS) Town in Attica

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 34. 3 :
"[The sanctuary of Amphiaraus in Oropos, Attika :] The altar shows parts . . . The fifth is dedicated to the Nymphai and Pan, and to the rivers Akheloos and Kephisos."

V. PSYTALLEIA Island of Attica

Aeschylus, Persians 448 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Opposite Salamis there is an island [Psytalleia]--small, useless for anchorage--where Pan the Dancer treads along the briny shore."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 36. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The island [of Psyttalea, near Salamis] has no artistic statue, only some roughly carved wooden images of Pan."


Pan and Satyr | Greco-Roman marble statue | Musée du Louvre, Paris
Pan and Satyr, Greco-Roman marble statue, Musée du Louvre

I. SICYON (SIKYON) Main Town of Sicyonia (Sikyonia)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 10. 2 - 3 :
"The enclosure of Akslepios [at Sikyon] . . . Within the sanctuary on either side of the entrance is an image, on the one hand Pan is seated, on the other Artemis is standing."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 11. 1 :
"[At Sikyon] is built an altar to Pan, and one to Helios (Sun) made of white marble."

II. MT. ACRORIA (AKRORIA) Mountain in Sicyonia

Leonidas, Epigram (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 107 (3)) (Greek elegiac C2nd B.C.) :
"To Pan Akrorites [of Mount Akroria] and the . . Nymphai, neighbour Glenis dedicated gifts from the chase :--this head and ((lacuna)) . . hide and these swift feet. O Pan, O Nymphai, propser the clever hunter Glenis!" [ N.B. Akroria, name of mountain in Sikyon.]

Antipator of Sidon, Epigram (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 107 (4)) (Greek elegiac C1st B.C.) :
"To the Silenoi's mates that dwell in caves [i.e. the Nymphai], and to their chieftain, horned Pan Akrorites, a scatheless head and this new boarskin, that not even steel has rent, were hunt up by Glenis, son of mighty Onasiphanes, who showed these thank-offerings for a fine quarry."


I. ERASINUS R. (ERASINOS) River in Argolis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 34. 6 :
"At the places [in Argos] where the river Erasinos gushes forth from the mountain [Khaon] they sacrifice to Dionysos and to Pan."


Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 32. 5 :
"Coming down from here [the citadel of Troizenos, Argos] you come to a sanctuary of Pan Lyterios (Releasing), so named because he showed to the Troizenian magistrates dreams which supplied a cure for the epidemic that had afflicted Troizenia and the Athenians more than any other people."


I. OLYMPIA Village & Sanctuary in Elis

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 15. 6 :
"One entering the Wedge itself [at Olympia] you see altars of Tykhe (Good Luck), Pan and Aphrodite."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 15. 8 :
"Before what is called Theekoleon [at Olympia] is a building, in a corner of which has been set up an altar of Pan . . . In the town-hall itself, on the right as you enter the room where they have the hearth, is an altar of Pan."


Pan | Greco-Roman marble statue C2nd A.D. | Musée du Louvre, Paris
Pan, Greco-Roman marble statue C2nd A.D., Musée du Louvre

Suidas s.v. Panikoi deimati (trans. Suda On Line) (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."

I. MT. LAMPEIA Mountain in Arcadia (Arkadia)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 24. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Erymanthos [river of Arkadia] has its source in Mount Lampeia, which is said to be sacred to Pan."

II. HERAEA (HERAIA) Village in Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 26. 1 :
"There is also in Heraia [in Arkadia] a temple of Pan, as he is native to Arkadia."

III. MEGALOPOLIS Main City of Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 30. 2 :
"[Inside the temple of Zeus at Megalopolis, Arkadia is] an image of Pan made of stone. His surname is Sinoeis, and they say that Pan was so surnamed after a Nymphe Sinoe, who with others of the Nymphai nursed him on her own account."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 30. 6 :
"[At Megalopolis, Arkadia is] a bronze Pan, surnamed Skoleitas, one cubit high. It was brought from the hill Skoleitas."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 31. 1 :
"[At Megalopolis, Arkadia] is an enclosure sacred to the Great Goddesses [Demeter and Persephone] . . . Before it stands a table, on which are carved two Horai (Seasons), Pan with pipes, and Apollon playing the harp. There is also an inscription saying they are among the first gods."


Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 36. 7 :
"[At Peraithenses, Arkadia] is a sanctuary of Pan."

V. MT. MAENALUS (MAINALOS) Mountain in Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 36. 8 :
"Mount Mainalos [in Arkadia] is held to be especially sacred to Pan, so that those who dwell around it say that they can actually hear him playing his pipes."

Ovid, Fasti 3. 81 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Maenalian fields [Arkadia] [worship] pine-crowned Faunus [Pan]."

VI. Near ACACESIUM (AKAKESION) Village in Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 11 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[At the sanctuary of Despoine, Arkadia] you will ascend by stairs to a sanctuary of Pan. Within the sanctuary has been made a portico, and a small image; and this Pan too, equally with the most powerful gods, can bring men's prayers to accomplishment and repay the wicked as they deserve. Beside this Pan a fire is kept burning which is never allowed to go out. It is said in days of old this god also gave oracles, and that the Nymphe Erato became his prophetess, she who wedded Arkas, the son of Kallisto."

VII. MT. LYCAEUS (LYKAIOS) Mountain in Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 38. 5 :
"There is on Mount Lykaios [in Arkadia] a sanctuary of Pan, and a grove of trees around it, with a race-course in front of which is a running-track. Of old they used to hold here the Lykaion games."

VIII. MT. NOMIA Mountain in Arcadia

Pan | Greco-Roman marble statue from Rome C1st B.C. | British Museum, London
Pan, Greco-Roman marble statue from Rome C1st B.C., British Museum

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 38. 10 :
"On the right of Lykosoura [in Arkadia] are the mountains called Nomia, and on them is a sanctuary of Pan Nomios; the place they name Melpeia, saying that here Pan discovered the music of the pipes. It is very obvious conjecture that the name of the Nomia Mountains derived from the pasturings (nomia) of Pan, but the Arkadians themselves derive the name from a Nymphe."

IX. Near TEGEA Town in Arcadia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 53. 11 :
"On the left of the road as you go from Tegea [in Arkadia] to Lakonia there is an altar of Pan."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 54. 4 :
"[By the river Garates, near Tegea, Arkadia is] a sanctuary of Pan, by which is an oak, like the sanctuary sacred to Pan."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 54. 6 :
"A little further on [from Tegea, Arkadia] is a sanctuary of Pan, where the Athenaians and Tegeans agree that he appeared to Philippides [see Cult of Pan in Attika] and conversed with him. Mount Parthenios 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."

X. AULE Village in Arcadia

Aelian, On Animals 11. 6 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"In Arkadian territory there is a shrine of Pan; Aule is the name of the place. Now any animals that take refuge there the god respects as suppliants and protects in complete safety. For wolves in pursuit are afraid to enter it and are checked at the mere sight of the place of refuge. So there is private property for these animals too to enable them to survive."


I. MT. PARNASSUS (PARNASSOS) Mountain in Phocis (Phokis)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 32. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Korykian cave [near Delphoi, in Phokis] exceeds in size those I have mentioned, and it is possible to make one's way through the greater part of it even without lights. The roof stands at a sufficient height from the floor, and water, rising in part from springs but still more dripping from the roof, has made clearly visible the marks of drops on the floor throughout the cave. The dwellers around Parnassos believe it to be sacred to the Nymphai Korkykiai, and especially to Pan."


Ovid, Fasti 5. 79 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The exile Evander came from Arcadia to Latin fields, and ferried his gods here. Where Rome is now, the world's head, were trees and grassland, a few cattle, an occasional hut . . . He taught the tribes man sacred rites, but firstly those of horned Faunus [Pan] and the wing-foot god [Hermes]. The Luperci in loincloths serve you, half-goat Faunus, when their hide-strips purify the packed streets."


Pan had a number of cult titles, most of which described his divine functions.

Greek Name










Latin Spelling






Of the Pastures

Of the Hunt, Hunter

Giver of Pasture

Terrifying One

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Latin Spelling








Mischief, Bane (sinos)

Crooked (skoliotês)

Of Mt Acroria (Sicyon)

Sea-Roaming (halos, planktos)


AEGO′CERUS (Aigokerôs), a surname of Pan, descriptive of his figure with the horns of a goat, but is more commonly the name given to one of the signs of the Zodiac. (Lucan, ix. 536; Lucret. v. 614; C. Caes. Germ. in Arat. 213.)

AGREUS (Agreus), a hunter, occurs as a surname of Pan and Aristaeus. (Pind. Pyth. ix. 115; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 507; Diod. iv. 81; Hesych. s.v.; Salmas. ad Solin. p. 81.)

LIMENI′TES, LIME′NIA, LIMENI′TIS, and LIMENO′SCOPUS (Limenia, Limenitês, Limenitis, Limenodkopos), i. e. the protector or superintendent of the harbour, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Zeus (Callimach. Fragm. 114, 2ed. Bentl.), Artemis (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 259), Aphrodite (Paus. ii. 34. § 11; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724), Priapus (Anthol. Palat. x. 1, 7), and of Pan (Anthol. Palat. x. 10.)

LYTE′RIUS (Lutêrios), i. e. the Deliverer, a surname of Pan, under which he had a sanctuary at Troezene, because he was believed during a plague to have revealed in dreams the proper remedy against the disease. (Paus. ii. 35. § 5.)

LYTIERSES (Lutiersês), another form of Lityerses. (Theocr. x. 41.)

MAENA′LIUS or MAENA′LIDES (Mainalios), a surname of Pan, derived from mount Maenalus in Arcadia, which was sacred to the god. (Paus. viii. 26. § 2, 36. § 5; Ov. Fast. iv. 650.)

NO′MIUS (Noumios), a surname of divinities protecting the pastures and shepherds, such as Apollo, Pan. Hermes, and Aristaeus. (Aristoph. Thesmoph. 983; Anthol. Palat. ix. 217; Callim. Hymn. in Apoll. 47.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.






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