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Page last updated on: March 27th, 2021

Apollo's Wedding Proposal

Apollo never married, but there once came a time when he came very near to marrying. This story occurred in Aetolia, in West Greece, with the beautiful princess Marpissa.

Marpissa's father, King Evinos, was a son of Ares, the god of war, and therefore a very skilled fighter. Only the best was good enough for his daughter. So when Marpissa reached marriageable age, Evinos decided to give his daughter's hand in marriage only to the one who would defeat him in a chariot race.

Many men accepted the challenge, but Evinos won them all. Heartlessly, he cut off all the heads of the defeated. Until one day a young man named Ida came along in his winged chariot. Ida was a son of Poseidon and famous for being unbeatable. When he saw Marpissa dancing, he fell in love with her. Secretly he approached the princess and said to her, "Don't be afraid, I mean you no harm. Just come with me and let's leave before sunrise!"

Touched by Ida's tenderness, Marpissa listened to his words. So the couple fled in the middle of the night and went to Messine, in southern Greece.

When King Evinos learned that his daughter was missing, he set out desperately to find her. But as he crossed the Lykorma River, Evinos lost hope. So he slaughtered his horses and drowned in the river.

The river was later named "Evinos" in honor of the king.

But Evinos was not the only one chasing the couple. There was also Apollo, the beautiful sun god, who was also madly in love with Marpissa and also wanted to marry her.

Soon Apollo found Ida and they started a fight. The fight was fearsome, for Ida was very strong. Until suddenly Zeus, the king of the gods, noticed the fight and mediated by hurling a thunderbolt between them.

"What is the matter?" wanted to know Zeus.
"Father, I am in love with Marpissa and I wish to marry her," said Apollo. "But this mortal wants to put obstacles in the way of our marriage!"
"King of the gods," replied Ida, "Marpissa is mine and we love each other!".
Wise Zeus remained skeptical for a while. Then he turned to Marpissa and said: "Princess Marpissa, it is up to you to decide!"

Marpissa smiled and said wisely:

"Apollo, you are a god, you will always be youthful and strong. But look at me, I am a mortal. I am still young, but one day I will be old and gray. Then you won't love me anymore and you'll surely leave me. Therefore I take Ida to be my husband."

Apollo gave up, impressed by the princess's maturity. He wished the couple well and rode merrily away in his winged chariot.

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