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In Mythology, Who Is Pan?

In Greek mythology, Pan is the god of shepherds and flocks, of hunting and rustic music in mountains, and is a companion of the nymphs. He is also considered the god of woods, fields, and pastures, which associates him with fertility and spring, the season of bloom. The name Pan comes from the word paein, which means to pasture. He has a half-human, half-animal figure, with the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat. He stirs up panic, and is usually associated with sexuality.

There are different versions of Pan's genealogy. One version states that his parents are Zeus and Hybris, while another states that his parents are Hermes and a nymph. Another version identifies Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, as the mother of Pan, while his father can be either Hermes, or Apollo, or possibly Odysseus himself. The god Pan has a counterpart in Roman mythology named Faunus. Faunus is a god of nature and the father of Fauna.

Pan is commonly associated with his pan flute, which is made from lengths of hallow reed., and which he always carries with him. The myth behind the origin of his flute tells the story of his infatuation with a water-nymph named Syrinx, daughter of the river-god Landon. Syrinx was transformed by her sisters into a reed after being chased by the god Pan. The reed creates a melodic sound when the wind blows into it. Not knowing which reed she turned into, Pan cut several reeds into seven pieces and tied them side by side in decreasing lengths, making himself a flute.

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