In ancient Greece Pan was the god of woods and of pastures. Pan was half man
and half goat. He was mostly human in appearance, but his lower half was
that of a goat and had horns on his head. The Greeks believed that
Pan dwelled in the forests in far out of reach places such as mountains and
Pan was the protector of Sheppard's and their flocks. Farmers and Sheppard's
throughout Greece prayed to him for the protection and fertility of their livestock.
It was believed that under his influence people would become suddenly angry.
Sudden fits of anger for no apparent reason were therefore attributed to the god
Pan. As Pan was unpredictable in his actions, unreasonable actions of an
individual were usually attributed to this god.
The word "Panic" comes from his name. It is believed that there are
two reasons for this. The first is that in "The war of the
Titans" he was present and his yelling caused them to retreat! The second
is that the noises he made as he went through the woods in the middle of the
night caused travelers to run away in fear.
Pan was the son of Hermes and Penelope. The worship of Pan began in
Arcadia in southern Greece. This is a region where his father Hermes was
also worshiped. Eventually Pan became one of the most venerated deities in
ancient Greece, and was widely worshiped.
He is most famous for the music he played on a pipe. Pan is said to
have been hideous, yet he had many affairs with various Nymphs. When Pan
approached the Nymph Syrinx she ran away from him in fear to the gods of
Olympus. The gods of Olympus pitied her and changed her into many
reeds. Pan decided that he still would possess the Nymph even if it could
not be in the manner that he wished, taking the reeds he made a panpipe. Pan
created beautiful music with his instrument, music of an unreturned love.