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Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, who, with his twin sister, Artemis, was born on Delos, the island sacred to him. He presided over the Oracle of Delphi, and is associated with prophecy.

He is also associated with the arts and sometimes shown with the Muses on Mount Parnassus (for example in Raphael's fresco, 'Parnassus', in the Vatican, Rome).

He sometimes appears in a blaze of light and is a symbol of the sun and an ideal of male beauty.

Episodes from his life are found in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', some of which are illustrated in the series of frescoes by Domenichino.