Pan was a Greek fertility god associated with flocks and shepherds. From his waist down, he looked like a goat, but above the waist, he had human features, except for goat's ears and horns. Most often considered the son of Hermes*, he was abandoned by his mother at birth and raised by nymphs.

nymph minor goddess of nature, usually represented as young and beautiful

An accomplished musician, Pan played a reed pipe called a syrinx, named after a nymph that Pan had pursued. The nymph asked the gods to change her into a group of reeds to save her from the attentions of Pan. Pan then gathered these reeds and fashioned them into the instrument.

Although Pan was a playful figure who enjoyed chasing nymphs, he could be very ill-tempered if his sleep was disturbed. He could also cause irrational fear, hence the origin of the English word panic. In Greek mythology, Pan helped Zeus* and the other gods of Olympus* overthrow the early gods called Titans. He did this by blowing into a shell and making a loud roar that frightened the Titans.

See also Greek Mythology .

Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

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