Apollo, or Phoebus, was, in classical mythology, the son of Zeus, or Jupiter, and Latona. Originally a personification of the sun, he assumed in course of time more complicated functions, presiding over music, poetry, eloquence, and medicine, besides exercising the divine gift of prophecy. Shepherds, too, and founders of cities were under his special care. He had the title Pythias, because by his shafts he freed his mother from the attacks of the Python. His appearance, as conceived by painters and sculptors, was that of a man in the prime of beauty, tall, beardless, exquisitely proportioned, and carrying either a bow or a lyre. Parnassus and Tempe were among his favourite haunts, but Delphi was his true home, and his oracle there commanded for many centuries the veneration of the world. He had temples also in Delos, Claros, Tenedos, and Patara, and the Colossus at Rhodes was dedicated to him. Artemis was his twin sister. In the early religion of Rome there can be found no trace of this divinity, but his worship was early introduced from Greece, and became strongly rooted in the national customs. The famous statue in the Belvedere of the Vatican, though not of the best period of art, has furnished the popular idea of the god to later generations.