I recently heard in an online lecture by Dr. Martin Blinder that the Romans had considered Apollo's birthday to be December 25th. I'm having trouble finding a source that validates this statement

  • 1
    The Romans held the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti festival on December 25th, in honour of Sol Invictus. Perhaps that's what you have in mind?
    – yannis
    Oct 6 '17 at 23:50
  • Well, Sol was a Sun god, but I don't believe he was equated with the Greek god Apollo, but rather Helios.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 7 '17 at 4:27

One can refer to 25 December as Apollo's 'birthday' but he certainly didn't have a monopoly on the day.

Apollo, being associated with (among many other things) the sun / light, was one of many pagan gods who was linked to December 25th. This is connected to the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun (hence the date being after December 21st - at one point December 23rd was celebrated but this was later changed to December 25th). For the Romans, though, Apollo was less important than he was for the Greeks. The Romans already had a deity for the sun (although Apollo became more popular at some point) and thus there was an

antagonism between Apollo and Sol. In its form of Sol Indiges, the latter was apparently an age-old Roman deity, whose functional sphere came to overlap with that of Greek Apollo as an identification of the ‘sun’, when the latter identification became prominent in Rome in the Augustan period

Source: Michael Lipka, 'Roman Gods

See also 'Sol Invictus'


25 December is very close after the winter solstice. That has significant meaning in many religions.

  • 4
    Actually, the winter solstice is about 21 December in the northern hemisphere - right in the middle of the Roman Saturnalia festival. Oct 7 '17 at 0:39
  • correct me if i am wrong, but i had heard that the 25th was the first day that it appeared to the naked eye that the sun was ascending into the horizon as opposed to descending.
    – ed.hank
    Apr 3 '18 at 16:50

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