The image of Pan is a familiar one – half a goat and half a man, Pan looks like no other god. His body is that of a muscular man with a broad chest and strong arms, while below the waist he has the shaggy thighs and cloven hooves of a goat. His face is bearded and upon his head are a pair of horns.
Pan has his origins in the Greek region of Arcadia (sometimes called Arcady). This is a secluded rural mountainous region in the Peloponnesian peninsular. This name was originally derived from a word ‘paein’ meaning ‘pasture’ and he was the god of shepherds, fields and wild places. Because Pan means ‘all’ in Greek, the classical Greeks of the ancient worlds considered Pan to be the god of greatest rank.
Pan is a rustic god. His domain is pastures, fields, woodland groves and mountainous regions. He is also associated with the sudden fear that can be felt in wild, dangerous places and, as such, he gives his name to the word ‘panic’. He has been known to cause sudden panic in large crowds and even armies on the field of battle. It was said that when he was born, his mother ran in fear after seeing his face.
As a god of nature he is associated with the Spring and fertility. The ancient Greeks often depicted him as a phallic god who attempted to copulate with anything that he could catch – whether it be maiden, nymph, shepherd or goat.