Copyright - 1993 Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.
In Greek mythology, Python was a serpent that dwelt in the caves of Mount Parnassus and was slain by APOLLO, who then founded the sacred oracle at DELPHI or took it over from Python's guardianship. According to one version, a jealous Hera sent Python to harm LETO, impregnated by Zeus. Zeus helped Leto escape, and soon afterward she bore Apollo and Artemis. When Apollo was still an infant, he avenged the wrong done his mother by slaying Python with his arrows, which he had never before used against any but the most feeble animals. He then took the name Pythius and organized the Pythian Games--which tested a man in strength, swiftness of foot, and chariot racing--to celebrate his victory. In other versions Apollo killed Python simply because it would not allow him to found the oracle.