Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes


(ancient Greek mythical figure)

Pan was a minor Greek god who had the figure of a man combined with the horns and legs of a goat. He is still fairly well known in popular culture, partly because of his visual and behavioral associations with satyrs and other Greek gods like Dionysus and Silenus.

Pan's foremost association was with rural, forest, and mountain life. He was also the god of shepherds and flocks. Stories about Pan often concern his pursuit of nymphs, who flee from his affections and are transformed into natural phenomena, e.g. Echo.

The word "panic" is derived from the name of Pan. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "Pan was thought to frequent mountains, caves, and lonely places, and sounds heard or fears experienced in such places came to be attributed to him."


Statue of Pan (left)
teaching Daphnis to play the Pan flute
(Roman copy of Greek original,
found at Pompeii)