Apolin is a god attributed to Muslims in Christian poems.
No-one has shown any way that Apolin, or the other commonly attributed gods Tervagant and Cahu, are in any way derived from authentic Muslim belief. They appear to be Christian slanders. Perhaps Apolin and the others originally came from Muslims being classed as pagans, being non-Christian, and it being known that the Classical pagans and Germanic pagans, and Irish pagans worshiped multiple gods. In story Vikings are much confused with later Muslim raiders.
Apolin sometimes takes the form Apollo, but whether this is an earlier form indicating that Apolin is derived from Apollo or whether it is a later form created when Apolin became confused with Apollo is not known. The name may also be from Apollyon, which appears in the book of Revelations 9.11:
and they had ouer them a king, the Angel of the bottomles depth, vvhose name in Hebrevv is Abaddon, and in Greeke Apollyon: in Latin hauing the name Exterminans. (Douay–Rheims Bible, 1582)Apollyon means ‘Destroyer’.
Apolin in Lawman’s BrutEdit
In Lawman’s Brut (Lawman), Apolin is given as one of the gods worshiped by Hengist. This is the sole text to connect a Muslim god to the Saxons, save for three mentions of Apolin in the English Arthour and Merlin.
Apolin in the Vulgate CycleEdit
Near the end of The Chariot portion of the Prose Lancelot, Nascien relates to Gawain how, long ago, Joseph of Arimathea on a missionary journey in Britain met a Saracen, later named Matagran, whose brother Argon was wounded. Joseph promised to heal Argon with God’s help and the Saracen asked which god, noting that “we have only four gods—Mahom, Apolin, Tervagant, and Jupiter”. Later, when Joseph met Argon, Argon referred to the same four gods. Joseph through preaching and prayer healed Argon. The two brothers and other Saracens converted to Christianity.
The author of this text appears to make no distinction between British pagans and followers of Islam whom he calls Saracens and is unaware that Muhammed was not believed to be god and was not yet born in Arthur’s time, much less in Joseph of Arimathea’s time.
The story is retold in the Estoire del Saint Graal, but here the protagonist is Joseph of Arimathea’s son Josephes. This version is translated into English as The Life of Joseph of Arimathy, the references to Apolin being at XLIX 152,189 in the Furnival edition.
Also in this same work Apolin is the name of an image in a temple containing altars to many gods in the city of Sarras. The pagan priests call him, “god of wisdom”. But when, challenged by Josephes, King Evalach tries to persuade Apolin to heal a man who has lost his speech and sight, the idol remains silent. Then a voice from the image of Mars claims that the Christian among them has bound Apolin. Then the devil leaves the image and by Josephes’ power takes a large golden eagle from the altar to the Sun and uses it to break the image of Apolin and the other images.
Apolin in the Prose TristanEdit
The beginning of the Prose Tristan has a confused chronology in which the story supposedly begins in the days of Joseph of Arimathea, but Gaul is ruled by the Franks and the names of the Frankish kings run from Meroveux (died 457) to Clovis (481–511), Clovis being the first Christian king of France. Clovis was Christened by St. Rémi in the year 496.
Sometime before Clovis’ Christening by St. Rémi, which is mentioned in the Prose Tristan, King Apollo the Adventuresome of Leonois is persuaded to Christianity by a vision of a certain captive St. Augustine, perhaps based on St. Augustine of Canterbury. When Apollo awakes, he goes to the temple of Apolin along with his wife Chelinde whom he now knows is also his mother. (PT:Cur. I.165.) St. Augustine is freed, Chelinde is burned at the stake, and King Apollo is Christened.
Then we are told that in Norholt, which is then the best city in Cornwall, the temple of Apolin in that city has the most altars. (There are also temples in Norholt dedicated to Jupiter, to Mars, and to Saturn, but Apolin is called, “god of science”). (PT:Cur. I.173.)
A philosopher in that city, who had come from Greece, hearing of the wonders that St. Augustine had performed, then built a new temple with a greater altar than possessed by the other temples, and wrote on it, “THIS IS THE ALTAR OF THE GOD OF WONDERS.” The King of Cornwall, Cicoriades becomes enraged by this, kills the philosopher but soon repents and is himself baptized by St. Augustine. At the same time Ireland was converted by Joseph of Arimathea.
Cicoriades dies when he attempts to persuade his wife Joene to set a trap for her lover by himself pretending to be Joene descending on a rope into her lover’s arms. Joene cuts the rope and Cicoriades falls to his death. The lovers flee. Cicoriades is buried in a Church of Our Lady, newly built where the temple of Apolin once stood. (PT:Cur. I.196.)
Apolin in Arthour and MerlinEdit
The English author of Arthour and Merlin adds thee mentions of Apolin to his poem. Twice pagan Saxons call on Apolin (lines 6096, 7598) and once Arthur, as he slays a Saxon/Irish king, condemns him to the devil Apolin (line 6372).
Some Name VariationsEdit
FRENCH: Apolin, Apollo, Apolo, Apollin, Apolinus; ENGLISH: Appollin, Apolin, Appollinn, Appolyn.