Arcadia (Greek): Arcadia was the domain of Pan, a virgin wilderness home to the god of the forest and his court of dryads, nymphs and other spirits of nature. It was one version of paradise, though only in the sense of being the abode of supernatural entities, not an afterlife for deceased mortals.
Pan is a figure from Greek mythology who was originally a pastoral god from Arcadia. He was believed to dwell in the mountains and forests of Greece and was considered the patron of shepherds, hence one of his attributes is the lagobolon - a hare trap. Not fully human in form, his legs are that of a goat and he has horns sprouting from his head. Associated with music and its magical powers he is credited with inventing the syrinx musical instrument, better known as the panpipes. A wide assortment of myths surround Pan’s parentage but Hermes is most often named as his father and a Nymph as his mother.
In Modern Greek the word pan translates to “everything” or “all” but it’s much more likely that the god Pan derives his name from the Greek word root “pa” which translates to “Guardian of the flocks.” Pan’s first role has always been that of the shepherd, the guardian between civilization and the wild.
Pan hailed from the region in Greece known as Arcadia. To the ancient Greeks Arcadia was a magical, ancient place. They referred to it as the land “that existed before the moon,” and thought of it as the home of the first Greeks. And while the Greeks might have originated in this rocky, hilly, country in Greece, they didn’t stay there. Arcadia was a land of shepherds, peasants, and acorn gatherers; it was not a hotbed of agriculture or city-life.
As a god of the people Pan wasn’t worshiped in the traditional Greek way. Only in his native Arcadia was Pan worshiped in a temple, in most of the ancient world he was worshiped in caves or grottoes. The grottoes dedicated to Pan weren’t dedicated solely to him either; he generally shared his sacred space with nymphs local to the region. On the acropolis in Athens he wasn’t given a temple or even a church, it was said he resided in a crack on the side of the plateau that housed the acropolis. (The acropolis in Athens housed many temples and shrines dedicated to the ancient Greek Gods; the most magnificent structure on the top of the acropolis was the temple dedicated to Pallas. So next time.you are out in your little portion of Arcadia think of one the oldest Gods in human history.