A son of Apollo or Smicrus of Delphi. His mother, a Milesian woman, dreamed at the time she gave birth to him, that the sun was passing through her body, and the seers interpreted this as a favorable sign. Apollo loved the boy Branchus for his great beauty, and endowed him with prophetic power, which he exercised at Didyma, near Miletus. Here he founded an oracle, of which his descendants, the Branchidae, were the priests, and which was held in great esteem, especially by the lonians and Aeolians.
The Branchidae later handed over part of the temple treasure to the Persian king Xerxes when he marched against the Greeks. Fearing the wrath of the Greeks, they fled to Bactriana, where later Alexander the Great punished their descendants for their crime.
- Conon. Narratives, 33.
- Herodotus. Histories i, 157.
- Lucian. Dialogi Deorum, 2; comp. Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v. Oraculum.
- Lutatius Placidus on Statius' Thebaid viii, 198.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
- Strabo. Geography xiv, 634; xvii, 814.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.