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Παιάν, Παιήων, Παιών, “the healer,” “helper”). In Homer ( Il. v. 401 Il., 899) the physician of the Olympian gods; then an epithet of gods who grant recovery and deliverance, especially of Apollo. The paean, which appears in Homer ( Il. i. 473; xxii. 391), was connected originally with Apollo and his sister Artemis. It was a solemn song for several voices, either praying for the averting of evil and for rescue, or giving thanks for help vouchsafed. The name was, however, also used in an extended sense for invocations to other gods. The paean was struck up by the generals before the battle and by armies on the march against the enemy as well as after the victory. Similarly it was sounded when the fleet sailed out of a harbour. Paeans were sung at entertainments between the meal and the carousal, and eventually also at public funerals.

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