Apollo never got married, but there once came a time when he got very close to marriage.
This story happened in Aetolia, in West Greece, with the beautiful princess Marpissa.
Marpissa's father, King Evinos, was a son of the war-god Ares and therefore a very skillful fighter.
Only the best was good enough for his daughter. So when Marpissa reached the age of marriage,
Evinos decided to give his daughter's hand only to the one who would beat him on a chariot race.
Many men took the challenge but Evinos won them all. Heartlessly, he cut off all the heads of the defeated.
Until one day, a young man named Ida came along with his winged chariot.
Ida was a son of Poseidon and famous for being unbeatable. When he saw Marpissa dance, he fell in love with her.
Secretly, he approached the princess and told her: "Dont be afraid, I don't want to do harm. Just come with me and let's leave before dawn!"
Touched by Ida's tenderness, Marpissa listened to his words. So the couple fled in the middle of the night and went to Messine, in southern Greece.
When king Evinos found out his daughter was missing, he desperately set off in pursuit of her. But while he was crossing the river Lykorma, Evinos lost hope. So he slaughtered his horses and drowned in the river.
The river was later on named "Evinos" to honor the king.
But Evinos was not the only one pursuing the couple. There was also Apollo, the handsome god of the sun, who was also madly in love with Marpissa and wanted to marry her as well.
Soon, Apollo found Ida and they started a fight. The fight was fearsome, for Ida was very strong. Until suddenly, Zeus, the king of the gods, took notice of the fight and mediated by hurling a thunderbolt between them.
"What's the matter?", Zeus wanted to know.
"Father, I am in love with Marpissa and want to marry her", said Apollo. "But this mortal wants to put obstacles to our wedding!"
"King of gods", replied Ida, "Marpissa is mine and we love each other!".
The wise Zeus remained sceptical a while. Then he turned to Marpissa and said:
"Princess Marpissa, it's up to you to decide!"
Marpissa smiled and said wisely: "Apollo you are a god, you will always be youthful and strong. But look at me, I am a mortal. I am still young,
but one day I will be old and gray. Then you won't love me anymore and will surely leave me. So I take Ida for my husband."
Apollo gave up, impressed by the maturity of the princess. He wished the couple well and left cheerfully on his winged chariot.