Roman plant-lore?

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Dendrias
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Roman plant-lore?

Postby Dendrias » 01 Jul 2010, 21:46

Once upon a time, when the gods were walking on the earth, two of them did just that: Iuppiter and Mercurius, disguised as humans, have knocked on every door to ask for a bed - not one let them in. Except an old couple: Philemon and Baucis.
It was them who, under great labour, invited the gods into their little hut, set up a crooked table with a withered rough linen on top. They made a fire, cooked some vegetables right from the small garden and gave away a piece from the precious meat. Of course, they were talking to the gods not to bore them while hard working for the guests.
After the meal indeed came the dessert, honey, nuts, figs, apples and wine. But look! The bowl filled itself again and again with wine! When the old people realised the presence of gods, they apologised, prayed and wanted to sacrifice their only goose. But the goose took shelter behind the gods' very legs. So she was spared the sacrifice.
Iuppiter disclosed the gods' plan: Your neighbours, he said, are evil people and will be punished. You piously and honourably gave us shelter, so come with us to be spared the punishment.
Walking away with the gods, Philemon and Baucis turned to look back at their former home and saw the neighbourhood be drowned in a swamp. Except their own house. Philemon and Baucis weeped over their neighbours deaths and saw their own house be turned into a temple of marble decorated with gold.
What do You wish, Iuppiter asked the old couple.
To be Your priests and not to see the other's death, was the answer.
And so it happened:
After years of service, one day in front of their temple, Philemon saw Baucis's and Baucis saw Philemon's face being covered with leaves, and simultaneously they said: Farewell, my beloved. They grew treetops, their arms turned to branches and their feet to roots. Their skin was covered with bark.
Even nowadays, You can see an oak and a lime tree close to another beneath the temple.
Who honours the gods, will be rewarded by them.

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DaRC
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby DaRC » 02 Jul 2010, 13:36

thanks for that - I'm not familiar with Roman myths :D
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Dendrias
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Dendrias » 02 Jul 2010, 14:49

My pleasure.
I haven't done any research in depth - perhaps, when I've got some spare time ...
That's a myth told by Ovidius, he's got quite a lot of these nice stories. When thinking about that, I thought that somehow it's like a plant lore. I'll look for more Ovidian stories and share with You (if You want or not). E.g. Narcissus and Echo, Apollon and Daphne.

Dendrias
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Dendrias » 12 Sep 2010, 12:00

I was reciting a myth that had to do with divine judgement and justice, right behaviour against strangers and deep love. All this was incorporated into two trees: oak for the man, lime tree for the woman.

Apollon and Daphne (again Ovidian)
Apollon fell in love with Daphne, a beatiful mountain nymph, son of the river god Peneios. This love was no fine love, it was a revenge: Once upon a time Apollon had ridiculed Cupido – and to ridicule or disrespect a god is never a promising thing. In a very bad temper Cupido took two arrows out of his quiver: the golden, sharp one arouses love, the blunt one made of lead makes every feeling of love flee out of the mind. And zip! the golden one into Apollon's heart, zap! the lead one into Daphne's heart.

Strong emotion can be a god who does no god. Daphne lives in the woods, hunts game, dresses like the huntress-goddess, Apollon's own sister. And like Artemis she asks her father to remain unmarried, to have eternal virginity. And like Zeus her father grants her this wish.

Apollon, of course, can't think of anything else than Daphnes beauty, Daphne's warm skin, her tender embrace, her flowing, ambrosial hair. He wants her. He is burning with desire, consumed by the fire of love.

Alas, she flees him. He runs after her, shouting: „I'm not your enemy, don't flee me! Don't hurt yourself in your flight! I will follow you slower, but don't hurt your foot! You just don't know who I am: I can foresee and tell the future, I am master of all remedies and herbs – woe is me, that there is no remedy against love!“

Daphne is fleeing even faster, her hair is loosened by the wind, so is her dress. The pursueing god is aroused even more to see her beautiful, sweaty back before his very eyes. But powers leave Daphne as she reaches the river Peneios. With a pale face she sinks to her knees and prays: „Dear father, if you rivers have powers, let devour me earth, on which I too much pleased. Or change this body that aroused love too much!“

And so it happens: Her breast is covered with bast, her hair turns into leaves, her arms grow into branches, her formerly fast feet stick into the earth with roots, only her shining beauty remains. Apollon embraces her still beating breast, tries to kiss the warm wood, but the wood flees his kiss. „As you can't be my bride, be my tree. My lyre, my quiver, my hair shall always be adorned with you, my beloved!“ And the bay laurel that once was Daphne to this words seemed to nod her green crown.

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Huathe
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Huathe » 17 Sep 2010, 06:43

I have heard the one of Apollon & Daphne.

Sad but beautiful.

:huathe:
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Scylla
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Scylla » 15 Jun 2011, 11:39

And since then it was consider propitious to have a Bay Laurel tree on the garden to seek Apollo's protection against sickness.

I have one.

Just in case.
You don´t choose your believes, your believes choose you.

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DaRC
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby DaRC » 15 Jun 2011, 12:11

oh it protects against sickness too :wink:
I have one... for spaghetti bolognaise amongst other recipes :)
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image

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Scylla
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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Scylla » 30 Jun 2011, 21:53

It was used in Divination also. The priestess chew fresh leaves (it contains some kind of toxic product that allows visions)

Other way was to burn a branch and observed the burning of it and the smoke.

But bolognese is good too. Lots of things to see in the bowl. :-)

:hiya:
You don´t choose your believes, your believes choose you.

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Re: Roman plant-lore?

Postby Mannan » 19 May 2014, 21:43

Daphne was turned into a Laurel to protect her from Apollo's love-madness. He fell in love with her nonetheless, and made Laurel his tree, so it is a tree of healing... Ovid, again!


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