Where did the laurel wreath come from
The sweet taste of victory, deafening ovations, world fame and enthusiastic exclamations of admirers in honor of conquered peaks and new open horizons ... All this is inextricably linked in our minds with such as “winning the palm”, “being kissed by Fortune” and “putting on Laurel wreath". All this has become so familiar and mundane for us that few people even think about the meaning of these words and certainly do not delve into the history of their appearance. Nevertheless, it is the realization of the simplest truths that often turns out to be one of the most difficult tasks, and therefore it is very important at times to understand the essence of those.
Appeal to flora
Like many other realities of our modern life, such a concept as “laurel wreath” originates in Ancient Greece, in the very origins of our cultural traditions, beliefs and views on art and the world as a whole. You do not need to be a specialist in the field of biology in order to understand what, in fact, is associated with this expression.
The name of this item is quite obviously associated with one of the oldest symbols borrowed from the world of flora, the laurel tree, common in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the history of the emergence of this symbol is much more complex and romantic. In order to understand the essence of the value, you should refer to Greek mythology.
Relationship with the golden god
For a man who knows about Antiquity, the laurel wreath is inseparably linked with the name of Apollo - the son of the powerful Zeus and the goddess Leto. Traditionally, this representative of the Greek pantheon is depicted as a beautiful young man with a bow in his hand and a harp behind his back. Due to the amazing beauty, grace and masculinity, it is he who is considered to be a kind of ideal of male stats and appearance in general. And the head of Apollo is decorated with the famous laurel wreath, the appearance of which is associated with a romantic but tragic love story.
Arrow of eros
According to myths, the beautiful son of Zeus, in addition to the keen eye and the gift of foresight, also possessed an excessively large self-conceit, for which he later had to pay.Eros, who decided to teach Apollo a lesson, pierced his heart with a magical arrow of love, and the young man sang with love for the daughter of the river god Penea, the nymph Daphne.
Fate was not favorable to the beautiful god, and the girl did not share his feelings. In obedience to the torment of the heart, Apollo rushed in pursuit of Daphne, but failed to catch up with her - exhausted, the nymph appealed to her father, asking him for help and salvation. Penny answered his beloved daughter's prayer in a very peculiar way - Daphne's thin camp was covered with bark, hands turned into branches, stretched toward the sky, and her hair was replaced with green bay leaves.
Realizing that he was not destined to be with his beloved, the son of Zeus wove a wreath to the memory of his undivided feeling for a beautiful nymph, which later became his symbol and permanent attribute.
First victory sign
Nevertheless, the ending of this rather sad story was not so gloomy. Everyone knows that a laurel wreath is a symbol of victory in the modern world. It was such a value that the ancient Greeks invested in it, rewarding the best participants of the Pythian Games, arranged to pay honor to the god of beauty and sunshine Apollo.Since then, the world has made it a tradition to cap the winner's head with a wreath from this evergreen plant with a sad history.
Laurel and other nations
This tree had a deep meaning and power not only for the Greeks and Romans, who inherited their traditions. The laurel wreath had a different meaning. For example, the inhabitants of ancient China, he symbolized eternal life and rebirth.
In the Christian tradition, this tree is almost inextricably linked with the memorial ceremony, since it was laurel wreaths that were used, as a rule, at funerals.
The formation of the symbol of victory
Few people know, but the modern understanding of this peculiar decoration has arisen largely due to the Great French bourgeois revolution. It was then that the laurel wreath - the symbol of victory - became such, having entered into heraldry. In the XVIII century, the branches of this plant decorated the coat of arms of the French Republic, and then the banners of other countries.
It is no secret that the ancient Greeks, and then the Romans, paid great attention to sports, arranging numerous games and grandiose competitions. Head decoration with a laurel wreath as a reward was available at that time only to outstanding fighters, or, for example, throwers of spears.
Nevertheless, times change, and traditions change along with them - in the modern world not only athletes, but also outstanding figures of culture, art, science and even journalism continually receive the privilege to crown their heads with a wreath of bay leaves.
The biggest difference is that today it has become, rather, a common figurative expression, rather than the actual material embodiment of the victory won. Nevertheless, medals, cups and certificates, decorated with these floral ornaments, today can not be called a rarity. The symbol of victory, which arose in ancient times of Antiquity, reached our days, transforming into time, but not losing its greatness.