►Mythology: “Apollo And Daphne”:
Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros, Aphrodite´s son. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person’s heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.
The insulted Eros took two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead
With the leaden shaft, to incite hatred, he shot the nymph Daphne, the daughter of the river and god Peneus.
With the golden one, to incite love, he shot Apollo through the heart.
Apollo was seized with love for the maiden, Daphne, and she in turn abhorred him. In fact, she spurned her many potential lovers, preferring instead woodland sports and exploring the woods.
Apollo continually followed her, begging her to stay, but the nymph continued her flight. They were evenly matched in the race until Eros intervened and helped Apollo gain upon Daphne.
Seeing that Apollo was bound to catch her, she called upon her father, asking him to “Open the earth to enclose her”…
As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.
Apollo embraced the branches, but even the branches shrank away from him.
Since Apollo could no longer take her as his wife, he vowed to tend her as his tree, to raid away all tempted beasts and creatures of the earth, that intended to do her harm, and promised that her leaves would decorate the heads of leaders as crowns.
Apollo also used his powers of eternal youth and inmortality to render her ever green.
►Characteristics and Symbolism of The Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis):
Laurus Nobilis is an aromatic evergreen with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is one of the plants used for bay leaf seasoning in cooking. It is known as bay laurel or sweet bay. Laurus nobilis figures prominently in classical Greek, Roman, and Biblical culture.
Following the path of this myth, the leaves of the Bay Laurel tree were considered a symbol of the god Apollo.
Bay laurel was also used to fashion the laurel wreath of Ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status.
A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Game because these games were celebrated in honor of Apollo, and the laurel was also one of his symbols.
The symbolism carried over to Roman Culture, which held the laurel as a symbol of victory
In the Bible, the laurel is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.
►Slideshare: “Apollo And Daphne”:
►Read Aphollo and Daphne´s Myth.
Version from Ovid´s “Metamorphoses” (Book I):