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Flora, or Chloris, the goddess of gardens and flowers, was worshipped under the former name by the Romans, but by the Greeks she was adored as Chloris: this goddess is depicted as a beautiful nymph, crowned with flowers, and holding in her hand the cornucopia, or horn of plenty.
She was united to Zephyrus, the god of flowers, (poetically the west wind,) and it is said by the poets that he bestowed upon her perpetual youth.
The worship of Flora is supposed to have been general among the Sabines, before their union with the Romans, and after their settlement in Rome, Tatius erected a temple there to her honour: festivals, called Floralia, were likewise solemnized every year in remembrance of her, and games celebrated.
Flora is frequently considered as a personification of the Spring, and as such Anacreon describes her :—
See the young, the rosy Spring,
Gives to the breeze her spangled wing;
Are sweetly tissued by his beam.
Nursing into luxury!
Anacreon, ode 46.
This goddess, who was of Roman origin, and totally unknown to the Greeks, presided over gardens and fruit trees. Vertumnus, the rural god to whom orchards and the spring were sacred, prevailed upon Pomona to marry him, after she had rejected numerous suitors. A temple at Rome was dedicated to her, where a priest, called Flamen Pomonalis, offered sacrifices, and entreated an abundant supply of fruit.
Pomona was usually represented as a beautiful nymph, sitting on a basket filled with flowers and fruits, holding in one hand a bough, and in the other apples.
A Hamadryad flourished in these days,
Her name Pomona, from her woodland race.
OVID'S Metamorphoses, book 14.
AURORA, the goddess of the morning, was the daughter of Hyperion and Thea. Amongst the Greeks she was frequently known under the name of Eos: she is one of the inferior goddesses, and her worship does not appear to have been very prevalent in either Rome or Greece. Aurora is depicted as a lovely woman, seated in a rose-coloured chariot, drawn by white horses, and preceding Phoebus, or the sun, for whom she opens the gates of the east. At her approach, Somnus and Nox, together with the stars of night, hide themselves as she ushers in the dawn.
The dews of early morning are poetically supposed by Ovid to be the tears which Aurora sheds for the loss of her favourite son Memnon, who was slain by Achilles in the Trojan war.
Authors have remarked the diversified and yet singularly beautiful manner in which Homer introduces the day-break : for example :
Now reddening from the dawn, the morning ray
Soon as the Morn, in orient purple drest,
O'er the eastern lawn, In saffron robes, the daughter of the dawn Advanced her rosy steps.
The saffron morn, with early blushes spread,
Now from her rosy car Aurora shed
Now fair Aurora lifts her golden ray,
Now did the rosy-fingered morn arise,
From the ruddy orient shone, The morn conspicuous on her golden throne.
Thus o'er the rolling surge the vessel flies,
Through heaven's bright portals pours the beamy day.