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her shoulder. In Montenegro a bride takes an apple and attempts to throw it upon the roof of her husband's house, believing that, if she succeeds, their union will be blessed with children.2

The Greek and Roman counterpart of this modern conception of the efficacy of the apple in such matters forms the subject of this paper. I have endeavored to make a complete collection of the allusions to the thing in literature, and have used the evidence of art, in a few places, where it promised to be helpful. I have not, however, attempted a thorough study of the representations of the apple in ancient art.

The word 'apple' I have ventured to use throughout as a convenient translation of μîλov, which may mean almost any sort of tree-fruit, except the nut. To attempt to distinguish the different kinds of μnλa, or to determine which kind is meant in each particular instance would be beside my purpose. Any one who is interested in this phase of the subject will find a good treatment of the words unλov, malum, etc., in Victor Hehn's Kulturpflanzen u. Hausthiere, 1894, pp. 594 ff.3

In considering the apple as a love gift, it will be convenient to start with its connexion with Aphrodite. For this we have in art, including that of the best period, very abundant evidence, and I shall cite only a few typical illustrations. Pausanias,* in describing the cult at Sicyon, tells of a statue of the goddess by Canachus, which held a poppy in one hand, and an apple in the other. The Aphrodite of Alcamenes, too, of which the so-called Venus Genetrix is a copy, held an apple in her left hand. Fränkel describes an archaic mirror frame, now in the Berlin Antiquarium, in which Aphrodite is represented with an apple in her right hand. A silver statuette from Syria represents her with a mirror in one hand, and an apple in the other. The Rhamnusian Nemesis is


1 R. Folcard, Jr., Plant Lore, Legends and Lyrics, Lond., 1884, p. 220.

2 Ibid. p. 222; other examples will be found in this chapter.

* See also the article Apfel by F. Olck in the Pauly-Wissowa Real-Encyclopädie,


4 Paus. ii. 10. 5.

5 Arch. Zeit. xxxi. p. 39.

6 Lajard, Recherches sur le culte de Venus, Pl. 19, 5 (cited by Fränkel).

represented as holding an apple bough, and the Rhamnusian Nemesis, we are told,1 was patterned after Aphrodite. With the statue of Aphrodite discovered in Melos were found certain fragments, one of which is a left hand holding an apple. It is Fränkel's opinion that this belongs with the statue, though this is doubtful. It would be easy to multiply examples, but it is, perhaps, unnecessary.


To the connexion of the goddess with fruits, points also the cultname èv kýtoɩs, under which designation Aphrodite Urania was worshiped at Athens. Further evidence of her being a vegetation goddess-Aphrodite des Erdenlebens- are the titles μŋλeía,2 év kaλáμηλεία, καλάμοις, οἱ ἐν ἔλει, ἄνθεια, ζείδωρος, ἠπιόδωρος, and εὔκαρπος. With these may be compared the famous invocation by Lucretius in his first book.8




Another good proof of this connexion of the apple with Aphrodite is the Atalanta myth. The story as told by Servius is, in brief, as follows: Atalanta's father Schoeneus learned from an oracle that, after her marriage, she was destined to die, or, according to other accounts, to be transformed into some animal. To prevent such a catastrophe, the trial of speed was imposed upon all wooers, with the provision that, in the event of her being victorious, the defeated suitor should suffer death, but that the first man who succeeded in out-running her should have her for his wife. Hippomenes called upon Aphrodite for aid in his attempt, and the goddess gave him three golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides, and explained to him their use. Provided with these, Hippomenes entered the race, and, whenever Atalanta's fleetness left him behind, he threw out an apple, to one side or the other, and she, stopping each time to pick up the pretty

1 Cf. Suidas, Hesychius, Photius, s.vv.

2 Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, ii. pp. 642 f., says: "The pomegranate was sacred to her in Cyprus and on coins, of the Roman period, of Magnesia on the Maeander we find the figure of the goddess with this fruit in her hand, and with the inscription 'Αφροδίτη μηλεία.”

8 Athen. xiii. 572 F.

4 Hesychius s.v.

5 Empedocles so called her, according to Plutarch, Am. p. 756 E.

• Stesichorus, frag. 26.

7 Plutarch, loc. cit., says Sophocles so called her.

8 Lucr. i. 1 ff., especially vv. 7 f., tibi suavis daedala tellus | summittit flores.

toy, was vanquished in the race, and became his bride. Hippomenes, however, forgot or neglected to return thanks to Aphrodite, and was punished by Cybele, whose sacred grove Aphrodite had impelled him to violate, by being turned, with his bride, into a pair of lions.1

This story is a very old one. We can trace it back, through a couple of fragments, to Hesiod's poem on the Heroines. But these fragments afford no evidence that Hesiod told about apples in this story, nor have we any pre-Alexandrine author to help us; for Theocritus is the earliest writer, next to Hesiod, who furnishes any allusion to the myth. We should be compelled to admit, then, that Atalanta's apples, like the apple of Discord, might possibly have been a late invention, were it not for a Greek crater, discovered in 1887, which Robert 3 describes as belonging to the best period of the art- the middle of the fifth century—and to the school of Polygnotus. I think everybody must agree with him that there can be no question but that this painting represents the story of Atalanta. Its chief features are these: on the left are Schoeneus and Atalanta — the latter nude, save for a band wound about her hair, with its ends fluttering in the breeze, and bands of some sort (Ovid's talaria*) about her feet. On the right, Hippomenes is making ready. He has put off his chlamys, and, having anointed himself, is about to use the flesh-scraper, but has stopped short, and is gazing in astonishment at Aphrodite, who, dressed in rich attire, appears before him, though she seems to be invisible to the others. In her right hand is an apple, which she is reaching out to Hippomenes, and Eros, who attends her, carries another apple. It cannot be made out, from the somewhat obliterated left hand of the goddess, whether that holds the third apple, or not. Other (male) figures are perhaps attendants upon Hippomenes, or, it may be, his rivals for the hand of the princess.

1 Serv. ad Aen. iii. 113.

2 Edition of Rzach, frag. 42, 43.

8 Hermes, xxii. pp. 445 ff.

4 Ov. Metam. x. 591.

5 For the apple in connexion with Eros, which is doubtless due to his relationship to Aphrodite, cf. Philostr. Imag. i. 6; Furtwängler, Vasen-sammlung (Berlin 1885), nos. 2387, 2911, etc.

So it seems certain that when Theocritus says:

Ιππομένης ὅκα δὴ τὰν παρθένον ἤθελε γᾶμαι,

μᾶλ ̓ ἐν χερσὶν ἑλὼν δρόμον ἄνυεν·

Theoc. Idyll. iii. 40 f.

he is not inventing, nor borrowing from another Alexandrine, but is thinking of the old form of the legend, perhaps that of Hesiod himself. Robert notes, also, that Ovid's beautiful version of the story is in curiously minute accord with this painting. He, too, is apparently drawing from the same source with Theocritus.


Before dismissing this story, I should not omit to state that there are traces of a version connecting the apples of Atalanta with Dionysus. Theocritus, in the Pharmaceutriae, makes the lover speak of coming to his mistress,

μᾶλα μὲν ἐν κόλποισι Διωνύσοιο φυλάσσων,

Theoc. Idyll. ii. 120.

and the scholiast comments: Μᾶλα μέν : Καλλίμαχος ἐν τῷ περὶ Λογάδων τὸν Διονύσου στέφανον ἐκ μήλων εἶναί φησιν, ἐξ ὧν καὶ τὸν Ιππομένην λαβεῖν, ̓Αφροδίτης αιτησαμένης, ὡς Διόδωρος ὁ ποιητὴς ἐν Κορινθικοῖς. Μᾶλα μὲν ἐν κόλπ ̓ : τὰ ἐράσμια καὶ ἔρωτος ποιητικά, καθὸ ὑπὸ ̓Αφροδίτης διδόμενα τῷ ̔Ιππομένει μῆλα ἐκ Διονύσου. ταῦτα δὲ εἰς ἔρωτα τὴν ̓Αταλάντην ἐκίνησεν, ὥς φησιν ὁ Φιλητᾶς·

τά οἵ ποτε Κύπρις ἑλοῖσα

μῆλα Διωνύσου δῶκεν ἀπὸ κροτάφων.

This scholium is also noteworthy, as affording the only hint which we have, that the golden apples had, for Atalanta, any significance apart from their beauty, which attracted her as a toy does a child.

1 Loc. cit. p. 448.

2 Ov. Metam. x. 560 ff. Note especially vv. 650 f.; 578-580; 591 ff.

3 The late epigrammatist Arabius saw in Atalanta's apples a marriage-gift (on which see below):

ἕδνα γάμων ἔρριπτες ἢ ἀμβολίην ταχυτῆτος

τοῦτο γέρας κούρῃ χρύσεον, Ιππόμενες ;

ἄμφω μῆλον ἄνυσσεν, ἐπεὶ καὶ παρθένον ὁρμῆς
εἶργεν, καὶ ζυγίης σύμβολον ἦν Παφίης.

Anth. Plan. 144.


Let us next consider the story of the Apple of Discord and the Judgment of Paris. So far as we know, the apple in this story is, as I have said, a late invention. It is so familiar a tale, that we can hardly realize that the classic poets of Greece did not know it at all, but this seems to be the truth. Lucian,1 a scholiast on Euripides,2 the epigrammatist Damocharis, and the very late epic poet Coluthus* are our only sources in Greek, while Latin literature has only Hyginus, Servius, Apuleius," and some writers in the Anthology. Art can do no better for us. Here it first certainly appears, says Fränkel, in wall-paintings and Roman reliefs. Nevertheless, the lateness of its appearance in the story does not make it valueless for us, since it furnishes one more piece of evidence that the apple was, in ancient times, connected with Aphrodite. Fränkel,10 indeed, sees in this legend a direct connexion with the subject of the present study, surmising that these late writers conceived of Paris as bestowing his favor upon the goddess by the symbolism of the gift of an apple, just as men gave apples to their mortal sweethearts. With this idea I am not inclined to agree, however, since none of our sources for this story make Paris a lover of Aphrodite, nor do they give any hint of such a thing - unless the award of the apple be itself considered

as implying it.

Still another indication of the relation of the apple to Aphrodite is the story of Melus, as told by Servius." He relates that Melus, priest of Aphrodite, and foster-father of Adonis, hanged himself on a tree, with grief at the latter's untimely death. Aphrodite then turned him into an apple-tree, which was named, for him, μîλov.

1 Lucian, Sympos. 35; Dial. Mar. 5.

2 Schol. Eur. Androm. 276.

8 Anth. Pal. ix. 633.

4 Coluthus, de raptu Helenes, 67.

5 Hyg. Fab. 92.

6 Serv. ad Aen. i. 27.

7 Apul. Metam. x. 32.

8 Riese, i. p. 117, Nos. 133, 134, 135; p. 125, Nos. 165, 166.

9 Loc. cit. p. 38, note 12.

10 Ibid. p. 38.

11 Serv. ad Ecl. viii. 37.

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