Laurel wreath

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A laurel wreath decorating a memorial at the Folketing, the national parliament of Denmark. LaurelwreathDK.JPG
A laurel wreath decorating a memorial at the Folketing, the national parliament of Denmark.

A laurel wreath is a round wreath made of connected branches and leaves of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), an aromatic broadleaf evergreen, or later from spineless butcher's broom ( Ruscus hypoglossum ) or cherry laurel ( Prunus laurocerasus ). It is a symbol of triumph and is worn as a chaplet around the head, or as a garland around the neck. The symbol of the laurel wreath traces back to Greek mythology. Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head, and wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions. This includes the ancient Olympics — for which they were made of wild olive tree known as "kotinos" (κότινος), [1] (sc. at Olympia) — and in poetic meets; in Rome they were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph. Whereas ancient laurel wreaths are most often depicted as a horseshoe shape, modern versions are usually complete rings.[ citation needed ]

Wreath assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs, or various materials that is constructed to form a ring

A wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs, or various materials that is constructed to form a ring.

<i>Ruscus hypoglossum</i> species of plant

Ruscus hypoglossum is a small evergreen shrub with a native range from Italy north to Austria and Slovakia and east to Turkey and Crimea. Common names include spineless butcher's-broom, mouse thorn and horse tongue lily. The species name comes from two Greek words ὑπό (hypo) and γλῶσσα (glōssa) meaning under and tongue.

<i>Prunus laurocerasus</i> species of plant

Prunus laurocerasus, also known as cherry laurel, common laurel and sometimes English laurel in North America, is an evergreen species of cherry (Prunus), native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania and Bulgaria east through Turkey to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Iran.

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In common modern idiomatic usage it refers to a victory. The expression "resting on one's laurels" refers to someone relying entirely on long-past successes for continued fame or recognition, where to "look to one's laurels" means to be careful of losing rank to competition. [2]

Idiom combination of words that has a figurative meaning

An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, occurring frequently in all languages. It is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.

Background

Apollo and Daphne Bockhorst Apollo und Daphne.jpg
Apollo and Daphne

Apollo, the patron of sport, is associated with the wearing of a laurel wreath. [3] This association arose from the ancient Greek mythology story of Apollo and Daphne . Apollo mocked the god of love, Eros (Cupid), for his use of bow and arrow, since Apollo is also patron of archery. The insulted Eros then prepared two arrows--one of gold and one of lead. He shot Apollo with the gold arrow, instilling in the god a passionate love for the river nymph Daphne. He shot Daphne with the lead arrow, instilling in her a hatred of Apollo. Apollo pursued Daphne until she begged to be free of him and was turned into a laurel tree. [3]

Greek mythology body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Apollo and Daphne story from ancient Greek mythology

Apollo and Daphne is a story from ancient Greek mythology, retold by Hellenistic and Roman authors in the form of an amorous vignette.

Eros god of love in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Eros is the Greek god of love and sex. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). Normally, he is described as one of the children of Aphrodite and Ares and, with some of his siblings, was one of the Erotes, a group of winged love gods. In some traditions, he is described as one of the primordial gods.

Apollo vowed to honor Daphne forever and used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to render the laurel tree evergreen. Apollo then crafted himself a wreath out of the laurel branches and turned Daphne into a cultural symbol for him and other poets and musicians. [3]

Academic use

In some countries the laurel wreath is used as a symbol of the master's degree. The wreath is given to young masters at the university graduation ceremony. The word "laureate" in 'poet laureate' refers to the laurel wreath. The medieval Florentine poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri, a member of the Sicilian School [4] , is often represented in paintings and sculpture wearing a laurel wreath.

Laureate association with literary awards or military glory

In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary awards or military glory. It is also used for winners of the Nobel Prize, Gandhi Peace Award and the Student Peace Prize.

Poet laureate Wikimedia disambiguation page

A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions. Albertino Mussato of Padua and Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) of Arezzo, both now part of Italy, were the first to be crowned poets laureate after the classical age, respectively in 1315 and 1342. In Britain, the term dates from the appointment of Bernard André by Henry VII of England. The royal office of Poet Laureate in England dates from the appointment of John Dryden in 1668.

Dante Alighieri Italian poet

Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri, commonly known by his pen name Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante, was an Italian poet during the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.

In Italy, the term laureato is used in to refer to any student who has graduated. Right after the graduation ceremony, or laurea in Italian, the student receives a laurel wreath to wear for the rest of the day. This tradition originated at the University of Padua [ citation needed ] and has spread in the last two centuries to all Italian universities.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

University of Padua university in Italy

The University of Padua is an Italian university located in the city of Padua, Veneto, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law. Padua is the second-oldest university in Italy and the world's fifth-oldest surviving university. In 2010 the university had approximately 65,000 students, in 2016 was ranked "best university" among Italian institutions of higher education with more than 40,000 students, and in 2018 best Italian university according to ARWU ranking.

Ovid with laurel wreath, common in poets Latin Poet Ovid.jpg
Ovid with laurel wreath, common in poets

At Connecticut College in the United States, members of the junior class carry a laurel chain, which the seniors pass through during commencement. It represents nature and the continuation of life from year to year. Immediately following commencement, the junior girls write out with the laurels their class year, symbolizing they have officially become seniors and the period will repeat itself the following spring. [5]

At Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA, laurel has been a fixture of commencement traditions since 1900, when graduating students carried or wore laurel wreaths. In 1902, the chain of mountain laurel was introduced; since then, tradition has been for seniors to parade around the campus, carrying and linked by the chain. The mountain laurel represents the bay laurel used by the Romans in wreaths and crowns of honor. [6]

At Reed College in Portland, Oregon, United States, members of the senior class receive laurel wreaths upon submitting their senior thesis in May. The tradition stems from the use of laurel wreaths in athletic competitions; the seniors have "crossed the finish line," so to speak. [7]

At St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts, students who successfully complete three years of one classical language and two of the other earn the distinction of the Classics Diploma and the honor of wearing a laurel wreath on Prize Day.[ citation needed ]

In Sweden, those receiving a doctorate or an honorary doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy (meaning philosophy, languages, arts, history and social sciences), receive a laurel wreath during the ceremony of conferral of the degree.[ citation needed ]

In Finland, in University of Helsinki a laurel wreath is given during the ceremony of conferral for masters's degree. Doctors wear a special kind of Doctoral hat.[ citation needed ]

Architectural and decorative arts motif

Alexander Garden Grille Alexander Garden Grille fragment3.JPG
Alexander Garden Grille

The laurel wreath is a common motif in architecture, furniture, and textiles. [8] The laurel wreath is seen carved in the stone and decorative plaster works of Robert Adam, and in Federal, Regency, Directoire, and Beaux-Arts periods of architecture. In decorative arts, especially during the Empire period, the laurel wreath is seen woven in textiles, inlaid in marquetry, and applied to furniture in the form of gilded brass mounts. Alfa Romeo added a laurel wreath to their logo after they won the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925 with the P2 racing car.[ citation needed ]

As used in heraldry

A laurel wreath in the emblem of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist labour union, the CNT CNT Emblem.svg
A laurel wreath in the emblem of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist labour union, the CNT

Laurel wreaths are sometimes used in heraldry. It may be used as a charge in the shield, around the shield, or on top of it. [9]

Wreath of service

Wreath of Service Olive wreath.svg
Wreath of Service

The "wreath of service" is located on all commissioner position patches in the Boy Scouts of America. This is a symbol for the service rendered to units and the continued partnership between volunteers and professional Scouter. The wreath of service represents commitment to program and unit service. [10]

Further reading


See also

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Daphne figure in Greek mythology

Daphne a minor figure in Greek mythology, is a naiad, a variety of female nymph associated with fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater. She is said by ancient sources variously to have been a daughter of the river god Peneus and the nymph Creusa in Thessaly or of Ladon or Pineios, and to Ge .

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<i>Laurus nobilis</i> species of plant

Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glabrous leaves, in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as bay leaf for seasoning in cooking. Its common names include bay tree, bay laurel, sweet bay, true laurel, Grecian laurel, or simply laurel. Laurus nobilis figures prominently in classical Greco-Roman culture.

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Calliope muse of epic poetry

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<i>Apollo and Daphne</i> (Bernini) marble sculpture by Gianlorenzo Bernini

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<i>Disputation of the Holy Sacrament</i> fresco by Raphael

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References

  1. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1843). A Greek-English Lexicon (1 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-864226-8 . Retrieved 13 February 2019. κότι^νος
  2. "look to one's laurels". Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 Paulson, Ronald; Eisenman, Peter (2007). Sin and Evil: Moral Values in Literature. Yale University Press. ISBN   978-0300120141.
  4. Alighieri, Dante (October 29, 2007). "Dante Alighieri". Dante Alighieri. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  5. "Commencement Traditions". Connecticut College. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  6. Loomer, Jennifer. "Traditions: Laurel Parade". Mount Holyoke Historical Atlas: Traditions of Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. Hernadez, Romel. "The Turning of the Thesis". Reed Magazine. Reed College. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  8. Brown, Richard (1841). Domestic architecture: containing a history of the science, and the principles of designing public edifices, private dwelling-houses. p. 200.
  9. "Heraldic Meanings". American College of Heraldry. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  10. "The History of Commissioner Service". Golden Empire Council . Retrieved 9 June 2006.