In ancient Greece, the playwright Aristophanes referred to Athens as the “Violet-Crowned City,” because Ion, the legendary founder of Athens who was crowned there, was an exact match of “ion,” the Greek word for violet. According to legend, Ion was leading his people to Attica and was welcomed by water nymphs, who gave him violets as signs of their good wishes. Thus violets became the city's emblem, and no Athenian home, altar or wedding was complete without them. Persephone, the daughter of the Earth Mother Demeter, was picking violets when Pluto kidnapped her to live with him in the underworld. Violets grew where Orpheus slept, and it was Venus who made violets blue. Disputing with her son Cupid over who was more beautiful, herself or a group of young maidens, Cupid favored the maidens. Venus flew into such a rage that she beat her competitors till they turned blue and became violets. Their connection to Venus made violets a popular love potion and aphrodisiac.
Uploaded: Apr 13, 2016