Horn Of Plenty…Or Just A Goat Horn

By  | November 6, 2017 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

We have all come to recognize the cornucopia as a symbol of Thanksgiving or the fall harvest and many of us use one to decorate our Cornucopia
dining room tables as the centerpiece to our traditional feast. There is more, however, to this horn-shaped figure than meets the eye. Its name, entered into the English dictionary in 1508, originates from two Latin words; Cornu meaning “horn” and Copia meaning “plenty”. Hence the nickname Horn of Plenty

Amalthea and Zeus

According to ancient Greek mythology, Amalthea was a goat who nursed and raised Zeus from an infant, while in hiding from his father, Cronos, up in the mountains of Crete. She nursed him with her milk and ensured his safety in order for him to one day become a powerful god.

One day, while playing around, Zeus accidentally broke one of Amalthea’s horns. In his remorse, he decided to repay her by using his godly powers to ensure the horn to be always filled with whatever Amalthea wished – eternal abundance. Hence the coining of the symbolic Horn of Plenty or cornucopia.

Hercules and Achelous

This version of the myth tells of Hercules who is the son of the Greek god Zeus, who finds himself in a battle with Achelous, god of the river, to win the heart of Deianira, a beautiful maiden and the daughter of King Aeneus. According to legend, Achelous transformed himself into several creatures during the battle as part of his strategy to beat Hercules. As he was being held to the ground, he transformed himself first into a serpent, then a bull. Hercules, however, overtook him and eventually broke off one of his horns. Achelous then turned back into his god-like form, and returned to the river, therefore being defeated by Hercules.

The beautiful maiden Deianira and Hercules kept the horn of Achelous and filled it with fruits and flowers to be presented in celebration of their marriage.

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