You know, in retrospect I should have done these flower myths back in the early weeks of Spring, but seeing as Summer is around the corner I think it is kosher for me to do one last flower myth. (That is before I realize there's ten more obscure stories of young men dying horrible deaths and their corpse's nurturing the birth of a new plant)
This is the myth of how the Hyacinth came to be and how discus' are dangerous projectiles (but we don't need this story to tell us since we saw what happened *see the Perseus post*)
Zeus wasn't the only immortal who loved little boys
Hyacinth (Hyakinthos in the Greek) was either the son of Clio (yes the muse of history Clio) and Pierus (the King of Macedon) or was the son of either the Spartan king Amyclas ( the progenitor of the people of Amyclae, which was a village to the southwest of Sparta) or King Oebalus. But for the sake of not confusing myself and you guys I will stick with the story that Amyclas was his father.
Why you may ask?
Well Hyacinth has a special part in the Spartan culture, because he was the titular deity of the Hyacinthia, the second most important festival in Sparta. Held in the Spartan month of Hyacinthius in the early days of summer, it was a three day celebration that looked at the death and rebirth of Hyacinth that included feasts, games, jubilation and religious sacrifices.
The whole event was held in the above mentioned village of Amyclae where the cult of Hyacinth was naturally located. It was also where Hyacinth's tomb was located and it was located at the foot of a statue of Apollo. (Believe me, this isn't a mistake of putting the statue over a burial mound) Now then, let's get to the story.
As I said Hyacinth was the son of Amyclas (could not find who his mother was unfortunately) and was the beloved of not only the sun god Apollo, but was also admired by the west wind, Zephyrus. Apollo would teach his young lover everything including: discus throwing (FORESHADOWING!), archery, music (As the beautiful painting shows not only the pedophilic undertones, but also how Apollo taught music to Hyacinth and another youth named Cyparissus), and other athletics.
What does Mr. Sun have that I don't, I am the West Wind damnit!
Now as the young Hyacinth reached adulthood, he continued to be the beloved of Apollo and the two frequently practiced by throwing each other the discus. Now movies and cartoons like to depict the discus of some sort of ancient Frisbee, but this wasn't your flimsy plastic disc that you throw to your friend or dog.
No a discus was a 4lb, 9in diameter disc of either bronze or stone that you hurled to see how far you could throw it. So you can tell Hyacinth was no weakling if he could throw the discus pretty far. However, it would be an attempt to impress Apollo that would lead to the youth's tragic if not avoidable death.
Why do the good and handsome always die young? WHY?!
Hyacinth thought it would be an awesome idea to impress Apollo by having the God throw the discus and then he would chase after it and catch it in the air. Good idea, but what he didn't account for was the jealous west wind, who had reached his breaking point and wanted to hurt Apollo emotionally.
Apollo played along and threw the discus pretty far (I don't know... um... 100 ft... yeah that seems pretty far) and the youth chased after it. As he neared it, Zephyrus (ironically the gentlest of winds) blew some wind and changed the trajectory of the discus. Hyacinth didn't see it coming and was struck in the head by the convex piece of bronze, instantly killed by the blow.
Apollo was devastated, but he would not allow Hades to claim him and instead he used the blood of his lover to form a new plant, thus Hyacinth was reborn as the beautiful plant of the same name. It is also said that when the tears of Apollo fell on the petals of the newly formed plant, the symbol of ai (A symbol of grief) stained the petals forever.
So that is another story of this:
Leading to this:
Wow I guess plants are just people who died very tragically
But man am I glad that I'm done with these flower myths, you know in the first painting I put up on this blog, there was another youth with Apollo, that Cyparissus guy. I wonder whatever happened to him?
God damn it! More plant origin myths, well at least this is about a tree and not a flower.