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The Origin of the Laurel Wreath in Mythology
The symbolism of the laurel wreath originated in Greek mythology. Apollo, god of the sun, and Eros, son of Aphrodite, got into a dispute. Apollo told Eros that he should not meddle with bows and arrows, leaving such crafts to himself, a true master in warlike weapons. At Apollo's presumptuous words, Eros retorted, "Your arrows shall strike all things else, Apollo, but mine shall strike you." With this, the son of Aphrodite took his bow and two arrows: one made of gold and the other tipped with lead. With the arrow of gold, made to excite love in its target, he struck Apollo. With the other arrow, lead-tipped arrow to make its victim repel love, he pierced the nymph Daphne, daughter of the river god Peneus. Apollo immediately fell blindly in love with Daphne and began to pursue her. Daphne, repelled by the sight of Apollo, ran from him. Apollo chased her through the woods, but Daphne was a nymph of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and was able to outrun Apollo for a time. But soon, she grew tired and weak and her pursuer came closer to his quarry. She called desperately to her father as she passed a running stream. "Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!" As soon as the words left her lips, her hair became leaves, her limbs grew into branches, her skin transformed to bark and her legs became the trunk of a tree, her feet grew into the ground as roots. Apollo saw this and was amazed. Daphne was still beautiful, though she had transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo kissed the bark of the tree and vowed to have her always, though she could not be his wife. He promised to exalt her memory by wearing her always as a crown and adorning the heads of victorious warriors and athletes with her branches that would remain green forever and never decay. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LAleshire (talk • contribs) 19:19, 28 January 2011 (UTC)