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Acanthus

Valley of the Temples

Valley of the Temples

(Or Acantha, derives from the Greek word ἄκανθα,thorn due to the sharp extremities of the leaves and of the capsules that hold the seeds) is a minor character in Greek mythology, most likely to be a nymph loved by Apollo. Acanto did not return his love and Apollo tried to kidnap her: she was fierce and aggressively scratched his face. Due to her reaction, the god transformed her into a thorny plant that loves the sun that has her name (Acanthus). Pliny the Elder in his botanic works of 50 B.C. recommended the elegant and superb plants of Acanthus to decorate the roman gardens; 100 years before that, Virgil had imagined Helen of Troy wearing a white peplum with hem decorated with acanthus and beech leaves; an Athenian architect, Callimachus, in 500 B.C., carved acanthus leaves in the capitals of the temple columns. Acanthus leaves inspired the ornamental pattern of the Corinthian style capitals.

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Details

  • Title: Acanthus
  • Location: Agrigento, Italy, 37.290879,13.585206
  • Rights: Photo Archive Parco Archeologico e Paesaggistico della Valle dei Templi

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