ITHACA Online
Symbolic Plants of the Olympic Games
 Anneta Rizou
Sophia Rizopoulou

98pp.
Hestia, 2004
ISBN: 960-05-1170-5

The ancient image of the olive wreath-crowned victor was reborn as a universal contemporary icon at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In the earliest games the wreath was made of laurel, and later, until 752 BC, winners used to receive an apple, then deemed the highest honour. Such is the intriguing detail to be found in Symbolic Plants of the Olympic Games, which reveals the rich historical and mythical resonances of the olive and other plants associated with the Games. The authors – biologists Anneta Rizou and Sophia Rizopoulou – draw on sources from Empedocles, Theophrastus and Pausanias to Goethe and later writers to map the complex symbolism and the connections between custom and legend.
Illustrated with Ferdinand Lukas Bauer’s superb drawings for Flora Graeca Sibthorpiana (a collection of Greek plants in 10 volumes, originally published 1806-1840), this compact treasure includes tables of the plants’ ancient, modern and scientific names and uses.


Copyright for the Greek Text: Ephesus Publishing
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174 55 Alimos
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Copyright for the photographs: Sokratis Mavrommatis, British Museum, Musèe du Louvre