The Hyacinth


“In Greek mythological legend, Hyacinthus, a beautiful Laconian youth was beloved by the sun god Apollo and by Zephyrus, the west-wind. One day Hyacinthus matched Apollo in a game of quoits, a sport akin to horseshoe pitching, where flat metal rings were thrown over a peg. The jealous Zephyrus blew a quoit thrown by Apollo from its course, and the heavy ring smote Hyacinthus on the head and killed him. The grieved Apollo changed the blood drops of his dead friend into the beautiful flower Hyacinth (Hyacinthus). Symbolizing the vegetation scorched by the hot disc of the summer sun and its resurrection in spring, this legend was commemorated in ancient Greece in the yearly Hyacinthia festival.”

Hyacinth, Mattioli’s Commentaires, Lyons, 1579.