Goddess of fruit trees, fruitful abundance, plenty, gardens, and orchards
|Major cult center||Pomonal|
|Abode||gardens and orchards|
The name Pōmōna is a derivation from Latin pōmus ('fruit-tree, fruit'), possibly stemming from Proto-Italic *po-e/omo ('taken off, picked?'), cognate with Umbrian Puemune, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁e/omo ('what is (to be) taken').
In the myth narrated by Ovid, she scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman. She and Vertumnus shared a festival held on August 13. Her priest was called the flamen Pomonalis. The pruning knife was her attribute. There is a grove that is sacred to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome.
Pomona was the goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards. Unlike many other Roman goddesses and gods, she does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is commonly associated with Demeter. She watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation. She was not actually associated with the harvest of fruits itself, but with the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia.
The city of Pomona, California, in Los Angeles County, is named after the goddess. Pomona College was founded in the city and retained its name even after relocating to its present-day location in Claremont.
In 2003 a newly discovered honey bee (Apis mellifera) subspecies was named after Pomona being called the Apis mellifera pomonella, it was discovered in the Tien Shan Mountains, an area with the greatest genetic diversity for a wild Malus species, M. sieversii, that is the predominant ancestor of domesticated apple varieties which are typically pollinated by honey bees on a commercial scale.
Representations in art
A bronze statue of Pomona sits atop the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza in New York. The fountain was funded by newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer, designed by the architect Thomas Hastings, and crowned by a statue conceived by the sculptor Karl Bitter. The fountain was dedicated in May 1916.
Pomona, by Nicolas Fouché, c. 1700.
Vertumnus and Pomona by William Hamilton
Tapestry depicting the goddess Pomona.
Pomona as allegory of autumn, fireback in the Roscheider Hof Open Air Museum
- Karpo, one of the Horae.
- Leucothoe, who was similarly seduced.
- Opora, Greek vegetation goddess
- The ballet Pomona, with music by Constant Lambert, choreography by Frederick Ashton and scenery and costumes by Vanessa Bell, was first performed by the Vic-Wells Ballet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre on 17 January 1933.
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- de Vaan 2008, p. 479.
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- Walter Sheppard, Marina Meixner (2003). "Apis mellifera pomonella, a new honey bee subspecies from Central Asia" (PDF). Apidologie. 4 (34): 367–375. doi:10.1051/apido:2003037. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
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