Pomona

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Pomona was a goddess of abundant fruit in the mythology and religion of ancient Rome.

The Latin term pomum, which means “fruit” in particular orchard fruit, is whence she got her name. A wood nymph was thought to be Pomona. In the Ovidian myth, she refused Silvanus and Picus’ affection but wed Vertumnus after being duped by him while posing as an elderly lady. On August 13, she and Vertumnus attended a festival together. The flamen Pomonalis was the name of her priest. Her characteristic was the pruning knife. She has a holy grove called the Pomonal that is close to Ostia, the former harbor of Rome.

Vertumnus and Pomona by Peter Paul Rubens, 1617–1619, private collection in Madrid (source)

Pomona was the deity of orchards, gardens, and fruit trees. She lacks a Greek equivalent, unlike many other Roman goddesses and gods, despite frequently being linked to Demeter. She looks after the growing of fruit trees, keeps them safe, and keeps watch on them. She was more closely related to the health of the fruit trees than the actual fruit yield. She is typically seen with a dish of fruit or a cornucopia in artistic representations.

Featured image: Pomona Nicolas Fouché (1653–1733)

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