History of Lilies
The lily was dedicated to the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus. Legend has it that when Zeus fathered Hercules with the mortal woman Alceme, he wished his son to partake more fully of divinity. To this end he had the baby brought to Hera after he drugged her to sleep. He had the baby placed at her breast and Hercules nursed. Hera awoke in horrified surprise and flung the baby from her. Some of her milk gushed across the heavens and formed the milky way. A few drops fell to earth and from those drops sprang the first lilies. Roman legend has it that when Venus rose from the sea-foam she saw a lily and she became filled with jealous envy at the whiteness and beauty of it.
Seeing it as a rival to her own beauty she caused a huge and monstrous pistil to spring from the lily’s snow-white center. This myth accounts for the the lily being associated with Venus and the Satyrs who are the personification of lustful ardor.
Early representations of the lily were discovered in a villa in Amnisos,Crete , which dates from the Minoan Period, about 1580 B.C. The lily was the Minoan sacred flower, a special attribute of the Great Minoan Goddess Britomartis or Dictynna who had her origin in Neolithic times. She maintained her supremacy in Crete until the mysterious cataclysm that befell Minoan civilization in the middle of the sixteenth century B.C. when her cult was gradually assimilated into the religion of the Greeks and she became the precursor of Greek Artemis.
Lilies were also a popular flower in ancient Jewish civilization. It is mentioned in the Bible several times. It was named after Aelia Eudoxia who was the powerful, strong willed and influential wife of the Roman Emperor Arcadius. From 401 to 403 AD shows her diadem draped bust with the “Hand of God” holding a wreath over her head.
In Christian symbolism, the lily represents purity, chastity and innocence. As the flower of the Resurrection and of the Virgin it is widely used at Easter. The In Christian symbolism, the lily represents purity, chastity and innocence. As the flower of the Resurrection and of the Virgin it is widely used at Easter. The lily of the Bible(Cant. 2.1) has been variously identified with the scarlet anemone, Madonna lily, and other plants; the lilies of the field (Mat. 6.28) probably means any wildflowers, perhaps the iris. In fact, the Convalleria variety- also known as ˜lily of the valley, with two long oval leaves and spikes of white bell-shaped flowers represents the Tears of the Virgin Mary, a resurgence of happiness. White lily bouquets are especially popular in Christian homes, during the Easter holiday, for they symbolize Christ’s resurrection.
Medicinal Values of Lilies
The lily has no true medicinal value although at one time it was thought to posses certain medicinal virtues. It was thought to have magical properties and there were thousands of recipes in Elizabethan times for the use of lilies in the treatment of fever or as a unguent containing lily root for cleaning wounds,burns and sores. as well as relieving rheumatic and arthritic symptoms