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Fair flowers of paradise in Clement of Alexandria and others(1)

M Eleanor Irwin

Scarborough College

Universityof Toronto

In the second century, in a society where wreaths had been worn for almost one thousand years(2) at festivals and symposia, by victors at the Games, civic officials, and conquering heroes, it was a distinguishing mark of a Christian that he or she did not wear a wreath. Three Christian writers of the period mention this abstention. The apologist Minucius Felix defends it, ostensibly to a pagan audience, while Tertullian in De corona and Clement of Alexandria in Paedagogos are writing to Christians, defining for them how they ought to live. The points of view of the three differ. The apologist is anxious to make Christians appear reasonable and thoughtful when they do not conform to pagan behaviour; the ethicists want to convince sometimes reluctant Christians that they should continue to observe the prohibition.(3) Tertullian puts more emphasis on the wearing of a crown as a breach of loyalty to Christ. At the conclusion of his work, he holds up the example of worshippers of Mithras who turn aside a preferred crown, saying, "Mithras is my crown." Christians should do no less. Clement is concerned rather to distinguish luxury from what is useful and to extol the virtue of self-control and moderation as principles of Christian behavour. This note is sounded elsewhere by Clement; Christians should enjoy pleasures "temperately, as in Paradise" (Paedagogos 2. 8.71); those who seek the truth, should not "wear laurel leaves and fillets of wool and purple, but crowns of righteousness and leaves of self-control" (Exhortation to the Greeks (1. 9 P, Loeb 26).

All three writers are aware of the tension between worshipping God who created everything and appearing to reject a part of the world he created. All three contrast the eternal reward which is promised to Christians with the transitory rewards and pleasures this world offers. This eternal reward is contrasted with the fading beauty of earthly flowers. Instead of a crown that fades, Minucius looks to receive a crown "blooming with eternal flowers." For Tertullian, Christ himself is the unfading flower which is the Christian's reward; while Clement names an "everlasting" flower, the amarant, which grows only in heaven, from which unfading wreaths can be made. The beauty of flowers, forbidden at least to a degree to Christians in this world, will be theirs in perfection in the world to come.

The crown or wreath is an image from Scripture, - in the earliest references something which completes or puts the final "crowning" touch, rather than a literal wreath.(4)

Examples of stephanos drawn from the LXX text of Proverbs illustrate this: (4:9) "wisdom gives a crown (stephanos) of grace and a wreath of beauty"; (12.4) "a courageous woman is a crown (stephanos) to her husband"; and (17:6) "grandchildren are the crown (stephanos) of old men."(5)

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul compares the demands of the Christian life to the efforts a runner puts into winning a race, and the perishable (phtharton) wreath given to the victor with the "imperishable (aphtharton) crown" which the Christian will win.

"Do you not know that all of those who run in a race run, but one receives the prize; so run that you may win.... (Athletes do this) that they may receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable (1 Cor. 9:24-5).

The first readers of this letter would have grasped the reference to the winner?s crown immediately. The congregation at Corinth had undoubtedly witnessed victors at the Isthmian games proudly displaying their wreaths of pine branches.(6)

For Paul, the crown is the reward for continuing faithful, as he writes near the end of his life:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. For the future, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness (ho tes dikaiosunes stephanos) which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me in that day, and not to me only but to all those who love his appearing. (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

The genitive "of righteousness" - tes dikaiosunes - is epexegetic; the crown consists in the righteousness imputed to the believer as, in the phrase "crown of life", life itself is the crown, the reward bestowed on those who endured persecution, even to dying a martyr's death.(7) The crown consisting of life or glory or righteousness, the reward for all Christians, was thought to be particularly fitting for martyrs.(8) The message to the church at Smyrna, one of the seven churches to which the Revelation is addressed, suggests the relationship between suffering and reward:

"Be faithful to death and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev.2:10).(9)

Flower wreaths, forbidden to second century Christians, continued to be rejected by Christians, especially in the periods of persecution that followed. In a third century account, Euctemon, a Christian who recanted, saved himself by performing a sacrifice and swearing by the emperor's genius that he was not a Christian all the while wearing a crown.(10) A striking passage from a contemporary account records the deaths of the martyrs at Lyons and Vienne in AD 177 (Eusebius, HE 5.1.36). They made a crown for God out of their suffering and won for themselves a crown of immortality.

"They wove a single crown of all kinds of flowers of various colours and offered it to the Father. It was necessary for the noble athletes to endure a varied contest and by a great victory to win the great crown of immortality." Winning a crown is a synonym for martyrdom: this and the reverence with which martyrs were regarded is likely to have prevented more Christians from wearing crowns than Tertullian's and Clement's arguments.

After the settlement with Constantine, the practice apparently ceased to trouble Christians. Wreaths and picked flowers have, in fact, long been incorporated in Christian services in Orthodox Greece. The bride and groom are crowned in the wedding ceremony; the corpse in rural Greece is lowered into the grave surrounded by flowers in the coffin(11); young women gather flowers for wreaths to wear at Easter(12) ; and in every church, flowers are placed before icons to honour the saints.

The act of being crowned was offensive for the Christian because it implied loyalty to the emperor, the state, and gods not recognized by Christians. The flowers which made up these wreaths were sacred to other deities, particularly to goddesses and were used in pagan worship and ceremony. In addition, as the three writers argue, it is illogical and unreasonable to wear flower wreaths, not just for Christians but for anyone.

Minucius Felix, in Octavius, set in Ostia, the harbour town of Rome, sets forth an apology for Christianity through his protagonist Octavius. Near the end of the dialogue (38.2-4), Octavius addresses the question as to why Christians did not wear wreaths of flowers on their heads while they were alive and did not wreath their dead. (The criticism of Christians - that they did not enjoy life - is often leveled by pagans or implied in Christian apologies). Minucius responds that Christians appreciated the beauty of flowers and used cut flowers in other ways; it was only flowers in wreaths that they did not use.

Who doubts that we (Christians) delight in spring flowers, when we pick the spring rose and the lily and any other flower of pleasing colour and smell? We use them spread round or loose, and we weave soft garlands for our necks. You must pardon us if we do not crown our heads; we are used to taking in the sweet air of flowers with our noses, not to inhaling them with scalp or hair.

Minucius is careful to claim that it is the use of flowers for crowns and not flowers themselves which Christians reject. For this rejection he gives a practical if somewhat sarcastic argument: if flowers are to be enjoyed for the fragrance, why put them on top of the head where their fragrance cannot be enjoyed? Tertullian argues similarly that Christians were not impervious to the beauty of flowers (De corona 5).

Lay (flowers) in your lap if they are so pure, strew them on your couch if they are so soft, put them in your cup if they are so harmless. Like Minucius, Tertullian permits Christians to pick and use flowers. But for him, as for Minucius, it is against nature to wear flowers on the head where they cannot be seen or smelled.(13)

Clement of Alexandria (Paedagogos 2.8) rejects crowns as strongly as Tertullian, but his emphasis is somewhat different and he employs a different criterion. He grants, for example, that flowers and their perfumes have a place in medicine and healing and in moderate recreation and permits the enjoyment of fragrance, though not if it leads to luxurious living.(14)

Flowers and perfumes may seduce the spirit into excesses; Christians do not belong in the company in which wreaths are worn, in revels and drinking parties, and may be corrupted by them.(15) Where Tertullian simply acknowledges, almost grudgingly, that flowers are beautiful, Clement gives a word picture of the pleasure flowers bring.

In springtime it is good to spend time in dewy meadows, while soft, many-coloured flowers are in bloom, and, like the bees, enjoy a natural and pure fragrance. But to adorn oneself with "a crown woven from a pure meadow"(16) and wear it at home is not for those who are temperate (2.8.70).

Making a crown of flowers destroys the flowers and any pleasure there is in them. Flowers should be left growing where they are; for "both fade, the flower and the beauty." In this Clement goes farther than Minucius and Tertullian who countenance the picking of flowers. In the end, however, Clement too concedes that Christians may enjoy the fragrance of flowers so long as they do not crown themselves with them.

Clement like the others claims that the wearing flowers on one's head where they cannot be seen or smelled is ridiculous. One wonders how convincing the argument from nature was to pagans and to Christians. The reply might surely have been made that the one who wears the wreath is not the only one to enjoy it, especially in company, and that fragrance from a floral crown spreads and brings pleasure even to the wearer, though Clement meets this possible argument by declaring that fragrance rises.

In addition to wearing wreaths while they were alive, it was the practice of pagans to put wreaths of flowers on the dead in preparation for burial. In the second part of his argument, Minucius contrasts this pagan practice with Christian usage.

We (Christians) do not crown the dead. I am very surprised that you (pagans) give ... a wreath to a dead person who has no feeling, since if that person is happy, there is no need of flowers and if wretched, flowers bring no joy. .. We do not weave a crown which fades, but expect from God a crown blooming with eternal flowers.

Minucius' argument against crowning the living was based on the practical consideration that the one crowned was not in a position to enjoy the flowers. His argument against crowning the dead, while it has a touch of the practical (what pleasure can flowers bring to the dead?), introduces a contrast between flowers that fade (arescentem coronam) and the unfading crown of eternal life. The "crown of life" has become a crown "blooming with eternal flowers" (aeternis floribus vividam). While the New Testament references to crowns are non-specific, - Paul certainly has the leafy crowns of athletes in mind - Minucius' crown is made from flowers.

Tertullian and Clement make arguments similar to Minucius' and offer similar eternal crowns. Tertullian argues that there is no precedent in the Scriptures for floral crowns.(17) They originate in pagan religion and are worn by idols and attendants of deities: All that is charming in the flower, all that is beautiful in the leafy branch, and every sod or vine-shoot has been dedicated to some head or other... those whom the world has believed to be gods (De corona 7).

The only crown which might be worn by the Christian is the crown of thorns worn by Christ in his suffering before the crucifixion. Having worn that crown, Christ now is crowned with glory and honour. Tertullian advises Christians to emulate Christ...

Do not be crowned with flowers, if you cannot be crowned with thorns, because you cannot have flowers (14).

aut nec floribus coroneris, si spinis non potes, quia flores non potes. Faithful Christians who are promised a crown of life should not settle for a temporal crown.

Why do you condemn to a little chaplet or a twisted headband the brow which has been destined for a diadem?...What have you in common with the flower which is to die? (15)Quid tibi cum flore morituro?

You have a flower in the Branch of Jesse, upon which the grace of the Divine Spirit in all its fulness rested - a flower undefiled, unfading, everlasting, by choosing which the good soldier, too, has got promotion in the heavenly ranks.

For Tertullian, the prize for which he gladly renounces an earthly wreath is Christ, who is a flower "undefiled, unfading, everlasting?, incorruptum, immarcescibilem, sempiternum.

In employing these adjectives, Tertullian may have been thinking of the first letter of Peter; for one of these epithets appears in the Vulgate (1 Peter 1:4), "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading", in heriditatem incorruptibilem et incontaminatam et inmarcescibilem, while another incorruptum is closely related to incorruptibilem. in the text. Later in 1 Peter (5:4) inmarcescibilis describes the crown of glory which Christians will receive when Christ appears: "and when the prince of shepherds appears, you will receive an unfading crown of glory", et cum apparuit princeps pastorum, percipietis inmarcescibilem gloriae coronam.

Inmarcescibilis is a rare New Testament word; in addition to these two occurrences in 1 Peter, the verb marcesco "fade" is found in James (1:9-12).(18)

The context is worth quoting at some length because in it human life is compared to the life of a flower and the reward for enduring temptation is the crown of life.

Let the believer (lit. brother) who is lowly boast in being raised up and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field. Its flower falls and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away (ita et dives in itineribus suis marcescet). Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Clement, like Tertullian, wants to distance the Christian from crowns of flowers on the grounds that they are pagan, dedicated to goddesses. Christians "must have no communion with daemons (i.e. pagan deities), nor must we crown the living image of God (by which he means a human being) after the manner of dead idols."

Like Tertullian, Clement recalls the crown of thorns worn by Christ and says that "it would be irrational for us ... to crown ourselves with flowers, insulting the sacred passion of the Lord." While for Tertullian, Christ himself is the flower which is the reward of the Christian, Clement imagines the heavenly reward as a literal wreath. He precedes the discussion of the crown of thorns and the reward for the faithful in these words:

For the beautiful crown of amarant is laid up for the one who has lived well. The earth is not capable of producing this flower (sc. the amarant); heaven alone knows how to grow it (2.8.73).

The "beautiful crown of amarant", ho kalos tou amarantinou stephanos, echoes the reference in 1 Peter (5:4) to the unfading crown of glory" "unfading", i.e. "amarantine" ton amarantinon tes doxes stephanon.(19)

Tertullian used the Latin equivalent to describe Christ as the "unfading" immarcescibilis flower. Amarantinos or amarantos, the form used in 1 Peter 1:4 of the "inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled and unfading?, are compounds of alpha privative and maraino "fade", "wither." This verb maraino, like its Latin equivalent marcesco, describes the destiny of the rich man in James 1:11: "he shall fade."

By inventing a flower, the "amarant", which grows only in heaven, Clement endows the crown which is the Christian's reward with a material existence. There was a flower of this name, known to Classical writers, a earth-born flower which had a reputation for durability; the flowers were called by Columella "immortal amarants"(20) and, possibly because they lasted so well, were used, according to Dioscorides (4.57), for wreathing statues of deities.(21) Pliny (NH 21.47) reported that the amarant was named because "it will not wither", quoniam non marcescat.

"A wonderful thing about it is that it likes to be picked and is reborn happier than ever(22)

. .... The Alexandrian variety wins the prize. It is gathered and kept. Wonderfully, after all the flowers have gone, if it is wetted with water, it revives and makes winter wreaths. mirum in eo gaudere decerpi et laetius renasci. ... Alexandrino palma, qui decerptus adservatur, mireque, postquam defecere cuncti flores, madefactus aqua revivescit et hibernas coronas facit.

People did not usually wear wreaths of amarant. To dream of wearing such a wreath, according to Artemidorus (Interpretation of Dreams 1.77), is good luck if one is in good health and especially if one is going to court, because the amarant keeps its colour, but bad luck for the sick as these flowers are dedicated to the dead or to the gods and only rarely to (living) people.

The amarant was a polar opposite of the rose(23) which was not only beautiful and fragrant but was thought to fade more quickly than most flowers when picked.(24)

The fable of the rose and the amarant relates how the two fell into conversation. The amarant speaks first: - How lovely you are and how desirable to gods and mortals. I congratulate you on your beauty and your fragrance.

The rose replies: - But my life is short. Even if no one cuts me, I wither. You continue to bloom and remain always as fresh as you are now.(25)

An "unfading" flower is a paradox. Lucian, a slightly older contemporary of Clement and a pagan, uses amarantinos, not to name a specific flower, but to describe an "unfading" meadow, painted on the walls of a house: the truth of each detail might well be compared with the face of spring and with a flowery meadow, except that those things fade and wither and change and cast their beauty, while this spring is eternal, the field unfading, the flower undying (Dom. 9).

The amarant is identified with Amaranthus caudatus "Love-lies-bleeding", a plant whose drooping red or purple spikes live up to their name "unfading" and with Helichrysum orientale whose yellow, papery bracts make welcome additions to dried flower arrangements.(26)

The English flower name and the botanical term are commonly written with a "th", amaranth and Amaranthus, by a false analogy with polyanthus as if from anthos, "flower."(27)

Whether Clement knew the Classical amarant or not, he was certainly not simply transplanting an actual earthly flower to heaven when he spoke of a crown made of amarants. The etymology "not-fading" and the reference in 1 Peter to an "unfading crown of glory" led him to invent a flower which, true to its name, never fades.

Flowers in Scripture are generally symbols of the shortness of human life, because they fade quickly in the heat of the sun or the dry wind. According to the Psalmist (103:15-16): as for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field: a wind passes over it(28) and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Whether it is the sun with scorching heat (James 1:11) or the wind, the life of a flower and the life of a human being does not last long. In Job (14:1-2) we read: A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers.

When Tertullian asked quid tibi cum flore morituro "what have you to do with a flower which is going to die?", the answer might well have been "A great deal!" Tertullian was inviting Christians to reject the claims of this brief life for the promise of immortality.

Jesus mentions the brief existence of wild flowers, when he refers to "the grass of the field which exists today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow" (Matth. 6:30). He tempers the reference to the shortness of the life of wild flowers by making them show God's care (Matth. 6.28-30):

Consider how the wild flowers (lit. lilies of the field) grow; they do not toil or spin, but I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. If God clothes the grass of the field in this way, grass which exists today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more clothe you, you of little faith?(29) In Jesus' words, the world created by God is much more beautiful than anything we could make for ourselves, even if we were as rich as Solomon.

Flowers, then, occupy an ambiguous position in Scripture. Though they are short lived, they are beautiful. Though they neither toil nor spin, God provides for them. They are witnesses of God as Creator and of his "unmerited favour." To reject flowers altogether would be to fail to appreciate God's goodness.

Flowers on earth can be enjoyed. But why should there be flowers in heaven? "Paradise", from the Greek paradeisos "park" or "pleasure-ground" is an alternate expression for "heaven"(30), reminding us of the Garden, where our first parents tended the plants and "walked with God in the cool of the evening."(31)

They were expelled from that garden and from the tree of life planted in it, to a place where they had to battle thorns and thistles. It is not surprising that their descendants imagined a garden as the place where they would again have fellowship with God (32)

Paradise was used interchangeably with "heaven" in the Scripture and early Christian writing as the destination of the Christian.(33) When John in the Revelation speaks in various ways about the Christian's reward, he mentions among others that "to the one who conquers, (Christ) will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7). John places this tree of life by a river within the heavenly city (Rev. 22:2). . But neither in Eden nor in the heavenly Jerusalem are flowers specifically mentioned.(34)

The earliest pictorial presentation of heaven and hell in Christian literature after the New Testament is found in the mid second century Apocalypse of Peter, a work to which Clement refers, though not in this context.(35) In chapter 10 of the Greek version, there are visions of heavenly inhabitants wearing wreaths of nard and coloured flowers.(36)

More significantly for our discussion, in chapter 15, earth in this paradise blooms with unfading flowers. Between 1 Peter's "unfading crown of glory" and Clement's "crown of amarant" is a vision of paradise with flowers that do not fade.

The flowery fields in the Apocalyse of Peter are in the tradition of the Greek poets who described the abodes of the dead as open areas with a temperate climate, often with shade and fresh water. For Homer (Od 4.563-9) Menelaus, Helen's husband, will go after death to a plain, with little snow or rain and cool breezes.(37)

For Pindar (Olymp 2.70-74): Ocean breezes blow on the Islands of the Blessed and flowers blaze gold, some (growing) on dry land from splendid trees while water nourishes others. Their hands weave necklaces and wreaths.

Gold suggests not only a yellow colour but also value and permanence.(38)

In a dirge, Pindar mentions meadows with red roses in the Underworld (129.3 Maelher): phoinikorhodois d? eni leimonessi.(39) In Aristophanes (Frogs 448-9) the chorus of initiates in the Underworld sing, "Let us go to the flowery meadows with many roses": choromen es polyrrhodous leimonas anthemodeis.

In a much later, probably post-Epicurean, work mistakenly attributed to Plato (Axiochos 371 C)(40) Axiochos, on the point of death, is encouraged by Socrates with his views of the next world, the place of the pious, where there are streams of pure water, the weather is pleasant with no extremes of heat or cold, and he will find ?all kinds of meadows blooming with many-coloured flowers? pantoioi de leimones anthesi poikilois earizomenoi. (41)

This picture of the world to come as a park or garden had been held by pagans for centuries.(42) The favourite season for such a place was spring, and where spring was everlasting, there were flowers in abundance.(43)

Christians, like their neighbours, imagined an ideal world, but their ideal world was beyond death, in heaven. In the account of the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas, traditionally dated A D 203, Perpetua dreams of climbing to heaven and seeing there a "great extent of garden", immensum spatium horti, a shepherd milking sheep and crowds in white robes (4.8). The deacon Saturus, facing martyrdom with her, has a vision of heaven with garden, rose bushes and all manner of flowers (11. 5): factum est nobis spatium grande, quod tale fuit quasi viridarium arbores habens rosae et omne genus flores.(44)

On occasion visible proof was offered that flowers really grew in Paradise. In a vision, a young boy, recently martyred, appeared to a certain James as he awaited his own martyrdom, with a crown of roses round - not his head but - his neck.(45)

This vision of heaven is as enduring as the flowers which are so often pictured there. Bernard of Cluny (12th century) sings of Jerusalem the golden: his "splendid country, flowering earth, free from thorns", patria splendida, terraque florida, libera spinis unites Paradise with Eden. Others sing: "there grow such sweet and pleasant flowers / as nowhere else are seen"(46); "There everlasting spring abides and never-fading flowers"(47); "those eternal bowers man hath never trod / those unfading flowers round the throne of God"(48); "flowers that never fading grow / where streams of life forever flow."(49)

In Milton (Paradise Lost (3. 352-364) we find again Clement's heavenly amarant.(50)

Angels cast down crowns: inwove with amarant and gold: immortal amarant, a flower which once

in Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life,

began to bloom, but soon for Man?s offence

to Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows

and flowers aloft, shading the Fount of Life.(51)

Clement's heavenly amarant, the visions of flowery fields and the faithful wreathed with unfading flowers persisted in the popular imagination. The flower which bore this name on earth was a rather uninteresting bloom, with neither fragrance (Pliny) nor delicacy of petals. The heavenly amarant represents an ideal, like the Roman poet's eternal spring, a flower arrested at the peak of perfection. The dangers and temptations represented by flowers and wreaths in this world cannot affect the inhabitants of heaven who will enjoy all things temperately, as Clement says. What was not permitted in this world is unrestricted in heaven. And this enjoyment will never come to an end, just as the amarant will never fade but will always be fresh and beautiful.(52)


1. 1.A version of this paper was read to the Canadian Society for Patristic Studies, May 24, 1990, in Victoria, B C.

2. 2.From the time of the first Olympic games, traditionally 776 B C, if not earlier.

3. 3.Some Christians were asking, "where is it written?" They seem to have attempted to distinguish two kinds of wreaths: flower wreaths and wreaths from leaves without flowers. They accepted the stricture against flower wreaths, but wanted to permit wreaths made of leaves. Tertullian refuses to separate the two kinds of wreaths (7).

4. 4.Three words "crown", "wreath" and "garland" are used to translate stephanos from Greek and corona from Latin. While these three words evoke for us quite different images - a crown, the image of a royal personage adorned with gold and gems, a wreath or garland, the image of a young girl with flowers festooned round the neck as well as surrounding the head, I am using the words interchangeably; both stephanos and corona may be made of flowers and/or leafy branches or of precious metal imitating them.

5. 5.Also in Proverbs 14:24 crown (stephanos) of the wise; 16:31 old age is the crown (stephsano) of boasting. Crown of hope: Isaiah 28:5; of glory: Jeremiah 13.18, Sirach (Ecclus) 47.6: Test Ben 4:1: 1 QS 4.7,1 QH 9.25; of pride, Isaiah 28.1, Lam 5.16, Ecclus. (Sirach) 1.11, 6.31, 15.6, 1.18, 25.6.

6. 6.Selinon (wild celery) in the Greek period, pine branches in the Roman.

7. 7.To be crowned was to be a martyr, cf. Perpetua and Felicitas 19.2 (of Saturninus); Martyrdom of Pionius (3rd century) 22.2; Martyrdom of Marian and James (A D 259) 7.1, 8.11 gloriosius coronantur ; Martyrdom of Montanus and Lucius (A D 259) 14.5, 17,2, 21,8; Martyrdom of Fructuosus and companions (A D 259) 4.1ad coronam immarcescibilem, 7.2 corona immarcescibili; Martyrdom of Euplus (A D 304) A.2.2 crown of orthodox faith; Martyrdom of Agape, Irene, Chione and companions (A D 304) 2.1 crown of immortality.

8. 8.The meaning of the name of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is played on by later writers, though not in the New Testament: O qui tuo, dux martyrum / praefers coronam nomine / non de caducis floribus / tibi coronam nectimus, #83 in the Anglican book: First of the martyrs, thou whose name, / doth thy golden crown proclaim,/not of flowers that fade away/ weave we this thy crown today.

9. 9.Cf Rev.3.11(to church at Philadelphia) "hold what you have, in order that no one may take your crown."

10. 10.Martyrdom of Pionius 18.14. Traditionally dated to the Decian persecution of the middle of the 3rd century. In 22.2, the crown of the dead martyr Pionius "was revealed in his appearance" as his hair and beard looked to those who saw his body like a crown.

11. 11.L M Danforth, The Death Rituals of Rural Greece (Princeton U P 1982), photography by A Tsiaras.

12. 12.I owe this information to Argyro.

13. 13.Tertullian's language is almost Stoic in terminology when he speaks of "nature."

14. 14.He distinguishes, for example, between rubbing with ointment perfumed with floral scents to accomplish an end and anointing for pleasure.

15. 15.Flowers are "cooling" and have a bad (enervating) effect on the brain.

16. 16.Euripides, Hippolytos 73.

17. 17.He did not notice the admonition in Wisdom 2.8 (7b?): let no flower of spring pass us by and 2.18 let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.

18. 18.Cf the use of the adjective in Martyrdom of Fructuosus and companions 4.1 where it is time to attain ad coronam immarcescibilem; also 7.2.

19. 19.J N D Kelly, A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude (A & C Black, London 1969) 203-4.

20. 20.Amarantus / um or amavrantos. Pliny, NH 21. 47; Ovid, Fasti 4.43 (Kore and companions) has, hyacinthe, tenes; illas, amarante, moraris ; Lygdamus (Tibullus) 3.4.33 hic amarantus / bumastusque virens et semper florida tinus; Columella 10.175, immortalesque amaranti.

21. 21.Pollux 1.229, in a list of flower names; he separates common names from those used by poets and puts amarant with the poetic names. Pollux's list of common flower names are almost all pre-Indo-European. Not so the amarant.

22. 22.The phrase of explanation laetius renasci "it is reborn more happily" probably refers to an increase of blooms when flowers are picked frequently.

23. 23.Joseph Hymnographus makes Mary the Theotokos an unfading rose, rhodon ton amaranton in Christ and Paranikas 9, cf also 128, anthos ton amaranton.

24. 24.Cf Plutarch, Quaestiones conviviales A.

25. 25.Aesop [or Babrius] 369P = 384 Holm. In B E Perry, Babrius and Phaedrus 487; Stith Thompson, Motif-index of Folk Literature (Indiana U P , 2nd ed. 1955) gives the moral "worth lies not in beauty."

26. 26.Assuming that H orientale and H siculum are the same or very close, Huxley and Taylor 141.

27. 27.J. Andr_, Noms de Plantes (Paris 1985) s.v. amarantus prefers A.caudatus, "Queue de renard" for the Latin occurrences cited; but Helichrysum orientale, etc, for Dioscorides and Portulaca oleracea for Ps-Apuleius 104.8. The red flowered kind is sometimes identified with A. erythrostachys "Prince's feather."

28. 28.NEB adds as a footnote: The hot wind from the desert wilts all vegetation in its path.

29. 29.Clement of Alex. Paid 2.102.4- 104.3 equates ?grass? in oven with ?hay? which good for nothing except to be burned with fire.

30. 30.From Old Persian pairida_za (pairi "round", diz "mould, form") "an enclosed park or orchard", John Armstrong, The Paradise Myth (Oxford U P 1969) 3.

31. 31.Genesis 2:8 LXX, for paradise.

32. 32.Garden imagery is associated throughout the Bible with nearness to God, whether in real places or in visions, cf. Northrop Frye The Great Code.

33. 33.Paradise, cf. Luke 23:43, Jesus on the cross addressing the repentant thief, "Today you will be with me in Paradise."; 2 Cor. 12:4, Paul caught up into Paradise, the "third heaven"; Rev. 2:7, 22:2, the tree of life, cf. Genesis 2:9.

34. 34.For the interpretation of Eden, cf. Theophilus of Antioch (2.19) (A D 180) who described Eden as "distinguished for its very beautiful plants."

35. 35.Cf.Clement,Hypotoposes in Eusebius HE 6.14; Eclogae Propheticae 41, 48 and 49 where the Apocalyse is quoted.

36. 36.It may be that their hair is being compared to wreaths of flowers.

37. 37.Cf. description of Olympus Od 6. 43-5); check Evans PM 3.155 for prototype (Stanford). Hesiod WD 170-3 [ Islands of the Blessed - no meadows and flowers]

38. 38.Gildersleeve (151) as usual has a comment worth repeating: The world below is a brilliant repetition of the world above. The prizes are of gold - gold instead of olive and laurel.

39. 39.The roses here may be anemones, flowers found in fields in Greece, rather than our thorn-surrounded roses.

40. 40.comment on Axiochos: Cambridge History of Classical Literature I Greek Literature ed. P E Easterling, B M W Knox (CUP 1985) 794 Axiochos not included by Thrasyllus (canon AD 36); post-Epicurean.

41. 41.Cf.a woman's epitaph (Kaibel 649.3): "There in the Elysian fields, you skip and rejoice in soft flowers, away from all evils.

42. 42.Roman writers also refer to flowers in the next world: Propertius 4.7.60 (of faithful but unfortunate lovers in Elysium) mulcet ubi Elysias aura beata rosas; Tibullus 1.3.61,62 totosque per agros / floret odoratis terra benigna rosis; cf. Culex 261; Statius [b. AD 40 d 95/6],Silvae 5.1.(on the death of Priscilla, wife of Abascantus) 257 serta que et Elysios ... flores (in the underworld, for one who has been praised by a spouse, welcome includes garlands and flowers.

43. 43.Vergil, Georgics 2.149 ver assiduum in Italy; 2.336-42, spring the first season when earth began; Ovid, Met. 1. 107 ver aeternum in the Golden Age.

44. 44.Cf. the vision of Marian iter .. nobis erat per locum pratis amoenum, Martyrtdom of Marian and James 6.12-13; the vision of Ioasaph (John Damascene, Barlaam and Ioasaph 30. 280, (A D 750)) of heaven and hell. Heaven was "a plain, blooming with fragrant spring flowers." Cf Sib. Oracles 2.313-329 (ca. A D 150) reward of the righteous.

45. 45.Martyrdom of Marian and James 11.5 corona rosea collo circumdatus et in manu dextera palmam viridissimam praeferens..

46. 46. Francis Baker (ca 1580), "O mother dear, Jerusalem" #501, stanza 3. 3-4, old Anglican book.

47. 47.Isaac Watts, "There is a land of pure delight"

48. 48.J M Neale (1862?). As from John of Damascus, but actually an original composition, #505 old Anglican book. Cf Jones ed. note on Neale,

49. 49.Edgar P Stiles (1836-1921) P Stiles, stanza 3.

50. 50.In the sixteenth century, Spenser spoke of "Sad Amaranthus, made a flour but late" (Faerie Queen iii. vi. 45). Cf also William Drummond of Hawthorn in "A hymn of true happiness" (1630) who described a nymph in this way: "upon her head shee wore / of amaranthes a crowne" text in Edward Farr, ed. Select Poetry chiefly sacred of the reign of King James the First (Cambridge U P 1847) 285. Shelley (Prometheus Act 2, Scene 4. 60-61) of "hopes / which sleep within folded Elysian flowers / Nepenthe, Moly, Amaranth, fadeless blooms."Nepenthe, probably the opium poppy, put into drinks by Helen to make Menelaus forget the Trojan War, Od. 4.?); Moly, given to Odysseus by Hermes to protect him from Circe's spell (Od. 10.?).

51. 51.Milton mentions the amarant on two other occasions: Paradise Lost 11. 78 "their blissful bowers of amarantin shade"; Lycidas 149 ?bid amarantus all his beauty shed.?