From The Language of Flowers by Anne Pratt and Thomas Miller:
“The ancient poets told that the hyacinth received its name from Apollo, who unfortunately killed his friend, the youth Hyacinth, and then turned him into a flower, that he might ever bathe in morning dews, and drink the pure air of heaven. He is said to have imprinted the expression of sorrow in black streaks upon the leaves of the flower. The ancient festivals at Sparta, dedicated to Apollo, and termed Hyacinthus, were held in memory of this event, and were commemorated by two days of mirth and festivity and one of mourning….
“The flowers mentioned by classical writers have been the subjects of many discussions; and as no marks are found either on the flower or leaf of the plant termed in modern language hyacinth, several flowers have been mentioned by different authors as the hyacinth of the poets….
“It is now, however, generally believed… that the ancient hyacinth was that red species of lily now called the Martagon lily, or Turk’s-cap. Virgil describes the flower as of a bright-red colour; and it was said to be marked with the Greek exclamation of grief, AI, AI. The black marks of the Turk’s-cap may, by a little help of the imagination, be considered to bear this inscription.”
This is the second of three posts showing Turk’s Cap or Martagon lilies I photographed at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens earlier this summer. If you would like to read more about these lilies — and how I created two sets of seven photos in the styles below — see the first post in the series: Turk’s Cap (Martagon) Lilies (1 of 3).
Thanks for taking a look!