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Ambrosia

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For other uses, see Ambrosia (disambiguation).

In ancient mythology, Ambrosia (Greek Template:Lang) is sometimes the food, sometimes the drink, of the gods. The word has generally been derived from Greek a- ("not") and mbrotos ("mortal"); hence the food or drink of the immortals. The classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verrall, however, denied that there is any clear example in which the word ambrosios necessarily means immortal, and preferred to explain it as "fragrant," a sense which is always suitable. If so, the word may be derived from the Semitic MBR ("amber", compare "ambergris") to which Eastern nations attribute miraculous properties. In Europe, honey-colored amber, sometimes far from its source, was already a grave gift in Neolithic times and was still worn in the 7th century CE as a talisman by druidic Frisians, though St Eligius warned "No woman should presume to hang amber from her neck." W. H. Roscher thinks that both nectar and ambrosia were kinds of honey, in which case their power of conferring immortality would be due to the supposed healing and cleansing power of honey, and because fermented honey (mead) preceded wine as an entheogen in the Aegean world: the Great Goddess of Crete on some Minoan seals had a bee face: compare Merope and Melissa. See also Ichor.

One of the impieties of Tantalus, according to Pindar, was that he offered to his guests the ambrosia of the Deathless Ones, a theft akin to that of Prometheus, Karl Kerenyi noted (in Heroes of the Greeks). Circe mentioned to Odysseus that a flock of doves brought the ambrosia to Olympus.

Derivatively, the word Ambrosia (neuter plural) was given to certain festivals in honour of Dionysus, probably because of the predominance of feasting in connection with them.

"Ambrosia" is related to the Hindu amrita, a drink which conferred immortality on the gods.

Many modern scholars like Danny Staples relate ambrosia to the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria.

References

es:Ambrosía fr:Ambroisie it:Ambrosia (mitologia)

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