The Gardens of Adonis – Trifling Pleasures

Posted: 21/04/2020 by vequinox in Literature


Erasmus, Adagia 1.4:

Ἀδώνιδος κῆποι, that is ‘the Gardens of Adonis’ used to be said of trifling and unprofitable things which were suited only to the brief pleasure of the moment. Pausanius notes that the gardens of Adonis were once among the little delights, teeming with lettuce and fennel, in which seeds used to be placed in a pot, and for that reason it came to be used proverbially against worthless and trifling fools who were born for insipid pleasures. Included in thus bunch are singers, sophists, bawdy poets, gluttons, and others of that sort. There were however two gardens sacred to Venus on account of Adonis, her love who was snatched away at the first bloom of his youth and turned into a flower. Plato makes mention of these in his Phaedrus: :

Ὁ νοῦν ἔχων γεωργός, ὧν σπερμάτων κήδοιτο καὶ ἔγκαρπα βούλοιτο γενέσθαι, πότερα σπουδῇ ἂν θέρους…

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