The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts. The Cornucopia was a horn overflowing with produce. The cornucopia was associated with many deities related to harvest, prosperity and agriculture, such as Gaia, Demeter, Abundantia, Fortuna and Ploutos. It is used as a symbol of abundance and material prosperity.
In Greek mythology, the cornucopia was created when Alpheus fought Heracles. Alpheus transformed into a bull, but one of his horns was broken off by Heracles. Another myth relates that while Zeus was being raised in a cave on Mount Ida, Crete, he was suckled by Amalthea; a goat. Zeus accidentally broke off one of Amalthea's horns, which he then blessed to forever overflow with produce. The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the child Ploutos, god of riches and son of the grain goddess Demeter; the nymph Maia; and Fortuna, the goddess of luck, who had the power to grant prosperity. In Roman Imperial cult, abstract Roman deities who fostered peace (pax Romana) and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, "Abundance" personified, and Annona, goddess of the grain supply to the city of Rome. Pluto, the classical ruler of the underworld in the mystery religions, was a giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth, and in art often holds a cornucopia to distinguish him from the gloomier Hades, who holds a drinking horn instead
In Popular Culture
- In North America, especially the USA, the cornucopia is associated with the celebration of Thanksgiving.
- As a symbol of abundance, the cornucopia is also seen in many flags, seals and coats of arms