Laurels; Bay Laurel
Laurel wreaths began with the ancient Greeks as a symbol of victory. It was made from the Laurus nobilis, a hardy tree with fragrant leaves. During the Pythian Games, a prestigious tournament similar to the Olympics, athletes competed in music, painting and poetry – along with foot races, chariot races, boxing, discus, javelin, long jump and wresting. Winners were crowned with bay laurels in honor of their achievement. Eventually, this tradition was adopted by the Romans.
Coins displayed a portrait of the Roman Emperor crowned with a laurel wreath, to symbolize rank and achievement. Generals were also given laurel wreaths as part of their triumphal award. It was worn and displayed as a parade proceeded through the streets, in honor of martial victory.
In addition, early Christian artists would incorporate the laurel wreath into their works – a way to signify victory over death and the Resurrection.
This symbol permeated various societal activities exemplifying triumph over circumstance.
• With each obstacle we overcome
• With each lesson learned…
In life – we win, one step at a time
• VINCIMUS •
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