Of all agricultural commodities, the apple has the longest history.
God had told her to resist the lure of the red fruit! Alas, only after Eve had chewed the apple that problems started.
Troubles for men, of course, but also for the apple itself, decked from that moment with a great reputation: the Middle Ages, in particular, will not cease to represent the apple tree as the tempter. Yet! Nothing says that the fruit of knowledge was an apple.
One can even doubt and think that the analogy between the two Latin words denoting the apple (malum) and evil (malus) is the main reason in the choice of this fruit. Moreover, the first mention of the apple as the fruit of the original sin only appears at the fifth century of our era!
Far from feminine curves and cheeks jugglers, traditions also want the apple to be considered the mythical and mystical fruit par excellence, a symbol of immortality, wisdom and supreme authority as the golden apple which, under the Roman Emperors represented the earth or the sun.
Also present on the equestrian statue of Justinian in Constantinople, holding in his hand a gilded copper globe nicknamed the “red apple”: it is on this globe that the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire placed a cross emblem as a new representation of power. From the time of Adam and Eve to the present day, the apple is the fruit steeped in history and symbolism. It went through the ages, but it has also played a role in mythology. Discover some of its history now.
Did you know that the Neolithic man from the plateaus of Anatolia was a gastronome: it is he who first appreciated the edible varieties produced by a shrub as apple appeared on earth here 80 million years ago. It is also he who will lead Apple to conquer the temperate regions of Europe and, much later, the world.
The beautiful Thetis, sea goddess, did not stand to be evicted for the beauty price given to Venus. When the goddess of love, in search of beads and shells on the shores of Normandy put her apple on a rock, a newt stole it and brought it to Thetis. Therefore she sowed the seeds in the neighboring country, which explains the large number of apple trees growing in Normandy and the singular beauty of the daughters of this country. This love apple product today is the great Norman cider!
In proposing this golden apple to the most beautiful woman in world, Eris, the nymph Discord was sure and certain to sow discord! In fact, by offering an apple to Aphrodite, the shepherd Pâris certainly won the love of Helen, but at the same time attracted the wrath of her husband Menelaus and of the two goddesses, Hera and Athena. That is how, once again, an apple with a seductive appeal led to misfortune: nothing less than the Trojan War!
It is also an apple that blocked the race of Atalanta and a series of apples will be at stake in the torture of Tantalus. Not to mention the golden apples of the Hesperides that Hercules, among other works, stole with the help of Atlas.
The Greeks were not mistaken either. Three centuries before our era, in his History of Plants, Theophrastus distinguished six varieties of apples mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey with the flattering term “beautiful fruit”: the rustic, the wild, the early spring, the sweet, the epirotic and the urban apple. Six different types of varieties that the Romans increased to a good thirty until pomology, consecrated as a true science in the late 16th century, found more than one hundred in France alone!
In the 19th century, a golden age saw the creation of numerous apple varieties as they get more tasty and better suited for wide dissemination. It is then over 500 varieties well differentiated that are described at the time in the dictionary which put some order in the existing nomenclature. The work of many botanists will do the rest: the fruit of many intersections and developments, apple now boasts a range of six thousands gourmet varieties spread across the world.
Nowadays this fruit continues to mark our imagination. The apple is considered by medical scientists one of the best food to fight diabetes and other disease and stay healthy. And after all New York City is called The Big Apple. One of the largest high-tech company is called Apple. Last but not least, a part of the human body is called Adam’s apple.