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Cornu Copiae

or as one word, Cornucopiae, later Cornucopia (Ammian. Marcell. xxii. 9.1; xxv. 2.3). The horn of fruitfulness and abundance, used as the symbol of plenty. In mythology there are two different tales explaining the origin of this horn. One traces it to the horn of the goat Amalthea, which suckled Zeus. The horn was broken off and filled with fruits and flowers, and was afterwards placed by Zeus, together with the goat, among the stars. (See Amalthea.) Another legend relates that it was the horn of the river-god Acheloüs (q.v.), which was wrenched off by Heracles, and which became forthwith a horn of plenty. Later mythologists combined the two tales, and tried to explain how the horn of Amalthea became the horn of Acheloüs (Apollod. ii. 7.5). The origin of this symbol may perhaps be traced in the use of the horns of oxen or goats as drinking-cups; hence the ῥυτόν, or drinking-horn, which is frequently confounded with the horn of abundance (Athen. xi. 468 d, 497 c).

The cornucopia constantly appears in works of art, especially of the Roman period, as the symbol of abundance associated with various deities, as Fortuna, Ceres, etc. See Copia.

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    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.7.5
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