Hatay Is The Answer To The Victory Crowns On The Romans’ Heads - GeziBilen

Hatay Is The Answer To The Victory Crowns On The Romans’ Heads

Although there are many symbols to describe Hatay, I am going to tell you a mythological story about Hatay… Let’s talk about the mystery of the crowns made by bay leaves on the Roman kings’ heads. Are you ready to be surprised?

 Apollo, son of Zeus, is the god of music, art, the sun, light and fire. One day, when he is walking by the river, he sees a young girl and tries to get to know her. He falls in love and has some deep emotions inside him. The name of the girl is Daphne who is famous for her beauty. She dazzles Apollo with her long posture, thin neck, long hair. But Daphne notices the feeling of Apollo and starts to run. Because Daphne made a promise and she will never be with anyone, let alone a God. According to what Daphne heard, all women who are together with a god would have a miserable destiny.

 But Apollo does not give up and runs after the girl. Beautiful Daphne, finally understands that she is about to get caught, opens her heart to the nature and begs “Dear mother earth, cover me, protect me, hide me!”. Mother earth cannot resist her beginning and fulfills her wish and turns her into a beautiful tree… Her chest is covered with a grey crest, her nice smelling hair turns into leaves, and her arms into branches. Her tiny feet takes roots and suddenly, she is a bay tree.

 However, what Apollo is trying to do is not causing harm, he really falls in love with Daphne… Seeing her turned into a tree breaks his heart and says his last words to his lover, “From now on, you will remain as the sacred tree of Apollo. Those leaves that do not turn yellow and fall will be the wreath around my head. Heroes who win their battles will adorn their heads with your leaves. Our names will be together in poems and songs”. Daphne cannot resist the harmony of these beautiful words and hails the God of Light by bending her branches. Apollo makes a crown out of the bay leaves and his heart gets filled with sorrow.

The bay leaf is one of the most used symbols in mythology. It is a symbol of both peace and victory, an example is the bay leaf crowns worn by Olympic athletes and kings in old times. As it is evergreen, it is also considered the tree of life and is also used as the symbol of eternity in some sources.

 The story of the bay leaf crown war born with this legend on the land which is Antakya today. The place where the story happened is located within the borders of today’s Harbiye. The tears of Daphne still pour from the waterfalls in Harbiye.



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