Apple of Discord

Apple of Discord

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An apple
Apple (symbolism)
Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that as late as the 17th century, the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all fruit other than berries, but including nuts...

 of discord
is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord which, according to Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, the goddess Eris
Eris (mythology)
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord, her name being translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman counterpart is Bellona...

Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Ερις, "Strife") said that she would give "to the fairest" at the wedding of Peleus
In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

 and Thetis
Silver-footed Thetis , disposer or "placer" , is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient one of the seas with shape-shifting abilities who survives in the historical vestiges of most later Greek myths...

, sparking a vanity-fueled dispute between Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

, Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 that eventually led to the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

 (for the complete story, see The Judgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" became a euphemism for the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or for a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute. The Ancient Greek word "μῆλον" also means sheep or goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

.. Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 in his Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 describes how Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 sacrificed two goats (μήλα) when he reaches the underworld
Greek underworld
The Greek underworld was made up of various realms believed to lie beneath the earth or at its farthest reaches.This includes:* The great pit of Tartarus, originally the exclusive prison of the old Titan gods, it later came to be the dungeon home of damned souls.* The land of the dead ruled by the...


Derivative uses

Because of this, the Roman goddess corresponding to the Greek Eris was named "Discordia". Also, in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, the words are used a lot more often colloquially than in English, though in German the colloquial form is not Apfel der Zwietracht (lit. "Apple of Discord") but Zankapfel ("Quarrel-apple") and rarely Erisapfel - the Dutch is Twistappel ("Strife-apple").

In the Eixample
The Eixample is a district of Barcelona between the old city and what were once surrounding small towns , constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries....

 district of Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 there is a block nicknamed in Spanish: La manzana de la discordia , the reason for this usage is because manzana means both "apple" and "city block" in Spanish.
It was so named ("block of discord") because it features three different interpretations of Modernisme
Modernisme was a cultural movement associated with the search for Catalan national identity. It is often understood as an equivalent to a number of fin-de-siècle art movements, such as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Secessionism, and Liberty style, and was active from roughly 1888 to 1911 Modernisme ...

 architecture: Antoni Gaudí
Antoni Gaudí
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Spanish Catalan architect and figurehead of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí's works reflect his highly individual and distinctive style and are largely concentrated in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, notably his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.Much of Gaudí's work was...

's Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1904–1906; located at 43, Passeig de Gràcia , part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain...

, Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Lluís Domènech i Montaner
Lluís Domènech i Montaner was a Spanish Catalan architect who was highly influential on Modernisme català, the Catalan Art Nouveau / Jugendstil movement. He was also a Catalan politician....

's Casa Lleó Morera
Casa Lleó Morera
The Casa Lleó Morera is a building designed by noted modernisme architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, located at Passeig de Gràcia 35 in the Eixample district of Barcelona. The building is located on the corner of Carrer del Consell de Cent, and is one of the three important buildings of...

 and Josep Puig i Cadafalch
Josep Puig i Cadafalch
Josep Puig i Cadafalch was a Spanish Catalan Modernista architect who designed many significant buildings in Barcelona...

's Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller is a building in the Modernisme style in Barcelona, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Along with Casa Batlló and Casa Lleó-Morera, it makes up the three most important buildings in Barcelona's famous Illa de la Discòrdia , noted for its unique modernist buildings.The building was...


"To the Fairest"

The word ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΗΙ ' onMouseout='HidePop("85267")' href="">Modern Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: καλλίστη kallisti; "for/to the most beautiful") was inscribed on the Golden Apple of Discord by Eris
Eris (mythology)
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord, her name being translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman counterpart is Bellona...

. Καλλίστῃ is the dative singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 of the feminine
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

In grammar, the superlative is the form of an adjective that indicates that the person or thing modified has the quality of the adjective to a degree greater than that of anything it is being compared to in a given context. English superlatives are typically formed with the suffix -est In...

 of καλός, beautiful
Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture...

. In Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 sources, the word is pulcerrimae.

Since the wedding of Peleus and Thetis was held on Mount Pelion
Pelion or Pelium is a mountain at the southeastern part of Thessaly in central Greece, forming a hook-like peninsula between the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean Sea...

 in Magnesia
Magnesia Prefecture
Magnesia Prefecture was one of the prefectures of Greece. Its capital was Volos. It was established in 1899 from the Larissa Prefecture. The prefecture was disbanded on 1 January 2011 by the Kallikratis programme, and split into the peripheral units of Magnesia and the Sporades.The toponym is...

, the inscription would have been in the local Cumae alphabet. Nestor's Cup
Nestor's Cup
The term Cup of Nestor or Nestor's Cup can refer to:#A golden mixing cup, described in Homer's Iliad, belonging to Nestor, the king of Pylos....

 provides a close example.


The word Kallisti has become a principal symbol of the modern religion Discordianism
Discordianism is a religion based on the worship of Eris , the Greco-Roman goddess of strife. It was founded circa 1958–1959 after the publication of its holy book the Principia Discordia, written by Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst after a series of shared hallucinations at a...

. In non-philological
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 texts (such as Discordian ones) the word is usually spelled (via back-translation
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

) as καλλιστι, while most versions of Principia Discordia
Principia Discordia
Principia Discordia is a Discordian religious text written by Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley . It was originally published under the title "Principia Discordia or How The West Was Lost" in a limited edition of 5 copies in 1965...

 actually spell use καλλιχτι. In the afterword of the 1979 Loompanics
Loompanics Unlimited was an American book seller and publisher specializing in nonfiction on generally unconventional or controversial topics, with a philosophy considered tending to a mixture of libertarian and left wing ideals, although Loompanics carried books expressing other political...

 edition, the author Gregory Hill said that was because on his IBM typewriter not all Greek letters
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 coincided with Latin
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 ones and he didn't know enough at the time to spot the mistake.

Other Mythologies

The Apple of Eden or Apple of Discourse have 19th cenury B.C. orgins involving the Hattian and Gnostic lore. The Apple of Discourse or Apple of Eden represent humanity's inability to understand the world above the necessity of self-preservation.

See also

  • Cogers
    The Society of Cogers is a free speech society, established in 1755 in the City of London. It is the oldest debating society in the world and one of the oldest speaking gatherings of any kind.-History and concept:...

  • German Apple Front
    Front Deutscher Äpfel
    The Front Deutscher Äpfel , also called Apfelfront is a satirical organisation, founded in Leipzig in 2004. It satirizes right extremist parties, especially the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands...

  • Golden apple
    Golden apple
    The golden apple is an element that appears in various national and ethnic folk legends or fairy tales. Recurring themes depict a hero retrieving the golden apples hidden or stolen by a monstrous antagonist...

  • Judgement of Paris
  • Polemic
    A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...