Pomona (mythology)

Pomona, by Nicolas Fouché, c. 1700
Vertumnus and Pomona by Peter Paul Rubens, 1617-1619, private collection in Madrid.

Pomona (/pəˈmnə/;[1] Latin: Pōmōna [ˈpoːmoːna]) was a goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion and myth. Her name comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit.

Pomona was said to be a wood nymph.[2][3]


In the myth narrated by Ovid, she scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman.[4] She and Vertumnus shared a festival held on August 13. Her priest was called the flamen Pomonalis. The pruning knife was her attribute. There is a grove that is sacred to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome.

Pomona was the goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards. Unlike many other Roman goddesses and gods, she does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is commonly associated with Demeter. She watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation. She was not actually associated with the harvest of fruits itself, but with the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia.


The City of Pomona in Los Angeles County, California, is named after the goddess.[5] Pomona College was founded in the city and retained its name even after relocating to its present-day location, Claremont.[5][6]

Representations in art

A bronze statue of Pomona sits atop the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza in New York. The statute was funded by newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer and executed by Thomas Hastings.[7]

Pomona is briefly mentioned in C. S. Lewis's children's book Prince Caspian.[8]

See also


  1. "Pomona". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. Ovid, Metamorphoses (trans. Michael Simpson: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), p. 448.
  3. Matthew Gumpert, Grafting Helen: The Abduction of the Classical Past (University of Wisconsin Press, 2001), p. 69.
  4. Duckworth, George E (1976). "Pompona". In William D. Halsey. Collier's Encyclopedia. 19. Macmillan Educational Corporation. p. 232.
  5. 1 2 William Bright, 1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning (University of California Press, 1998), p. 118.
  6. A Brief History of Pomona College, Pomona College (accessed September 26, 2016).
  7. Pulitzer Fountain, Central Park Conservancy (accessed September 26, 2016).
  8. Marvin D. Hinten, The Keys to the Chronicles: Unlocking the Symbols of C.S. Lewis's Narnia (B&H Publishing Group: 2005), pp. 11, 22, 102.
  9. Arthur Haskell (ed.) 'Gala Performance' (Collins 1955) p206.
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