PINE-FOR Erasmus+ project
Collaborative dictionary of mythological plants
FUNDED BY EUROPEAN UNION
Target group number: 1
Scientific name: Pinus
Uses and singularity
*Uses: Pines are among the most commercially important tree species valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that will grow in relatively dense stands, their acidic decaying needles inhibiting the sprouting of competing hardwoods. Commercial pines are grown inplantations for timber that is denser, more resinous, and therefore more durable than spruce (Picea). Pine wood is widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, panelling, floors and roofing, and the resin of some species is an important source of turpentine.
*Singularity: Some species have large seeds, called pine nuts, that are harvested and sold for cooking and baking. They are an essential ingredient of Pesto alla genovese.
Sinis was a Korinthian bandit, and a son of the god Poseidon, who waylayed travellers passing through the Isthmos. He tie victims to the tops of pine-trees and let spring up to tear the men asunder. Sinis was slain by Theseus in the same manner. After,the hero created the Isthmian Games to appease the ghost of Sinis and his father Poseidon.
In ancient Roman mythology Pines were sacred to Attis, the lover of the earth goddess Cybele, who was gored by a boar. After his death he was changed into a Pine tree. At his festival, which was held at the spring equinox, a pine tree was cut and brought into the sanctuary of the goddess. The trunk was prepared like a corpse and decked out with flowers. Tied to it was an effigy of a young man, the image of Attis prior to his mishap. For two days the crowds lamented his death and on the third day of celebrations the priests would offer a blood sacrifice by cutting their own arms. The accompanying music was said to drive the crowds into a frenzy and several of the worshippers would offer blood sacrifices of their own, even to the point of imitating the emasculation of their God, by cutting off their own genitals. Blood and semen are the sacred fluids of life. By offering these to the Earth Goddess it was hoped that the life force (Attis) would be resurrected and thus the fertility of the Goddess restored.
Pitis, in Greek mythology, was a nymph, whose love Pan and Boreas was disputed. Pitis chose Pan and Boreas, a breath, a rock smashed. Gea, pitied, transformed it into the pine tree.