At a picnic, Ambrosia is usually a dessert that you make with shredded coconut and oranges, but in Ancient Greek Mythology, this was the food for the Gods. It bestowed immorality to all who ate it, and this concept lives on today.
The Iliad and Odyssey used this word to mean three things – the food for the Olympians, a perfume to cover up the smell of the uncured seal skins and a salve that would treat corpses. But most scholars have identified this as some type of honey.
But regardless of all the confusion and explanations, this word is now used to metaphorically refer to anything that is fragrant, delicious and seems divine, and this includes the coconut and orange combinations we have talked about above.
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Food and Drink for the Gods
In Ancient texts, Ambrosian Nectar is commonly spoken of. In general, the consensus is that it was a drink or food that would make the gods immortal. Gods and goddesses would consume it and turn their blood into a heavenly life force called Ichor.
The downside to partaking this drink was that once you started, you had to keep consuming it as failure to do so would make your life force to fade away. The fading of powers was said to have happened to Demeter who was an Olympian goddess.
Ancient Tales of Ambrosia
Tales from the ancient times give examples of how the mortals ate ambrosia and were able to live forever. Among the Greeks, the nectar was also used to restore the goddess Aphrodite and give her powers. This nectar also cleansed her wounds after she suffered an injury with Achaean hero Diomedes.
Ambrosia was actually not just used used as just Greek food and drink, but would also be used by individuals to anoint their substances. During the Trojan War, when the son of Zeus, Sarpedon, got killed by Patroclus, Apollo used it to cleanse his body and this ensured that it did not decompose before being placed on the funeral pyre.
In fact, one of the most famous uses of ambrosia was for anointing Achilles, when he was just a baby. His mother, Thetis sought to make her son immortal and covered him in ambrosia before his mortal elements were burnt.
However, she wasn’t able to complete her anointing ritual as she was discovered by her husband who believed she had ill intentions.
Ingredients of Ambrosia
Historians are yet to discover the exact ingredients of ambrosia. But they mostly connect it to some royal jelly, honey, many different types of plants, vegetables and fruits, wine and olive oil.
All of the ingredients of ambrosia can be found in Greece. They strongly connect to the myths and the stories of longevity. Honey and Olive oil are actually considered to be the super foods and they promote the well-being and good health of the gods, which is due to their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
In Modern Greece however, most drinks and snacks are usually created using these powerful ingredients in order to add your years, and boost your energy.
What Else Did the Gods Consume?
While ambrosia was very famous, it wasn’t the only thing consumed by the Greek gods. The famous baby Zeus, who had been hidden away in a cave on Mount Ida was known to have drank milk from goats and he also ate honey.
For this reason, most people assume that ambrosia was honey, as it can be eaten, and drunk as wine too. It can also be used to anoint bodies. Other writers of ancient history also say that it was eight times sweeter than honey.
There are many tales surrounding ambrosia, but the greatest belief is that it would course the Gods to become immortal. Perhaps it’s the main reason why even in today’s world most people believe in the healing powers of honey. We’ll probably never know.