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Apple of Discord

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Turner, Joseph Mallord William - The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides - c. 1806

Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides


The manzana de la discordia (the turret on the left belongs to the Casa Lleó Morera; the building with the stepped triangular peak is the Casa Amatller; and the curved façade to its right is the Casa Batlló).

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord (Greek: μῆλον τῆς Ἔριδος) which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris (Gr. Ἔρις, "Strife") tossed in the midst of the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis as a prize of beauty, thus sparking a vanity-fueled dispute among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War[1] (for the complete story, see The Judgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" is used to signify the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute.[2]

Derivative uses

Because of this, the Roman goddess corresponding to the Greek Eris was named "Discordia". Also, in German and in Dutch, 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 district of Barcelona, there is a block nicknamed in Spanish La manzana de la discordia (Catalan: L'illa de la discòrdia}). The reason for this usage is that manzana means both "apple" and "city block" in Spanish. It was so named ("block of discord") because it features three different interpretations of Modernisme architecture: Antoni Gaudí's Casa Batlló, Lluís Domènech i Montaner's Casa Lleó Morera, and Josep Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller.

"To the Fairest"

In some later sources, Eris inscribed on the apple "for the fair"[3] or "to the fairest" before tossing it. The most popular version of the inscription is ΤΗΙ ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΗΙ (Ancient Greek: τῇ καλλίστῃ tē(i) kallistē(i), Modern Greek: τη καλλίστη ti kallisti; "for/to the most beautiful").[4] Καλλίστῃ is the dative singular of the feminine superlative of καλός, beautiful. In Latin sources, the word is formosissima.[5]

See also


  1. Apollodorus Epitome E.3.2
  2. Timothy L. Gall; Susan B. Gall (1 January 2006). The Lincoln library of Greek & Roman mythology. Lincoln Library Press, The. pp. 16–. ISBN 978-0-912168-21-0. 
  3. Lucian The Judgement of Paris in Dialogues of the Gods
  4. Randall L. Schweller (3 April 2014). Maxwell's Demon and the Golden Apple: Global Discord in the New Millennium. JHU Press. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-4214-1278-8. 
  5. Pseudo-Hyginus Fabulae 92
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Apple of Discord. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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