For the Greek mythology the lemon tree was known as the » tree of the golden apples «, in a clear comparison with the apple tree, tree with multitude of attributes for the former Greeks. The lemon tree was represented in the Greek mythology as donor of the immortality. In addition it was considered to be a symbol of fecundity. For it it was a custom that was appearing this fruit in the wedding ceremonies.
As the books count the valued fruit of the lemon tree was a gift of the goddess Gea to the goddess Hera on the occasion of his link with the god Zeus. The tree was placed in the Garden of the Hespérides and was guarded by a dragoon – serpent of hundred heads called Ladón. The above mentioned Garden seems to have existed in the lost continent the Atlantis.
Hercules’ last job
Euristeo, king of Micenas, entrusted Hercules the theft of the coveted tree. The legendary semidiós obtained the fruit after conquering Ladón. Counts the mitológia who in his last work entrusted him Hercules to steal the golden apples that they were born of a tree given by Gea, Hera, on the occasion of his betrothal with Zeus. These golden apples were providing the immortality. The goddess had planted the tree on a divine garden that was situated in the hillside of the mount Atlas. The Hespérides were taking charge taking care of the tree. To protect the tree and to monitor the possible thefts of the Hespérides, Hera placed to the dragoon Ladón close to the tree.
The first difficulty with which the hero ran up was to verify where one was finding the famous garden. For first it it went towards Macedonia, where it fought and conquered Cicno. In Iliria it consulted a few nymphs who indicated him that alone Nereo might reveal the situation of the garden. They took him before Nereo and though the god to extricate itself of Heracles’s embrace transformed in thousand different ways, the hero did not consent in giving up him while it was not showing him the way that had to continue. Way of the garden fought against Busiris. In Asia it killed Ematión. And to his step along the Caucasus it liberated Prometeo, with Zeus’s assent, killing with an arrow to the eagle that every morning was gnawing at the liver. In gratefulness Prometeo it advised him to start the apples with his own hands.
Once in the garden of the Hespérides, following Prometeo’s advice, he asked Atlante to take the apples, while he was holding the terrestrial vault instead of the titan. When Atlante had the apples, he reported to the hero, that he itself would take the apples to Micenas. Heracles using the trickery, it appeared in agreement, but he asked him to the titan to hold during a moment the vault while a pillow was placed to be more comfortable. As soon as the candid titan took again the weight on his shoulders, Heracles took the apples and began to run. Once in Micenas, Euristeo returned the apples to Hera, who put them again in the garden.
This legend gave place to the word hesperidio, name that is used to mention to the citrus fruits.