Laurus Nobilis

Julian LaVerdiere
Laurus Nobilis (Transgenic Laureate), 2000


Laurus Nobilis is the true laurel of classical antiquity. It was perceived as a symbol of immortality in ancient Greece and Rome, where it also became the emblem of nobility and victory. The Laureate was a crown woven of sprigs of laurel and was worn on the brow of each triumphant Roman general as he rode his chariot around the Circus in celebration. Conversely, withering or diseased laurel was believed to be a portent of disaster.
ìIt is thought the king is dead; we will not stay, the Laurel trees in our country are all withered, and meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven.î William Shakespeare, Richard III. The laurel is also symbolic of poetry and wisdom and is still honored today in the titles Poet Laureate and Nobel Laureate. As with plant genealogies, the code of our own genome is being deciphered and the wondrous and frightening implications of genetic determinism are gathering momentum. The gift of genius and strength may soon be obtained by intentionally reconfiguring our genetic building blocks. Enlightenment may be achieved through the administration of regenerative medicine. The illuminati will be cultivated in the test tube, not the temple. Scholastic study, trial, error, and happenstance will be rendered obsolete as a means of determining the intellect. Laureation will occur as commonly as germination.