The leafy ornament used in the capitals of Corinthian and composite columns. It is said that Callimachos lost his daughter, and set a basket of flowers on her grave, with a tile to keep the wind from blowing it away. The next time he went to visit the grave an acanthus had sprung up around the basket, which so struck the fancy of the architect that he introduced the design in his buildings.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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