The Cornucopia which is perhaps better known as The Horn of Plenty is usually depicted as a curved goat's horn, filled to the brim with fruits, flowers, nuts and grains which symbolizes wealth and abundance. The horn of plenty was thus regarded as the symbol of inexhaustible riches and became the attribute of several gods and rivers as fertilizers of the land (which provided these riches). Cornucopia is a Latin term derived from two words, cornu meaning horn and copia meaning plenty. There are two stories about the origin of the cornucopia the first and the oldest has to do with Zeus (Jupiter). The story is from the island of Crete where Zeus was born, according to many storytellers. Because the titan Cronos, who was his father, had the nasty habit of devouring his children his mother Rhea hid him in a cave right after his birth. There the infant Zeus was brought up on goat's milk, given to him by a goat called Amalthea. In later and other story's Amalthea is either a nymph or the daughter of the king of Crete (who looks after the goat). After he was raised Zeus broke off one of the horns of the goat, and said that its possessor would always have plenty of everything. And gave it, depending on the story in question, to either his nurses as a reward or to the goat itself to be filled with whatever food it wanted.
The other story has to do with Hercules
and his fifth labor where he fights with the river-god Achelous who has the
power to change himself into anything he wants. Achelous tells the following
about this meeting: "Finding that I was no match for
him in the warriors art, I resorted to others and glided away in the form
of a serpent. I curled my body in a coil and hissed at him with my forked tongue.
He smiled scornfully at this, and said, It was the labor of my infancy
to conquer snakes. So saying he clasped my neck with his hands. I was
almost choked, and struggled to get my neck out of his grasp. Vanquished in
this form, I tried what alone remained to me and assumed the form of a bull.
He grasped my neck with his arm, and dragging my head down to the ground, overthrew
me on the sand. Nor was this enough. His ruthless hand rent my horn from my
head. The Naiades took it, consecrated it, and filled it with fragrant flowers.
Plenty adopted my horn and made it her own, and called it Cornucopia."
After this fight Hercules generously returns the horn, in exchange for this generosity Hercules receives from Achelous the horn of plenty - the cornucopia. In the Roman version it is Copia or Abundantia the Roman goddess of wealth and plenty who adopted the horn. She was a handmaiden of Fortuna and she used the cornucopia to distribute grain and money.