Vertumnus and Pomona by Francesco Meizi (1493-1570). Pomona is often seen surrounded by fruit or a fruit platter.

In the Metamorphoses, Pomona is pursued by many gods for her beauty. She scorns the love of these gods to remain devoted only to her garden. However, one of these gods, Vertumnus, does not give up easily. Using his powers, to change his appearance, he adopts many disguises to seek the hand of Pomona. In the disguise of an old woman, he tells the tale of Iphis and Anaxarete, whom the former kills himself after getting rejected by the latter and the latter turning to stone. Then Vertumnus loses his patience and goes to rape Pomona, but she now accepts his advances with equal passion.

Pomona’s actions confuses me as she responds to someone who has tricked her many times and was even about to force her, even though she only cared for her garden. It says in the Metamorphoses:

“This was her love, this was all her desire,

And she had no interest in Venus at all.

But she did fear rape, and shut herself up

Inside her orchard, keeping men at a distance.

The Metamorphoses Book XIV 728 – 731

Vertumnus was about to rape her, and this is when she also shows that she accepts his advances. This just feels as though she is avoiding rape by “accepting” it.