Adonis is the god of beauty and desire in Greek mythology. He was originally worshiped in Phenicia (now Lebanon) but was later adopted by the Greeks.
He is the son of Theias, Syrian king. His mother is Myrrha (also known as Smryna) who is also the daughter of Theias. In the myth, Myrrha falls in love with her father and tricks him into having sex with him. This is how Adonis would have been conceived.
When King Theias realizes his daughter has cheated on him, he tries to find her and kill her. Myrrha begs the gods to save her and they turn her into a myrrh tree.
In her tree form, she gives birth to Adonis. Aphrodite then arrives and falls in love with him. She protects Adonis and leaves Persephone to care for and raise him.
Later, Aphrodite and Persephone will argue about it, because the two goddesses want it and Persephone refuses to give it back. Eventually Zeus gets involved in the argument and settles things once and for all.
He tells the goddesses that they will each have it for a third of the year and that Adonis will decide for the remaining third. He chooses to spend two thirds of the year with Aphrodite.
Adonis will die attacked by a wild boar sent by Artemis. The latter, jealous of his hunting skills, wanted to punish him. Another version of the story says that Ares, the god of war, sent a boar to kill him because he was Aphrodite’s lover.
After the death of Adonis, Aphrodite would have poured nectar on his body, which would have mixed with his blood and, from there, would have been born the purpurin anemone.
Role and responsibilities of Adonis
– From his blood sprinkled with nectar would have been born the ephemeral anemone and the river Adonis.
– He spent a third of the year with Persephone and the remaining two thirds with Aphrodite to prevent them from arguing.
– He was a hunter much envied by Artemis, which would have hastened his end.
– He was considered a god of fertility.
Appearance and personality of Adonis
– He was renowned for his extreme beauty and considered the most magnificent of men.
– We don’t talk much about his personality.
Facts about Adonis
– He was the product of incest. Apparently, her mother would have been pushed by Eros, himself sent by Aphrodite, to love her father because he said that his daughter was more beautiful than Aphrodite.
– He was born from a myrrh tree (his transformed mother).
– Aphrodite falls in love with him at first sight and hides it with the help of Persephone.
– When he grows up, Persephone also falls in love with him.
– Artemis would have killed him by sending him a boar.
– Other sources say that he would have been killed by Ares transformed into a boar, Persephone having told him that his beloved had a mortal lover.
– He would have come back to life.
– It would also be a god of vegetation.
– He was mainly worshiped by women.
– The “cries of Adonis” were laments of women.
– There was a garden of Adonis whose statue was surrounded by flowers in pots.
– His blood would have given rise to the Adonis River which would have turned red and discolored when he came back to life.