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date: 27 November 2022



  • V. Pirenne-Delforge
  •  and André Motte


Name given by the Greeks to a divine personage whom they thought to be eastern in origin (Semitic Adon = ‘Lord’), but whose eastern prototypes (Dumuzi, Tammuz, Baal, Ešmun) are very different from the picture which became established in Greece. In mythology, Adonis is born from the incest of an easterner, whose name is variously given as Agenor, Cinyras, Phoenix, and Theias, and of *Myrrha or Smyrna. He aroused the love of *Aphrodite, who hid him in a chest and entrusted him to *Persephone, but she, captivated in her turn, refused to give him back. Then *Zeus decreed that the young man should spend four months of the year in the Underworld (see hades) and four months with Aphrodite—whom Adonis chose also for the final four months, left to his own decision. He was born from a myrrh tree, and dying young in a hunting accident, was changed into an anemone, a flower without scent ([Apollod.] 3. 14. 3–4; Ov. Met.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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