In Greek mythology, Adonis was the god of beauty and desire. Originally, he was a god worshipped in the area of Phoenicia (modern – day Lebanon), but was later adopted by the Greeks. According to the most popular belief, he was the son of Theias, king of Syria, and Myrrha (also known as Smyrna), Theias’ daughter.
The myth has it that Aphrodite cursed his mother Myrrha to lust after her own father, King Theias of Syria. Myrrha tricked her father into having sex with her in complete darkness for nine nights; by that union, Adonis was conceived. When Theias found out that it was his daughter, he tried to find her and kill her. She pleaded to the gods to change her form, and thus she was transformed into a myrrh tree. In the tree form, she gave birth to Adonis, with whom goddess Aphrodite fell in love.
Aphrodite protected him and appointed Persephone to raise him. Adonis grew into an astonishingly beautiful young man, causing Persephone to fell in love with him too. Persephone refused to give Adonis back to Aphrodite; this led to a dispute that was solved by Zeus. As a result, Adonis would spend a third of a year with each goddess, and one third with whoever he wanted; he chose to spend two thirds with Aphrodite. Adonis and Aphrodite were a happy couple and had two children: Beroe and Golgos.
Adonis was a great hunter and Artemis got jealous of his hunting skills. So Artemis sent a wild boar which eventually killed Adonis in one of his hunting expeditions. A different version of the myth has it that the boar was sent by Ares, as he was the lover of Aphrodite. Adonis bled to death in Aphrodite’s arms. Anemones sprang out of the tears of Aphrodite while she was mourning the death of her lover.
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