Myrrha

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In Greek mythology, Myrrha (Ancient Greek: Μύρρα) was a daughter of the king Theias of Assyria and the mother of Adonis by Theias. Two different versions of Adonis' birth existed.

In Ovid's version of the story, Metamorphoses Book X, Myrrha's father is the king Cinyras of Cyprus, and she is able to sleep with him by disguising herself as a new concubine. This is probably the version that Dante had in mind when, in the Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto XXX, he sees her shade suffering rabies for all eternity in the eighth circle of Hell. Her punishment is not the consequence of her unnatural lust (which would have landed her in the second circle) but for her practice of the art of deception. Myrrha was turned into a tree (a myrrh). Adonis was born from its trunk.

Myrrha was also the original Aeolic Greek name for Smyrna.

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