Adonis

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{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{woman, child, man}
{specie, animal, plant}
{food, make, wine}
{island, water, area}
{service, military, aircraft}

Adonis, originally a Phoenician god (Phoenicia being modern day Lebanon), also known in Greek mythology as a favorite of Aphrodite(Greek Αδωνις, Adōnis, "lord") is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central cult figure in various mystery religions, who entered Greek mythology. He is closely related to the Cypriot Gauas[1] or Aos, Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation.[2] His cult belonged to women: the cult of dying Adonis was fully-developed in the circle of young girls around the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, about 600 BCE, as revealed in a fragment of Sappho's surviving poetry.[3]

Adonis was the young lover of Venus. He was gored by a wild boar in the hunt and died in her arms after she came to him when hearing his groans. Upon death, she sprinkled his blood with nectar; and the short-lived windflower, anemone, which takes its name from the wind which so easily makes it fall, was produced. The city Berytos (Beirut) in Lebanon was named after their daughter, Beroe, whom both Dionysus and Poseidon fell in love with. It is said that the blood of Adonis is what turns the Adonis River (modern Nahr Ibrahim in Lebanon) red each spring. Afqa is the sacred source where the waters of the river emerge from a huge grotto in a cliff 200 meters high. It is there that the myth of Astarte (Venus) and Adonis was born.

Contents

Origin of the cult

Adonis was worshipped in unspoken mystery religions: not until Imperial Roman times (in Lucian of Samosata, De Dea Syria, ch. 6 [4]) does any written source mention that the women were consoled by a revived Adonis. The third century BCE poet Euphorion of Chalcis in his Hyacinth wrote "Only Cocytus washed the wounds of Adonis".[5] Women in Athens would plant "gardens of Adonis" quick-growing herbs that sprang up from seed and died. The Festival of Adonis was celebrated by women at midsummer by sowing fennel and lettuce, and grains of wheat and barley. The plants sprang up soon, and withered quickly, and women mourned for the death of the vegetation god (Detienne 1972).

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