The Myth of Adonis

Apollodorus, The Library 3.183

Kinyras took some people with him to Kypros and founded Paphos there; he married Metharme, a child of King Pygmalion of Kypros, and they had Oxyporos and Adonis … While Adonis was still a boy, because of Artemis’ anger he was wounded by a boar during a hunt and died. Hesiodos says the he was the son of Phoinix and Alphesiboia; but Panyassis calls him the son of Theias, king of the Assyrians, whose daughter was Smyrna. Because of Aphrodite’s wrath (for she did not honour Aphrodite), Smyrna developed a lust for her father, and with the help of her nurse slept with him for twelve nights without his knowing it. When he found out he drew his sword and started after her, and as he was about to overtake her, she prayed to the gods to become invisible. The gods took pity on her and changed her into the tree called the Smyrna. Nine months later the tree split open and the baby named Adonis was born. Because of his beauty, Aphrodite secreted him away in a chest, keeping it from the gods, and left him with Persephone. But when Persephone got a glimpse of Adonis, she refused to return him. When the matter was brought to Zeus for arbitration, he divided the year into three parts and decreed that Adonis would spent one third of the year by himself, one third with Persephone, and the rest with Aphrodite. But Adonis added his own portion to Aphrodite’s. Later on, while hunting, he was attacked by a boar and died.


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