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Παρασκευή, 18 Μαΐου 2007

ADONIS OF CYPRUS AND LEBANON

Adonis, a very handsome young man, loved by Aphrodite. A talented hunter, he disregards the warnings of the goddess to retreat in the face of a boar that stood its ground and was fatal injured by the boar. The grieving Aphrodite sprinkled nectar on the blood-soaked ground and the anemone blossomed forth.
Adonis has two origins: Paphos, Cyprus and Byblos, Lebanon. On Cyprus, his father is either Canaanite/Phoenician king Theias or Cinyras, king of Paphos, or Pygmalion; his mother was Myrrha, the king's daughter. At Byblos, it is Phoinix, father of the Phoenicians. Paphos sees him linked to the goddess Aphrodite, with whom a tie has already been established. The worship of Adonis, a cult especially popular with women, was celebrated on flat rooftops by the planting of plants and the offering of incenses. It also involved lamentations for the dead god. The incense and wailing of women are identical practices to those found in Baal worship. In Greece, the goddess Persephone fulfills much of his role.

ADONIS OF LEBANON

The Springs of Adonis (now also known as the River Ibrahim) run through the Byblos region of Lebanon down through steep gorges to the Mediterranean. Iron ore deposits stain its waters red at times of flood. The cult of Adonis used to be celebrated in a temple close by. The beautiful youth Adonis, who was loved by the goddess Astarte, went out hunting despite her warnings and was gored to death by a boar. But after long supplications, Astarte succeeded in securing his release from the underworld for half the year. The rituals of Adonis, of resurrection and the return of spring, were observed in Lebanon for millennia. It seems that even in medieval Islamic times the return of Adonis to this world was still being celebrated in remote villages. Legends concerning Adonis and other figures from pagan Lebanese lore were to figure largely in the quasi-mystical rhetoric of Lebanese nationalism in the 1940s and 50s.

ADONIS OF CYPRUS

In Cyprus, the Adonis myth is usually told as follows: the king of Paphos, Kinyras, had a daughter named Myrrha or Smyrna who was cursed by Aphrodite and forced to commit incest with her father when she was twelve; with the complicity of her nurse she succeeded in deceiving him for eleven nights, but on the twelfth night Theias discovered who she really was and prepared to kill her. Myrrha fled, and the gods taking pity on her, turned her into a tree, the myrrh tree. Ten months later the bark peeled off and an infant emerged and was named Adonis. Aphrodite was very moved by the beauty of the child, and she gave him to Persephone to bring up. Becoming infatuated with the beautiful child Persephone refused to give him back to Aphrodite. Zeus became the arbitrator in settling the dispute between the two goddesses, and it was decided that Adonis should live one-third of the year with Aphrodite, one-third with Persephone, and the final third with whichever he pleased. Adonis chose to live two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite, and one-third with Persephone in the underworld.
Several years later Adonis was hunting when a bore, sent to harm him by Artemis (her reason is unknown) or by Ares (who was jealous of the young man), gored the youth in the thigh and killed him. When Aphrodite hurried to help him she scratched her foot on a thorn, and the rose, which until that moment had always been white, became a deep red. From the blood of Adonis rose the anemone flower that is so often seen in spring in the eastern Mediterranean lands.
In honor of Adonis, Aphrodite founded a funeral cult, which was celebrated each spring by Lebanese women, and it spread throughout the ancient world. Seeds were planted in vases and carefully watered with warm water. These plants quickly sprouted, but died soon; they were known as "gardens of Adonis."

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