Adonis Legend

Tammuz, Phoenician, Greek, Greece







Aphrodite (Venus) and Adonis

by Francois Lemoyne


 At  Byblos in Lebanon a beautiful baby boy was born and left without parents to care for him. Our Lady Aphrodite fell in love with him, and placed him in the care of the goddess of the underworld for safekeeping. Unfortunately when she went back to claim the boy, the other woman had also fallen in love with him and would not give him up. As a compromise it was agreed the boy would live half of the year with each of them. Nurtured by the love of these two women, he grew into a handsome and influential young man in the hills above Byblos. He became known as 'adon, which meant "lord," and then as Adonis.

Tragically, one of the male gods became jealous of Adonis. The rival changed himself into a wild boar and fatally gored the handsome young man. As Adonis lay dying in the arms of Aphrodite, drops of his blood spilled out and stained the anemone flower crimson red. When he was gone, Aphrodite went to the goddess of the underworld again to see if their bargain could be restored. Her outpouring of grief and love was so strong that it was agreed Adonis would live again. He would stay in the hills of Byblos for six months each year during spring and summer, and then return below for fall and winter.

In observance of these things, the river which coursed down from these hills to a place near Byblos was called the Adonis River (today, Nahr Ibrahim ). Each year when runoff from the Lebanon Mountains turned the river red, it was said to be the blood of Adonis. The crimson-red anemone continued to bloom there each year. And the grotto at Afqa  on the side of the mountain from which the Adonis River flowed became a place of pilgrimage.

In his honor “Adonis gardens” were grown by sprouting seeds in a dish which sprang up bright and green, but then perished. This was done every year in memory of his life and death. At the same time, a period of mourning was declared during which women would wail and expose their breasts in an expression of grief. After seven days of mourning, Adonis was reborn amid effusive celebration and festivities.

The Greeks later became so caught up in these emotional observances that the legend of Adonis was brought completely into their mythology as well.

The Awakening of Adonis

by J.W. Waterhouse

c. 1900


The fascinating, complete story of Phoenician society and its legends is explored in highly readable form in the book Phoenician Secrets.

These resourceful people and their resilient society are shown in intriguing detail, accompanied by many pictures and maps. Sources are noted for those who wish to explore areas of interest.

Anthony K:

"Sanford Holst's book should be a "must read!" for all those who want to learn the science and art of how a social system not only survives but thrives in an environment of great political, military, cultural, religious, and economic turbulence…." 


This paperback book is

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Contents of This Site

Phoenicians Home Page


Ancient Ships and Sea Trade

Origin of Phoenicians

Carthage, Hannibal

Punic Wars, Peace

Ancient Mediterranean

Egypt, Pyramids & Cedar

Sea Peoples

The Minoans

Solomon's Temple

Templars in Lebanon



Phoenicians Images

Cedars of Lebanon

Byblos, Sidon and Tyre




Aphrodite Legend

Isis and Osiris Legend

Europa Legend

Elissa Legend

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