ADONIS: The deified toy boy…

Stefanos Skarmintzos

Dying Adonis by Vincenzo di Raffaello de‘ Rossi. Photo Yiorgos Nimkiteas

The cult of Adonis seems to have been imported in Greece from Cyprus and even there it was not a native one. The island had received strong influences from its Middle Eastern neighbors, especially the Syro- Canaanites who were commercial partners but it had also been subjected to the power of the Assyrians during the 8th century BC. It also had a number of Phoenician settlements whose population seemed not to have been hellenized until the 3rd century BC. There is no wonder that the middle-eastern religions influenced the Cypriots who in their turn influenced the people of mainland Greece. The name Adonis is believed to be from the shemitic root “adon” meaning “lord” Adonis himself is being identified with the Babylonian god Tammuz It also appears that the cult of Adonis seem to have spread in…

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