Humanities › History & Culture Adonis and Aphrodite The Story by Ovid From Metamorphoses X Share Flipboard Email Print Clipart.com History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated April 07, 2019 The love goddess of the Greeks, Aphrodite, usually made other people fall in love (or lust, more often than not), but sometimes she, too, was smitten. In this story of Adonis and Aphrodite, which comes from the tenth book of, the Roman poet Ovid summarizes Aphrodite's ill-fated love affair with Adonis. Aphrodite fell in love with lots of males. The hunter Adonis was one of these. It was his good looks that attracted the goddess and now the very name Adonis is synonymous with male beauty. Ovid says that by Aphrodite's falling in love with him, the mortal Adonis avenged the incest between his parent Myrrha and her father Cinyras and then he caused Aphrodite intolerable grief when he was killed. The original act of incest was provoked by unquenchable lust caused by Aphrodite. Note the geographic locations of cult sites that Aphrodite is accused of neglecting: Paphos, Cythera, Cnidos, and Amathus. Also, note the detail of Aphrodite flying with swans. Since this is part of the work on physical transformations by Ovid, the dead Adonis is turned into something else, a flower. Also worth noting: Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite V. This hymn tells the story of Aphrodite's love affair with the mortal Anchises.Aspects of Venus (Aphrodite) Ovid's Story The following is Arthur Golding's translation from 1922 of the section of the tenth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses on the love story of Adonis and Aphrodite: That son of sister and grandfather, whowas lately hidden in his parent tree,just lately born, a lovely baby boyis now a youth, now man more beautiful825 than during growth. He wins the love of Venusand so avenges his own mother's passion.For while the goddess' son with quiver heldon the shoulder, once was kissing his loved mother,it chanced unwittingly he grazed her breast830 with a projecting arrow. Instantlythe wounded goddess pushed her son away;but the scratch had pierced her deeper than she thoughtand even Venus was at first deceived.Delighted with the beauty of the youth,835 she does not think of her Cytherian shoresand does not care for Paphos, which is girtby the deep sea, nor Cnidos, haunts of fish,nor Amathus far-famed for precious ores.Venus, neglecting heaven, prefers Adonis840 to heaven, and so she holds close to his waysas his companion, and forgets to restat noon-day in the shade, neglecting the careof her sweet beauty. She goes through the woods,and over mountain ridges and wild fields,845 rocky and thorn-set, bare to her white kneesafter Diana's manner. And she cheersthe hounds, intent to hunt for harmless prey,such as the leaping hare, or the wild stag,high-crowned with branching antlers, or the doe.--850 she keeps away from fierce wild boars, awayfrom ravenous wolves; and she avoids the bearsof frightful claws, and lions glutted withthe blood of slaughtered cattle.She warns you,855 Adonis, to beware and fear them. If her fearsfor you were only heeded! "Oh be brave,"she says, "against those timid animalswhich fly from you; but courage is not safeagainst the bold. Dear boy, do not be rash,860 do not attack the wild beasts which are armedby nature, lest your glory may cost megreat sorrow. Neither youth nor beauty northe deeds which have moved Venus have effecton lions, bristling boars, and on the eyes865 and tempers of wild beasts. Boars have the forceof lightning in their curved tusks, and the rageof tawny lions is unlimited.I fear and hate them all."When he inquires870 the reason, she says: "I will tell it; youwill be surprised to learn the bad resultcaused by an ancient crime. -- But I am wearywith unaccustomed toil; and see! a poplarconvenient offers a delightful shade875 and this lawn gives a good couch. Let us restourselves here on the grass." So saying, shereclined upon the turf and, pillowingher head against his breast and mingling kisseswith her words, she told him the following tale: Story of Atalanta My dear Adonis keep away from allsuch savage animals; avoid all thosewhich do not turn their fearful backs in flightbut offer their bold breasts to your attack,1115 lest courage should be fatal to us both.Indeed she warned him. -- Harnessing her swans,she traveled swiftly through the yielding air;but his rash courage would not heed the advice.By chance his dogs, which followed a sure track,1120 aroused a wild boar from his hiding place;and, as he rushed out from his forest lair,Adonis pierced him with a glancing stroke.Infuriate, the fierce boar's curved snoutfirst struck the spear-shaft from his bleeding side;1125 and, while the trembling youth was seeking whereto find a safe retreat, the savage beastraced after him, until at last, he sankhis deadly tusk deep in Adonis' groin;and stretched him dying on the yellow sand.1130 And now sweet Aphrodite, borne through airin her light chariot, had not yet arrivedat Cyprus, on the wings of her white swans.Afar she recognized his dying groans,and turned her white birds towards the sound. And when1135 down looking from the lofty sky, she sawhim nearly dead, his body bathed in blood,she leaped down--tore her garment--tore her hair --and beat her bosom with distracted hands.And blaming Fate said, "But not everything1140 is at the mercy of your cruel power.My sorrow for Adonis will remain,enduring as a lasting monument.Each passing year the memory of his deathshall cause an imitation of my grief.1145 "Your blood, Adonis, will become a flowerperennial. Was it not allowed to youPersephone, to transform Menthe's limbsinto sweet fragrant mint? And can this changeof my loved hero be denied to me?"1150 Her grief declared, she sprinkled his blood withsweet-smelling nectar, and his blood as soonas touched by it began to effervesce,just as transparent bubbles always risein rainy weather. Nor was there a pause1155 more than an hour, when from Adonis, blood,exactly of its color, a loved flowersprang up, such as pomegranates give to us,small trees which later hide their seeds beneatha tough rind. But the joy it gives to man1160 is short-lived, for the winds which give the flowerits name, Anemone, shake it right down,because its slender hold, always so weak,lets it fall to the ground from its frail stem.