- For other uses of the name Adonis, see Adonis (disambiguation).
In Greek mythology Adonis
(, also: Άδωνις) is an archetypal life-death-rebirth deity
of Semitic origin, and a central cult figure in various mystery religions
. He is closely related to the Egyptian Osiris
, the Semitic Tammuz
and Baal Hadad
, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis
, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation
. Some mythologists believe that Balder
is to be read as his counterpart in Germanic mythology
. Adonis is one of the most complex cult figures in classical times. He has had multiple roles and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose in the Greek religious beliefs
. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity
whose nature is tied to the calendar. His cult
belonged to women: the cult of dying Adonis was fully-developed in the circle of young girls around Sappho
, about 600 BCE, as a fragment of Sappho reveals. His name is often apllied in modern times to handsome youths.