After all the effort and gentlemanly behavior of Hades, Persephone doesn’t prove to be as caring. In fact, she has herself an affair with a mortal and kicks off a catfight with Aphrodite. Aphrodite is responsible for starting the whole thing . . . well, indirectly. Okay, let’s get into.
So, Aphrodite rescued a child born from a myrrh tree. . . .
Um, right. I need to rewind a bit more, don’t I?
Right, this is more of an Aphrodite myth, but it does have a big dose of Persephone in it.
Okay, so King Cinryas was an arrogant SOB, and he decided to boast that his daughter was more beautiful than Aphrodite. Classic mistake. We’ve already seen with the likes of Arachne and others that it’s a crazy-bad idea to ever boast that someone can do X better than one of the gods.
But he did it anyway. Now, in the course of punishments handed down from the gods, the Acteon and Arachne generally top out the list as being the most famous, and received pretty severe punishments. Demeter has a nasty one about a man name Erysichthon—say that five times fast—where she makes him perpetually hungry. However, Aphrodite wins the prize in my book.
When Cinryas makes his boast, Aphrodite gets revenge with her own style. Cinryas has a daughter, Smyrna. Instead of doing something directly to Cinryas, Aphrodite instead puts a whammy on Smyrna. She makes Smyrna fall uncontrollably in lust with her father.
And she acts on this lust.
Yup, the daughter rapes the father. He’s not really aware, either, since she slipped in at night. And she gets pregnant.
Yeah, this is why Aphrodite wins this particular contest. PSA: do not ever, ever claim to be more beautiful than Aphrodite.
When Cinryas learns that he is both the father and grandfather of Smyrna’s unborn child, he kind of goes off the deep end. He wants to kill her and the child for the unnatural lust. Aphrodite felt a little bad over what happened, so, at the last moment, she turned Smyrna into a myrrh tree. Cinryas’s sword cut the tree in half, and out fell a baby boy.
This sure beats the idea of the stork, right?
This baby boy is Adonis, and he becomes the object of Persephone’s affections, but we’ll tackle that next week.