War Over the Pretty Boy
Adonis, born from his mother the tree, is very handsome. Aphrodite, goddess of love, is down with that, and wants to keep him for herself. So she locks him in a box—no one ever said that Greek mythology was free from abuse—and hands the box over to Persephone for safe keeping.
The idea is that Persephone, being both the Queen of the Underworld and married to Hades, would be less inclined to do anything with Adonis. Plus, she’s supposed to keep the box locked tight and in secluded space so no one discovers him. Unfortunately for Aphrodite, Persephone is curious. She opens the box, discovers Adonis, and proceeds to make him her boy toy.
Yes, she’s cheating on Hades. Affairs in Greek mythology are so common that they might as well be the normal instead of monogamy, but we have to remark on this one simply because of how gentlemanly Hades acted in courting her. And this is how she repays him.
We have to conclude at this point that her power is such that she has no difficulty in brazenly cheating on him with Adonis. The affair was not kept private at all. When Aphrodite discovers what Persephone is doing, she takes the matter to Zeus. It’s a real People’s Court moment.
Both women want to possess Adonis. Zeus is in a pickle because on the one hand is his daughter Persephone and on the other is his daughter Aphrodite, neither of which he wishes to piss off. He does the only sensible thing and decides on shared custody. Persephone gets four months, Aphrodite four months, and Adonis has four months for himself. The entire affair would have been broadcast all over Olympus by taking the matter to Zeus, but Persephone shows no concern over Hades’s feelings.
The schedule is fine until Aphrodite cheats. She uses the power of her girdle (a belt) to make Adonis spend his own time with her, giving her twice as much time as what Persephone gets. However, it’s a legal play on the loophole, so no foul can be called. Again, Persephone is quite open about enjoying her boy toy, she’s just mad that Aphrodite outmaneuvered her and she gets shafted (less than she’d like) on the deal.
Hades actually takes no part in this myth, even though he would be well within his rights to take Adonis off the playing field. However, that honor goes to Ares. Persephone, not happy, informs the god of war of Aphrodite’s newest boy toy. Since that honor once belonged to Ares, he turns himself into a boar and kills Adonis.
Aphrodite, not into necrophilia, loses on this one. However, Persephone is the Queen of the Underworld, so Adonis would descend to her realm. She may have won that battle and continue to have herself a boy toy while still being married to Hades.