Never, ever, ever boast about a trait or skill as being better than one of the gods. It’s a lesson that apparently bears repeating despite having been through this before. Unfortunately, the wife of King Cinryas boasted that her daughter, Smyrna, was more beautiful than Aphrodite.
Much like Andromeda, it is Smyrna who becomes the focus of Aphrodite’s revenge. Unlike Andromeda, there’s no hero to swoop in and save the day. Aphrodite causes Smyrna to fall madly in love with her father, Cinryas. Smyrna came to her father’s bed one dark night and did the deed. Later, Cinryas learned that he was both father and grandfather to Smyrna’s child. The myths don’t say, but it’s likely that Cinryas believed that he had been with his own wife that night.
Horrified and angry, Cinryas chased her from the castle with a sword, intent on killing her. Aphrodite transformed her into a myrrh tree just as the sword was coming down on her. The sword split the tree, and then the baby tumbled out.
This is a curious story as the revenge is indirect. Cinryas’s wife is the one who is guilty, here, yet it is both Cinryas and Smyrna who bear Aphrodite’s wrath. Smyrna, especially, is violated in this story. The ability to make her fall in love with her father must be considered a form of rape. Then she raped her father. Finally, she finds herself pregnant with an incestuous child, and her father is out to murder her for what was not actually her fault—though Cinryas has no other source of blame.
Cinryas is also shamed in this, having slept with his daughter. His family is broken, his name immortalized and associated with the shamefulness of what happened. The nameless wife, however, is not directly affected, but must deal with the same aftermath that her family is ruined.