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ADO´NIA (Ἀδώνια), a festival celebrated in honour of Adonis, the beloved of Aphrodite. It had been introduced into Greece from the East, probably about the time of the Persian wars, and, like many other Eastern rites, was celebrated in most of the Greek cities (Aristoph. Lys. 362 Pax, 410). The time and duration of the solemnities differed in the different towns and countries; but in Greece generally they seem to have lasted two days, the first being the day on which Adonis disappeared (ἀφανισμός), and the second on which his body was sought (ζήτησις) by the women in what were called “the gardens of Adonis,” i. e. small earthen vessels which were placed before the door of private houses and at the entrance of the temple of Adonis, and in which quickly-growing and quickly-decaying herbs were planted as a symbol of the brief duration of human life. The first of these days was a day of mourning, and the second one of rejoicing and amusements of various kinds, such as the proposing of riddles, because on that day Adonis was conceived to be coming to life again to dwell with Aphrodite for six months (Plut. Alc. 18; Nic. 13; Athen. p. 451 b; Hesych. and Suidas, s.v. Roulez, Mélanges, vol. iii. p. 1 ff.). Other particulars respecting the worship and festivals of Adonis are given under ADONIS in the Dict. of Biogr. and Mythol.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 362
    • Plutarch, Alcibiades, 18
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