Adonis was a young man of irresistible beauty. His conception and birth were unusual. King Theias boasted that his daughter Myrrha was more beautiful than Aphrodite. In revenge, this goddess caused Myrrha to seduce her father. When Theias realized this, he threatened to kill his daughter. However, Myrrha invoked the help of the gods, who turned her into a myrrh tree. Adonis was born from its bark.
Adonis’ beauty soon led to division between Aphrodite and Persephone, the goddess of the underworld. Eventually Zeus ruled that Adonis should spend one third of the year with each of them, and do as he pleased the rest of the time. Adonis was killed while hunting a wild boar sent by Ares, one of Aphrodite’s jealous lovers. His love for Aphrodite was so strong, however, that the gods let him spend half the year with Aphrodite, and the rest in the kingdom of the dead.