Groovy Historian : Stories and
Myths of Cyprus Vodcast
Five Finger Mountain
and Aphrodite and Adonis
by the Groovy Historian….
Hey there this is the Groovy Historian and I have created a short vodcast of some myths and stories of Cyprus.
Firstly I will be talking about the Five Finger Mountain known as Besparmak and how it was formed and one of the legends about the mountain which is – There was a very beautiful girl who lived in a village in the range of the mountains which form a backdrop of today’s Girne. There happened to be two young men who loved this girl. One of them was a good-hearted person and the other one was not. They had a bet as to who would win the girl and they decided to have a duel and that it should take place on the edge of a marsh in Meserya. The malevolent youth made a crafty plan to overcome the good-hearted one. He wounded the good man by pulling him into the marsh. The good-hearted youth gradually started to sink in the marshy area while he was trying to push himself out of the mud. He raised his sword with a final effort, and as the sword slipped from his grasp, he was buried with five fingers open to the sky. In time, the marshy area dried out and the good-hearted youth’s hand turned into mountains resembling his five fingers.
I will also be talking Aphrodite who is usually said to have been born near her chief centre of worship, Paphos, here on the island of Cyprus, which is why she is sometimes called “Cyprian”, especially in the poetic works of Sappho. The Legend of Aphrodite and Adonis – Kinyas (Cinyas), the King of Cyprus, had a daughter who was a legendary beauty, called Smyrna. One day her father let slip the claim that his daughter was more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite. When Aphrodite heard this she was angry and decided to make the king and his daughter fall in love with each other. They both fell under the effect of the spell and she became pregnant by her father. The King’s daughter, ashamed and afraid, sought refuge in a forest and the King meanwhile looked for her with the intention of murdering her. Smyrna begged the gods and Zeus took pity on her, turning Smyrna into a myrtle tree to save her from this terrible situation. After nine months the princess, who was pregnant when she was transformed into a tree, gave birth to her son, Adonis, by ripping apart the trunk of the tree. The goddess Aphrodite found this beautiful baby on the trunk of the tree and took care of the child, taking him to live with her.
As he grew up Adonis became a very handsome man, which is why the goddess Aphrodite and the goddess of the underworld, Persephone, came into conflict over him. Zeus and Olympus ended the battle between the two goddesses by taking the decision that Adonis should live for 6 months of the year with Aphrodite and 6 months of the year with Persephone. As he prepared to meet his lover Aphrodite, Adonis was engaging in his favourite activity, hunting, when he encountered a wild boar. A very serious fight took place and at the end Adonis was terribly wounded. Bleeding and in pain he attempted to reach Aphrodite but lost all his strength, collapsing to the ground and taking his final breath. As it turned out, the life of Adonis was very brief …. like a flower.
Aphrodite could not accept his death and cried for many days. From that time onwards, nature stepped in to make this love immortal. The red and white anemones, a flower with a very short life span, blossom in Cyprus in the place where the one and only lover of Aphrodite, Adonis, died. The red anemones symbolise the blood spilling from the wounds of Adonis, the white ones the tears of Aphrodite and the yellow ones represent this tragic end.
Legends text courtesy of the TRNC Office of Tourism Promotion and Marketing catalogue. To download this and other catalogues please click here
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