Adonis

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Adonis

or

Adunis,

pen name of Ali Ahmad Said, 1930–, Syrian poet and essayist, generally considered the Arab world's greatest living poet. He began writing poetry in the 1950s. After being jailed (1955) for antigovernment activities, he moved (1956) to Beirut, where he cofounded (1957) the journal Shi'r [poetry] and founded (1968) the avant-garde cultural magazine Mawaqif [positions]. He has lived in Paris since the early 1980s and has taught at several universities. Writing in Arabic for a mainly Arab audience, Adonis is a key figure in Arab modernism. His more than 20 books include the poetry of Aghani Mihyar ad-Dimashqi [song of Mihyar the Damascene] (1961). Highly experimental, visionary, and often obscure, his verse mingles political concerns with surreal symbolism and a mysticism related to that of classical Sufi poetry (see SufismSufism
, an umbrella term for the ascetic and mystical movements within Islam. While Sufism is said to have incorporated elements of Christian monasticism, gnosticism, and Indian mysticism, its origins are traced to forms of devotion and groups of penitents (zuhhad
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). Themes of exile and sensuality recur in his verse, as do images of cities, seas, and mirrors. Some of his poems have appeared in English translation, e.g., The Blood of Adonis (1971) and The Pages of Day and Night (1994). He has also written studies of Arab history, culture, and literature, such as An Introduction to Arab Poetics (tr. 1990) and Sufism and Surrealism (1992, tr. 2005). Adonis has frequently provoked controversy as a critic of Arab society, an exponent of secular democracy, and a foe of both materialism and organized religion.

Adonis

(ədō`nĭs, ədŏn`ĭs), in Greek mythology, beautiful youth beloved by AphroditeAphrodite
, in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of fertility, love, and beauty. Homer designated her the child of Zeus and Dione. Hesiod's account of her birth is more popular: she supposedly rose from the foam of the sea where Uranus' genitals had fallen after he had been
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 and PersephonePersephone
or Proserpine
, in Greek and Roman religion and mythology, goddess of fertility and queen of the underworld. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. When she was still a beautiful maiden, Pluto seized her and held her captive in his underworld.
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. He was born of the incestuous union of Myrrha (or Smyrna) and Cinyras, king of Cyprus. Aphrodite left Adonis in the care of Persephone, who raised him and made him her lover. Aphrodite later demanded the youth for herself, but Persephone was unwilling to relinquish him. When Adonis was gored to death by a boar, both Persephone and Aphrodite claimed him. Zeus settled the dispute by arranging for Adonis to spend half the year (the summer months) above the ground with Aphrodite and the other half in the underworld with Persephone. Adonis' death and resurrection, symbolic of the yearly cycle of vegetation, were widely celebrated in ancient Greece in the midsummer festival Adonia. The worship of Adonis corresponds to the cults of the Phrygian AttisAttis
or Atys
, in Phrygian religion, vegetation god. When Nana ate the fruit of the almond tree, which had been generated by the blood of either Agdistis or of Cybele, she conceived Attis.
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 and the Babylonian TammuzTammuz
, ancient nature deity worshiped in Babylonia. A god of agriculture and flocks, he personified the creative powers of spring. He was loved by the fertility goddess Ishtar, who, according to one legend, was so grief-stricken at his death that she contrived to enter the
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.

Bibliography

See Sir J. G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (1907, new ed. 1961).

Adonis

((2101) Adonis) A member of the Apollo group of asteroids. Discovered in 1936 by Eug*‘ene Joseph Delporte, when it passed 0.015 AU from the Earth, it was not observed again until it was rediscovered in 1977 by Chartles T. Kowal. Its perihelion distance is 0.51 AU and it has a diameter of about 1 km. See Table 3, backmatter.

Adonis

 

an asteroid discovered in 1936 by the Belgian astronomer E. Delport. At its perihelion, its distance from the sun is 0.435 astronomical units and at its aphelion, 3.50 astronomical units. It may approach within 2 million km of the earth.


Adonis

 

a genus of annual or perennial herbaceous plants of the family Ranunculaceae. The leaves are highly incised, and the flowers solitary and large. There are about 20 species, which grow wild in Central and Southern Europe, Siberia, and Eastern Asia. About 15 species are found in the USSR. Spring adonis (Adonis vernalis), the most widespread species, is a perennial with a short rhizome and large yellow flowers; it grows in the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the European USSR, Siberia, and Western Europe. Since the herbage contains cardiac glycosides, it is used in medicine, as are some other species of adonis (A. amurensis, A. turkestanicus, and so on). There are weeds (for example, the annual species A. flammeus). A. vernalis, propagated by seeds and rhizomes, is cultivated in the USSR. An aqueous infusion of the herbage and flowers of A. vernalis (adoniside) is used on a doctor’s prescription for chronic cardiac insufficiency and cardiovascular neuroses. Adonis must not be used when there are sharp organic changes in the heart and blood vessels.

REFERENCE

Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.

Adonis

[ə′dän·əs]
(astronomy)
An asteroid with an orbital eccentricity of 0.779 and a perihelion well inside the orbit of Venus that passed about 1 × 106 miles (1.6 × 106 kilometers) from earth in 1936.

Adonis

beautiful youth. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 11]

Adonis

beautiful youth beloved by Venus, killed by a boar. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 10]

Adonis

vegetation god, reborn each spring. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 10]

Adonis

killed by a boar, he was changed into an anemone by Venus. [Gk. Lit.: Metamorphoses]

Adonis

Greek myth a handsome youth loved by Aphrodite. Killed by a wild boar, he was believed to spend part of the year in the underworld and part on earth, symbolizing the vegetative cycle