I assume my readers, if any, are bibliophiles; lovers of books. If so, I am sure you had this experience. You end up reading a book that is badly written and has a lame ending. In order to save someone else from getting sucked into this mess, you toss it into the garbage rather recycling or donating it to the library. Or it ends up being a piece of propaganda full of lies and half truths. Or it is full of illogic and bad science. I read one of these books, recently; Walker 1983. I would have tossed it, but I was on a five hour flight. In between the waves of nausea and disgust there were a few interesting if odd insights on Greek mythology. This is the first in a series of blogs investigating these possible gems in the rubbish.
"Adonis too was castrated: gored in the groin by Aphrodite's boar-masked priest. His severed phallus became his son the ithyphallic god Priapus...Priapus carried a pruning knife in token of (Adonis') necessary castration before new life could appear on earth. Castrating the god was likened to reaping the grain which Adonis personified. His rebirth was a sprouting from the womb of the Earth."
So, if I can translate this a bit. The “boar-masked priest” is usually described as Aphrodite’s jealous lover, the god of War; Ares (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 42. 1) Only one source describes Priapus the god of lust, as the son of Adonis. Occasionally he carries a sickle, (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.) The author goes on to suggest that other heroes are sacrificial fertility figures, like Ancaeus of Arcadia, and the Trojan Prince Anchises.
Ovid, in Metamorphosis 8.391 reports that during the Calydonian boar hunt;
“Ancaeus wielding his war-axe, and rushing madly to his fate, exclaimed, “Witness it! See the weapons of a man excel a woman's! Ho, make way for my achievement! Let Diana shield the brute! Despite her utmost effort my right hand shall slaughter him!” So mighty in his boast he puffed himself; and, lifting with both hands his double-edged axe, he stood erect, on tiptoe fiercely bold. The savage boar caught him, and ripped his tusks through his groin, a spot where death is sure.—Ancaeus fell; and his torn entrails and his crimson blood stained the fair verdure of the spot with death.”
In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite the Trojan Prince Anchises fears a fate similar to Adonis. Awakening with the goddess in his bed, says to his lover, “ Yet by Zeus who holds the aegis I beseech you, leave me not to lead a palsied life among men, but have pity on me; for he who lies with a deathless goddess is no hale man afterwards.”
Apollonius Rhodius ARGONAUTICA 2.815 “And here his destined fate smote Idmon, son of Abas, skilled in soothsaying; but not at all did his soothsaying save him, for necessity drew him on to death. For in the mead of the reedy river there lay, cooling his flanks and huge belly in the mud, a white-tusked boar, a deadly monster, whom even the nymphs of the marsh dreaded, and no man knew it; but all alone he was feeding in the wide fell. But the son of Abas was passing along the raised banks of the muddy river, and the boar from some unseen lair leapt out of the reed-bed, and charging gashed his thigh.”
Apollodorus. The Library 1.9.12 “Phylacus marveled, and perceiving that he was an excellent soothsayer, he released him and invited him to say how his son Iphiclus might get children…And having sacrificed two bulls and cut them in pieces he summoned the birds; and when a vulture came, he learned from it that once, when Phylacus was gelding rams, he laid down the knife, still bloody, beside Iphiclus, and that when the child was frightened and ran away.”
Hesiod Theogony 176 “And Heaven (Uranus) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Earth spreading himself full upon her. Then the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members”
Aaron Atsma observes; “There is also a vase painting depicting Khrysaor's son Geryon holding a shield emblazoned with the emblem of a winged boar--a likely representation of Khrysaor considering his boar-tusked, winged mother Medusa” Various sources explain the name Chrysaor as meaning “golden aor”, “golden sword”, “golden falchion” or “golden sickle”
So in summary; Adonis castrated by the tusks of an apparent boar. A boar “ripped his tusks through (Ancaeus’) groin.” Prince Anchises fears a similar fate. “…the boar from some unseen lair leapt out of the reed-bed, and charging gashed (Idmon’s) thigh.” Iphiclus was psychologically castrated by watching his father wield a knife while castrating rams. Uranus was castrated by a sickle. And finally Chrysaor, the Golden Sickle was born when Perseus cut off his boarish mother’s head with a sickle.
What that all means, I don’t know.