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Phoenician myth of dying and rising god (1)

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03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

6th century CE
Byzantine Empire
Byzantine philosophers and scholars

Damascius, Vita Isidori 302:
Asclepius of Berytus, he says, is neither a Greek nor an Egyptian but a native Phoenician. For to Sadykos sons were born, who are explained as Dioscouri and Kabeiri. Then as the eighth child, Esmounos was born [to him]; and Esmounos is interpreted as Asclepius. He was of very good appearance, a young man of admirable looks, and therefore became, according to the myth, the darling of Astronoe, a Phoenician goddess, the mother of the gods. He used to go hunting in these valleys. It then once happened that he discovered the goddess pursuing him. He fled, but when he saw that she continued to chase him and was just about to seize him, he cut off his own genitals with an axe. Greatly distressed at what had happened, she called Paian and rekindled [the life of] the young man by means of life-bringing heat and made him a god. The Phoenicians call him Esmounos because of the warmth of life. Others, again, interpret Esmounos as “the eighth”, explaining that he was the eighth child of Sadykos.

Source (list of abbreviations)
Damascius, Vita Isidori 302


Mettinger 2001, 155-156Mettinger, T. Riddle of Resurrection. "Dying and Rising Gods" in the Ancient Near East. Coniectanea Biblica Old Testament Series 50. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International 2001.

Amar Annus

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