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Adonis, in Greek mythology, is a central figure in various mystery religions. In 1966, Wahib Atallah wrote that the "cult of Adonis belonged to women", and further asserted "the cult of dying Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around Sappho on Lesbos, about 600 BC, as a fragment of Sappho reveals."
There has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning the multiple roles of Adonis, if any, and his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. Modern scholarship sometimes describes him as an annually renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype.