Book Notes

Book 10: Myrrha Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 10: Myrrha

Cinyras, Paphos' son, had a daughter named Myrrha. Cinyras didn't know it, but his daughter was in love with him. She fought her passion for him, but it got the better of her. Knowing that her crime was inexcusable, she tried to hang herself, but her nurse caught her. After the nurse made promises to help the girl with whatever her trouble was, Myrrha admitted her lust for her father, and shocked though the nurse was, she kept her promise. When Myrrha's mother was gone to worship Ceres, the nurse told Cinyras that she knew of a girl who loved him truly. They arranged a meeting between the two and Myrrha went to her father. After several nights of indulging in this sin in complete darkness, Cinyras brought a lamp so that he could see his love. When he recognized his daughter, he chased her with his sword. She fled. Nine months later, nearing the end of her pregnancy, Myrrha prayed for death for her sins. She was made a myrrh tree, and her tears were the fragrant sap exuded from the tree. When her child came to term, Ilithyia, the goddess of childbirth, split the bark of the myrrh tree and delivered the baby boy. He was raised by the Naiads.

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