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Malidthu is a Canaanite Goddess of love, fertility, childbirth, and the fragrant myrrh-tree. She is the mother of Kinnur or Kinaru, the musician God of the Phoenicians, Who is to be equated with 'Adon, "the Lord", a river God and variant of the young God of the grain, whose death and resurrection parallel the seasons and the life-cycle of the crops. He was called Adonis by the Greeks.

Malidthu had Her most famous shrine at the spring of Aphek, (the modern Afka), whose name, appropriately, means "Spring". There the river named for Her son Adonis (now the Nahr Ibrahim) has its beginnings in the side of a cliff, dramatically bursting forth from a huge cave in a torrent, and flowing in a series of waterfalls into a steep and heavily forested gorge. (Oh my gawd is it gorgeous—go Google Image "Adonis River" and "Nahr Ibrahim" and see if you don't agree!)

At Her nearby shrine was a sacred lake, into which a meteorite (or "fire") had once fallen; this was said to renew the youthful beauty of the Goddess. This meteorite was then set up in Her temple there as Her image. Depending on the source, this temple was said to be dedicated to either Malidthu, Ashtart, or the Ba'alat Gubla, the Lady of Byblos, a title of Ashtart in Her role as supreme Deity of Gubla or Byblos, a city not far from Aphek.

It was also said that the water of this lake would support any weight put on it (whatever that means).

The Greek version of the legend calls Malidthu Myrrha, and Adonis Her son is the result of an incestuous relationship with Her own father Cinyras, for whom Aphrodite had kindled an unnatural lust in Myrrha in response to a slight. In shame Myrrha was transformed into a tree that shed fragrant tears; and when She gave birth the trunk split open to reveal the most beautiful boy ever, Adonis. His beauty was hardly surprising, as both Myrrha and Cinyras were famous for their own loveliness; Cinyras, in fact, having been courted by Aphrodite once. The tree is, of course, the myrrh tree, whose resin is used as incense. Adonis was so beautiful (and I'll bet He smelled fabulous too) that both Aphrodite and Persephone desired Him and a compromise had to be made so that He spent part of the year with each. But, alas, one day while out hunting He was killed by a wild boar, and Aphrodite was inconsolable.

His association with Aphrodite and Persephone obviously plays on the themes of life and death in His legend; however on seeing pictures of His river and the cave it spills from, I'm inclined to think that additionally, while the loveliness of its location connects it with Aphrodite, the cave, always an entrance to the Underworld in myth, connects it to Queen Persephone and Her realm.

The tangled strands of the legends may point to an ancient practice of sacred marriage, in which the king or lord ("Adon", which is after all a title rather than a genuine name) was ritually wed to the great Goddess Ashtart. Each successive king would perform the same ritual, which would account for the confusion between the generations and the references to incest—Aphrodite (equated by the Greeks with Astarte, their name for Ashtart) woos both father and son; and the name of Cinyras is the same as that of Malidthu's son, Kinaru, for both mean "lyre". The temple to Malidthu at Aphek was by later writers said to belong to Astarte, and most probably Malidthu is to be taken as a form of that great Goddess, who gives birth to beautiful offspring.

Also called: Mldth or Mr in the Ugarit texts; Mulitts, Mu Allidta, Mirru; among the Greeks She could be Mylitta, Melita, Molis, Myrrha, or Syyrna, another name for the myrrh-tree