In Greek mythology, Myrina (Ancient Greek: Μύρινα, romanized: Múrina) or perhaps more correctly Myrtea[a] (Ancient Greek: Μυρτέα, romanized: Murtéa, lit. 'myrtle') is a minor mythological figure connected to myrtle and Aphrodite. Her story is attested in the works of two authors; Maurus Servius Honoratus, a Latin grammarian of the early fifth century AD, and the anonymous second Vatican Mythographer, whose work survives in a single manuscript that was found in 1401.
Myrina was an exceedingly beautiful maiden who was kidnapped by robbers and held in a cave while they committed their robberies, but she managed to escape and return to her home. Since she credited the gods for her safety and freedom, she decided to devote herself to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and became her priestess. But her previous betrothed came to the temple and took her anyway, so she killed him. She was then changed into a myrtle shrub. Because she had been such a loyal priestess, Aphrodite granted pleasant aroma to the myrtle and made it her sacred plant, explaining the myrtle's connection to Aphrodite.
Servius, spelling her name as Myrene, adds that as a priestess, one day she recognised one of her captors among the crowd, and dragged him to the middle of the crowd. The man confessed and gave out the names of his associates. A young man, who had previously loved her, took up the task of hunting down the robbers. When he returned successful, he asked for a reward, and the people of the town allowed him to take Myrina to wife, in spite of her being a priestess. But Aphrodite was displeased to see her priestess break her vows, so she killed him and turned Myrina into myrtle.
The myrtle was one of the most commons symbols and sacred plants connected to Aphrodite due to its link with her myths and stories, while 'Myrtia' (meaning "she of the myrtle") was one of Aphrodite's many cult titles. In ancient Greece dreams about myrtle garlands were seen as auspicious for women due to the myrtle's connection to Aphrodite.
- Pepin 2008, p. 338.
- Vatican Mythographer II 41
- Servius, On Virgil's Aeneid 3.23
- Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg), “Myrtle”, in Brill's New Pauly. Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 09 January 2023
- Forbes Irving 1990, p. 279.
- Cyrino 2010, p. 63.
- Clark 2015, p. 383.
- Artemidorus, Oneirocritica I.77
- Artemidorus Daldianus (1805). Reiske, Johann Jakob; Reiff, Johann Gottfried; Rigault, Nicolas (eds.). Oneirocritica. Leipzig: Crusius.
- Clark, Nora (April 1, 2015). Aphrodite and Venus in Myth and Mimesis. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-7127-3.
- Cyrino, Monica S (2010). Aphrodite. Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World. New York and London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-77523-6.
- Forbes Irving, Paul M. C. (1990). Metamorphosis in Greek Myths. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-814730-9.
- Maurus Servius Honoratus, In Vergilii carmina comentarii. Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii; recensuerunt Georgius Thilo et Hermannus Hagen. Georgius Thilo. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1881. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pepin, Ronald E. (2008). The Vatican Mythographers. New York City: Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-2892-8.
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