Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Atys
ATYS, ATTIS, or ATTES, in the Phrygian and Lydian Mythology, a youth beloved for his beauty by the goddess Rhea, there called Agdistis. Like Adonis, he was a per sonification of the changes in nature, from the beauty of spring and summer to the severity and darkness of winter. The story, as told at Pessinus, the centre of the worship of the goddess, was that she had born to Zeus a being both male and female ; that the gods, displeased, had transformed this being into a tree, from the fruit of which the daughter of the river-god Sangarius bore a boy, who grew up among herdsmen marvellous in his beauty, so as to win the love of Agdistis. This was Atys, and he was about to be married to the king s daughter of Pessinus, when the god dess appeared among the guests, terrified them, and caused Atys to run to the woods, where he maimed himself and was transformed into a pine tree ; from his blood sprang violets. Agdistis begged Zeus to restore him, but he could only assure her that the youth would never decay, and that his hair would always grow. She conveyed the pine to her cave at Pessinus, and gave herself up to grief.