The Children of Kronos: Demeter (page 66)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Pausanias 1.38.3

When the Eleusinians fought with the Athenians, Erechtheus, king of the Athenians, was killed, as was also Immaradus, son of Eumolpus. These were the terms on which they concluded the war: the Eleusinians were to have in dependent control of the mysteries, but in all things else were to be subject to the Athenians. The ministers of the Two Goddesses were Eumolpus and the daughters of Celeus, whom Pamphos and Homer agree in naming Diogenia, Pammerope, and the third Saesara. Eumolpus was survived by Ceryx, the younger of his sons whom the Ceryces themselves say was a son of Aglaurus, daughter of Cecrops, and of Hermes, not of Eumolpus. Greek Text

Pausanias 1.39.1

There is another road from Eleusis, which leads to Megara. As you go along this road you come to a well called Anthium (Flowery Well). Pamphos in his poems describes how Demeter in the likeness of an old woman sat at this well after the rape of her daughter, how the daughters of Celeus thence took her as an Argive woman to their mother, and how Metaneira thereupon entrusted to her the rearing of her son. Greek Text

Pausanias 9.31.9

The flower narcissus grew, in my opinion, before this, if we are to judge by the verses of Pamphos. This poet was born many years before Narcissus the Thespian, and he says that the Maid, the daughter of Demeter, was carried off when she was playing and gathering flowers, and that the flowers by which she was deceived into being carried off were not violets, but the narcissus. Greek text

Panyasis fr 13 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, pp. 178-79, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Bakchylides fr 47 SM – Bacchylidis Carmina cum fragmentis, p. 110, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1970.

Some say that Persephone was carried off from Sicily, but Bakchylides says that she was abducted from Krete. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

♠ Phanodemos 325F27

ApB 1.5.1 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Pluto fell in love with Persephone and with the help of Zeus carried her off secretly. But Demeter went about seeking her all over the earth with torches by night and day, and learning from the people of Hermion that Pluto had carried her off, she was wroth with the gods and quitted heaven, and came in the likeness of a woman to Eleusis. And first she sat down on the rock which has been named Laughless after her, beside what is called the Well of the Fair Dances; thereupon she made her way to Celeus, who at that time reigned over the Eleusinians. Some women were in the house, and when they bade her sit down beside them, a certain old crone, Iambe, joked the goddess and made her smile. For that reason they say that the women break jests at the Thesmophoria.

But Metanira, wife of Celeus, had a child and Demeter received it to nurse, and wishing to make it immortal she set the babe of nights on the fire and stripped off its mortal flesh. But as Demophon — for that was the child’s name— grew marvelously by day, Praxithea watched, and discovering him buried in the fire she cried out; wherefore the babe was consumed by the fire and the goddess revealed herself. Greek Text

VM II 97– Vatican Mythographers – Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti, ed. G. H. Bode. Vol. 1, p. 107. Celle 1834

The Immortality of her Foster Son

Ceres, wanting to make her foster son immortal, nourished him with divine milk during the day and secretly covered him with fire at night. He was thus growing beyond the way mortals usually did. Amazed at this, his father spied on her one night, and as Ceres was covering the boy with fire, he shouted. Angered, Ceres killed Eleusius and gave eternal favor to her foster son Triptolemus. In fact she handed over to him grains to propagate and a chariot drawn by serpents. Led by the dragons, he sowed the entire earth with grains. (Transl. E. Bianchelli) Latin Text

fr 49 Kern – Fragments of the Orphic writers cited according to O. Kern. Orphicorum Fragmenta, pp. 119-25. Berlin 1922.

Greek Text

fr 51 Kern – Fragments of the Orphic writers cited according to O. Kern. Orphicorum Fragmenta, pp. 25-26. Berlin 1922.

Greek Text

Euripides, Helen 1310-18

when they, swift-footed as whirlwinds, followed the goddess on her chariot yoked to wild creatures, after the girl that was snatched away from the circling chorus of maidens—here Artemis with her bow, and there the grim-eyed goddess, in full armor, with her spear. But Zeus, who sees clearly from his throne in heaven, brought to pass another destiny. Greek Text

♠ Claudian, De Raptu Proserpinae 2.204-31 – Claudii Claudiani Carmina, ed J. B. Hall. Lepzig 1981.

Diodoros Siculus 5.3.1-4

Again, the fact that the Rape of Corê took place in Sicily is, men say, proof most evident that the goddesses made this island their favourite retreat because it was cherished by them before all others. And the Rape of Corê, the myth relates, took place in the meadows in the territory of Enna. The spot lies near the city, a place of striking beauty for its violets and every other kind of flower and worthy of the goddess. And the story is told that, because of the sweet odour of the flowers growing there, trained hunting dogs are unable to hold the trail, because their natural sense of smell is balked. And the meadow we have mentioned is level in the centre and well watered throughout, but on its periphery it rises high and falls off with precipitous cliffs on every side. And it is conceived of as lying in the very centre of the island, which is the reason why certain writers call it the navel of Sicily. Near to it also are sacred groves, surrounded by marshy flats, and a huge grotto which contains a chasm which leads down into the earth and opens to the north, and through it, the myth relates, Pluton, coming out with his chariot, effected the Rape of Corê. And the violets, we are told, and the rest of the flowers which supply the sweet odour continue to bloom, to one’s amazement, throughout the entire year, and so the whole aspect of the place is one of flowers and delight.

And both Athena and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Corê and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other, and each one of them received for her portion a territory, Athena receiving hers in the region of Himera, where the Nymphs, to please Athena, caused the springs of warm water to gush forth on the occasion of the visit of Heracles to the island, and the natives consecrated a city to her and a plot of ground which to this day is called Athena’s. Greek Text

Kallimachus, Hymn to Demeter 6.6-10 – Callimachus 2, p. 35, ed. R. Pfeiffer. Oxford 1949-53

Ovid, Fasti 4.502-60

Thus she came to thy havens, land of Attica. There for the first time she sat her down most rueful on a cold stone: that stone even now the Cecropids call the Sorrowful. For many days she tarried motionless under the open sky, patiently enduring the moonlight and the rain. Not a place but has its own peculiar destiny: what now is named the Eleusis of Ceres was then the plot of land of aged Celeus. He carried home acorns and blackberries, knocked from bramble bushes, and dry wood to feed the blazing hearth. A little daughter drove two nanny-goats back from the mountain, and an infant son was sick in his cradle. “Mother,” said the maid – the goddess was touched by the name of mother – “what does thou all alone in solitary places?” The old man, too, halted, despite the load he bore, and prayed that she would pass beneath the roof of his poor cottage. She refused. She had disguised herself as an old dame and covered her hair wit ha cap. When he pressed her, she answered thus: “Be happy! may a parent’s joy be thine for ever! My daughter has been taken from me. Alas! how much betters is thy lot than mine!” She spoke, and like a tear (for gods can never weep) a crystal drop fell on her bosom warm. They wept with her, those tender hearts, the old man and the maid; and these were the words of the worthy old man: “So may the ravished daughter, whose loss thou weepest, be restored safe to thee, as thou shalt arise, nor scorn the shelter of my humble hut.” The goddess answered him. “Lead on; thou hast found the way to force me”; and she rose from the stone and followed the old man. As he led her and she followed, he told her how his son was sick and sleepless, kept wakeful by his ills. As she was about to pass within the lowly dwelling, she plucked a smooth, a slumberous poppy that grew on the waste ground; and as she plucked, ‘tis said she tasted it forgetfully, and so unwitting stayed her long hunger. Hence, because she broke her fast at nightfall, the initiates time their meal by the appearance of the stars. When she crossed the threshold, the saw the household plunged in grief; all hope of saving the child was gone. The goddess greeted the mother (her name was Metanira) and deigned to put her lips to the child’s lips. His pallor fled, and strength of a sudden was visibly imparted to his frame; such vigour flowed from lips divine. There was joy in the whole household, that is, in mother, father, and daughter; for they three were the whole household. Anon they set out a repast – curds liquefied in milk, and apples, and golden honey in the comb. Kind Ceres abstained, and gave the child poppies to drink in warm milk to make him sleep. It was midnight, and there reigned the silence of peaceful sleep; the goddess took up Triptolemus in her lap, and thrice she stroked him with her hand, and spoke three spells, spells not to be rehearsed by mortal tongue, and on the hearth she buried the boy’s body in live embers, that he fire might purge away the burden of humanity. His fond-foolish mother awoke from sleep and distractedly cried out, “What doest thou?” and she snatched his body from the fire. To her the goddess said: “Meaning no wrong, thou hast done grievous wrong: my bounty has been baffled by a mother’s fear. That boys of yours will indeed by mortal, but he will be the first to plough and sow and reap a guerdon from the turned-up soil. Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 147

TRIPTOLEMUS: When Ceres was hunting for her daughter, she came to King Eleusinus, whose wife Cothonea had borne the boy Triptolemus, and pretended she was a wet nurse. The queen gladly took her as nurse for her son. Since Ceres wanted to make her charge immortal, she fed him by day with divine milk, but by night secretly hid him in the fire. In this way he grew more than mortals are wont to grow, and so, when the parents wondered at it, they watched her. When Ceres was about to put him in the fire, the father was terrified. In her anger, she struck down Eleusinus, but on Triptolemus, her foster-son, she conferred everlasting honour, for she gave him her chariot yoked with Serpents to spread the cultivation of grain. Riding in it he sowed grain throughout the earth. When he returned, Celeus bade him be killed for his benefactions, but when this was known, by Ceres’ order he gave the kingdom to Triptolemus, who called it Eleusis from his father’s name. He also established sacred rites in honour of Ceres, which hare called in Greek Thesmophoria. Latin Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.533-50

he spoke; but Ceres was no less resolved
to lead her daughter thence.

“Not so the Fates
permit.—The virgin, thoughtless while she strayed
among the cultivated Stygian fields,
had broken fast. While there she plucked the fruit
by bending a pomegranate tree, and plucked,
and chewed seven grains, picked from the pallid rind;
and none had seen except Ascalaphus—
him Orphne, famed of all Avernian Nymphs,
had brought to birth in some infernal cave,
days long ago, from Acheron‘s embrace—
he saw it, and with cruel lips debarred
young Proserpine’s return. Heaving a sigh,
the Queen of Erebus, indignant changed
that witness to an evil bird: she turned
his head, with sprinkled Phlegethonian lymph,
into a beak, and feathers, and great eyes;
his head grew larger and his shape, deformed,
was cased in tawny wings; his lengthened nails
bent inward;—and his sluggish arms
as wings can hardly move. So he became
the vilest bird; a messenger of grief;
the lazy owl; sad omen to mankind. Latin Text

Apollodoros 1.5.3

But when Zeus ordered Pluto to send up the Maid, Pluto gave her a seed of a pomegranate to eat, in order that she might not tarry long with her mother. Not foreseeing the consequence, she swallowed it; and because Ascalaphus, son of Acheron and Gorgyra, bore witness against her, Demeter laid a heavy rock on him in Hades. But Persephone was compelled to remain a third of every year with Pluto and the rest of the time with the gods. Greek Text

Apollodoros 2.5.12

And he [Hercules]rolled away also the stone of Ascalaphus. And wishing to provide the souls with blood, he slaughtered one of the kine of Hades. But Menoetes, son of Ceuthonymus, who tended the king, challenged Hercules to wrestle, and, being seized round the middle, had his ribs broken; howbeit, he was let off at the request of Persephone. When Hercules asked Pluto for Cerberus, Pluto ordered him to take the animal provided he mastered him without the use of the weapons which he carried. Hercules found him at the gates of Acheron, and, cased in his cuirass and covered by the lion’s skin, he flung his arms round the head of the brute, and though the dragon in its tail bit him, he never relaxed his grip and pressure till it yielded. So he carried it off and ascended through Troezen. But Demeter turned Ascalaphus into a short-eared owl, and Hercules, after showing Cerberus to Eurystheus, carried him back to Hades. Greek Text

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, August 2020

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