♦ Bonn, Akademisches Kunstmuseum 2661: Attic red-figure pelike with Erysichthon and Demeter (?) or a Dryad (?)
♠ Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 226 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, p. 112, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967
♠ Euripides, Helen 1301-45
Once with swift foot the mountain mother of the gods rushed through the wooded glen, and the river’s streams and the deep-thundering sea wave, yearning for her lost daughter, whose name may not be spoken. The loudly rattling castanets cried out a shrill sound, 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. Continue reading Greek Text
♠ Melanippides 764 PMG – Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 395 ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.
Melanippides says that Demeter and the Mother of the gods are one, and Telestes says the same among the children of Zeus and that Rhea… (Transl. E. Bianchelli)
♠ Plato, Meno 81b = Pindar fr 133 SM – Pindarus 2, p. 111, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1975.
As to their words, they are these: mark now, if you judge them to be true. They say that the soul of man is immortal, and at one time comes to an end, which is called dying, and at another is born again, but never perishes. Consequently one ought to live all one’s life in the utmost holiness.
“For from whomsoever Persephone shall accept requital for ancient wrong, the souls of these she restores in the ninth year to the upper sun again; from them arise” “glorious kings and men of splendid might and surpassing wisdom, and for all remaining time are they called holy heroes amongst mankind.”
Seeing then that the soul is immortal and has been born many times, and has beheld all things both in this world and in the nether realms, she has acquired knowledge of all and everything; so that it is no wonder that she should be able to recollect all that she knew before about virtue and other things. Greek Text
♠ Homeric Hymn to Demeter 2.473-79
Then she went, and to the kings who deal justice, Triptolemus and Diocles, the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus and Polyxeinus and Diocles also, —awful mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice. Greek Text
♠ Pausanias 1.14.2-3
It is said, then, that when Demeter came to Argos she was received by Pelasgus into his home, and that Chrysanthis, knowing about the rape of the Maid, related the story to her. Afterwards Trochilus, the priest of the mysteries, fled, they say, from Argos because of the enmity of Agenor, came to Attica and married a woman of Eleusis, by whom he had two children, Eubuleus and Triptolemus. That is the account given by the Argives. But the Athenians and those who with them. . . know that Triptolemus, son of Celeus, was the first to sow seed for cultivation. Some extant verses of Musaeus, if indeed they are to be included among his works, say that Triptolemus was the son of Oceanus and Earth; while those ascribed to Orpheus （though in my opinion the received authorship is again incorrect） say that Eubuleus and Triptolemus were sons of Dysaules, and that because they gave Demeter information about her daughter the sowing of seed was her reward to them. But Choerilus, an Athenian, who wrote a play called Alope, says that Cercyon and Triptolemus were brothers, that their mother was the daughter of Amphictyon, while the father of Triptolemus was Rarus, of Cercyon, Poseidon. Greek 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
♠ Servius, Scholia to Virgil, Georgics 1.19 – Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Bucolica et Georgica Commentarii, p. 136, ed. G. Thilo. Leipzig 1887.
♠ Servius, Scholia to Virgil, Georgics 1.163 – Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Bucolica et Georgica Commentarii, pp. 169-70, ed. G. Thilo. Leipzig 1887.
♠ Pausanias 7.18.2-3
The historians of ancient Patrae say that it was an aboriginal, Eumelus, who first settled in the land, and that he was king over but a few subjects. But when Triptolemus came from Attica, he received from him cultivated corn, and, learning how to found a city, named it Aroe from the tilling of the soil. It is said that Triptolemus once fell asleep, and that then Antheias, the son of Eumelus, yoked the dragons to the car of Triptolemus and tried to sow the seed himself. But Antheias fell off the car and was killed, and so Triptolemus and Eumelus together founded a city, and called it Antheia after the son of Eumelus. Greek Text
♠ Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.645-61
They bore her through the air,
in her light car betwixt the earth and skies,
to the Tritonian citadel, and to
Triptolemus, to whom she furnished seed,
that he might scatter it in wasted lands,
and in the fallow fields; which, after long
neglect, again were given to the plow.
“After he had traveled through uncharted skies,
over wide Europe and vast Asian lands,
he lit upon the coast of Scythia, where
a king called Lyncus reigned. And there, at once
he sought the palace of that king, who said;
‘Whence come you, stranger, wherefore in this land?
Come, tell to me your nation and your name.’
“And after he was questioned thus, he said,
‘I came from far-famed Athens and they call
my name Triptolemus. I neither came
by ship through waves, nor over the dry land;
for me the yielding atmosphere makes way.—
I bear the gifts of Ceres to your land,
which scattered over your wide realm may yield
an ample harvest of nutritious food.’
“The envious Lyncus, wishing to appear
the gracious author of all benefits,
received the unsuspecting youth with smiles;
but when he fell into a heavy sleep
that savage king attacked him with a sword—
but while attempting to transfix his guest,
the goddess Ceres changed him to a lynx:—
and once again she sent her favoured youth
to drive her sacred dragons through the clouds. Latin Text
♠ Hyginus, Fabulae 259
Lyncus was a king of Sicily who, after receiving as a guest Triptolemus, who had been sent by Ceres to teach men about wheat, thought of killing him so that such great glory would pass on to him. For this reason Ceres, being angry, turned him into a lynx of various colors, as he himself had been of various minds. (Transl. E Bianchelli) Latin Text
♠ Plato, Apology 41a
after leaving behind these who claim to be judges, shall find those who are really judges who are said to sit in judgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus and Triptolemus, and all the other demigods who were just men in their lives, would the change of habitation be undesirable? Or again, what would any of you give to meet with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? I am willing to die many times over, if these things are true. Greek Text
Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, May 2018.
Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, August 2020
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