But when Greek deities were introduced into Rome on the advice of the Sibylline books (in 495 B.C., on the occasion of a severe drought), Demeter, the Greek goddess of seed and harvest, whose worship was already common in Sicily and Lower Italy, usurped the place of Ceres in Rome, or rather, to Ceres were added the religious rites which the Greeks paid to Demeter, and the mythological incidents which originated with her.
Of the river Selinus, lie the ruins of a temple of Demeter, with a propylon leading to the sacred enclosure: the temple itself has a cella with a narrow door and without columns.
DEMETER, in Greek mythology, daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus, goddess of agriculture and civilized life.
Wandering over the earth in search of her daughter, Demeter learns from Helios the truth about her disappearance.
Demeter then returns to Olympus, but before her final departure from earth, in token of her gratitude, she instructs the rulers of Eleusis in the art of agriculture and in the solemnities and rites whereby she desires in future to be honoured.
At Eleusis, Demeter was venerated as the introducer of all the blessings which agriculture brings in its train - fixed dwelling-places, civil order, marriage and a peaceful life; hence her name Thesmophoros, " the bringer of law and order," and the festival Thesmophoria.
At Eleusis also, Triptolemus, the son of Celeus, who was said to have invented the plough and to have been sent by Demeter round the world to diffuse the knowledge of agriculture, had a temple and threshing-floor.
In the agrarian legends of Iasion and Erysichthon, Demeter also plays an important part.
It seems to point to the supersession of a primitive local Cretan divinity by Demeter, and the adoption of agriculture by the inhabitants, bringing wealth in its train in the form of the fruits of the earth, both vegetable and mineral.
Some scholars, identifying Iasion with Jason, regard Thessaly as the original home of the legend, and the union with Demeter as the iEpen 'yaµos of mother earth with a health god.
Erysichthon (" tearer up of the earth "), son of Triopas or Myrmidon, having cut down the trees in a grove sacred to the goddess, was punished by her with terrible hunger (Callimachus, Hymn to Demeter; Ovid, Metam.
At Delos), from 'lovAos, " corn-sheaf," has been regarded as identifying the goddess with the sheaf, and as proving that the cult of Demeter originated in the worship of the corn-mother or corn-spirit, the last sheaf having a more or less divine character for the primitive husbandman.
The influence of Demeter, however, was not limited to corn, but extended to vegetation generally and all the fruits of the earth, with the curious exception of the bean, the use of which was forbidden at Eleusis, and for the protection of which a special patron was invented.
In this wider sense Demeter is akin to Ge, with whom she has several epithets in common, and is sometimes identified with Rhea-Cybele; thus Pindar speaks of Demeter xaXKoKparos (" brass-rattling "), an epithet obviously more suitable to the Asiatic than to the Greek earth-goddess.
According to the Thelpusan story, Demeter, during her wanderings in search of Persephone, changed herself into a mare to avoid the persecution of Poseidon.
Demeter, at first enraged, afterwards calmed down, and washed herself in the river Ladon by way of purification.
Demeter, clad in black (hence µEXaiva) in token of mourning for her daughter and wrath with Poseidon, retired into a cave.
The cave, still called Mavrospelya ("black cave"), was ever afterwards regarded as sacred to Demeter, and in'it, according to information given to Pausanias, there had been set up an image of the goddess, a female form seated on a rock, but with a horse's head and mane, to which were attached snakes and other wild animals.
Both pampa and iptvis, according to Farnell, are epithets of Demeter as an earth-goddess of the under-world.
According to Farnell, the meaning of the epithet is to be looked for in the original conception of Erinys, which was that of an earth-goddess akin to Ge, thus naturally associated with Demeter, rather than that of a wrathful avenging deity.
Various interpretations have been given of the horse-headed form of the Black Demeter: (I) that the horse was one of the forms of the corn-spirit in ancient Greece; (2) that it was an animal " devoted " to the chthonian goddess; (3) that it is totemistic; (4) that the form was adopted from Poseidon Hippios, who is frequently associated with the earth-goddess and is said to have received the name Hippios first at Thelpusa, in order that Demeter might figure as the mother of Areion (for a discussion of the whole subject see Farnell, Cults, iii.
The union of Poseidon and Demeter is thus explained by Mannhardt.
In any case the association of Poseidon, representing the fertilizing element of moisture, with Demeter, who causes the plants and seeds to grow, is quite natural, and seems to have been widespread.
Chloeia or Chloia, the festival of the corn beginning to sprout, held at Eleusis in the early spring (Anthesterion) in honour of Demeter Chloe, " the green," the goddess of growing vegetation.
It is considered probable that the festival was originally held in honour of Athena, but that the growing importance of the Eleusinia caused it to be attached to Demeter and Kore.
The attributes of Demeter are chiefly connected with her character as goddess of agriculture and vegetation - ears of corn, the poppy, the mystic basket (calathus) filled with flowers, corn and fruit of all kinds, the pomegranate being especially common.
In Greek art, Demeter is made to resemble Hera, only more matronly and of milder expression; her form is broader and fuller.
The Demeter of Cnidus in the British Museum, of the school of Praxiteles, apparently shows her mourning for the loss of her daughter.
Iv.), gives a probable representation of Demeter (or her priestess) from the stone of a vault in a Crimean grave.
Preller, Demeter and Persephone (1837); P. R.
In Greek mythology Demeter and Proserpine were closely associated, being known together as the two goddesses, the venerable or august goddesses, sometimes as the great goddesses.
TRIPTOLEMUS, in Greek mythology, the inventor of agriculture, first priest of Demeter, and founder of the Eleusinian mysteries.
Some regard the legend as a chthonian myth, Aea (Colchis) being the under-world in the Aeolic religious system from which Jason liberates himself and his betrothed; others, in view of certain resemblances between the story of Jason and that of Cadmus (the ploughing of the field, the sowing of the dragon's teeth, the fight with the Sparti, who are finally set fighting with one another by a stone hurled into their midst), associate both with Demeter the corn-goddess, and refer certain episodes to practices in use at country festivals, e.g.
Newton discovered a fine seated statue of Demeter, which now adorns the British Museum; and about 3 m.
In length and 6 in height, which has been supposed to commemorate the great naval victory of Conon over the Lacedaemonians in 394 B.C. Among the minor antiquities obtained from the city itself, or the great necropolis to the east, perhaps the most interesting are the leaden KarrccB€o oc, or imprecationary tablets, found in the temple of Demeter, and copied in facsimile in the appendix to the second volume of Newton's work.
Closer intimacy with the Greek world naturally brought about modifications in the character of the native gods, which became apparent when Ba'al of Sidon or Baal-shamem was identified with Zeus, Tanith with Demeter or Artemis, 'Anath with Athena, &c.; the notion of a supreme Ba'al, which finds expression in the Greek 1 3 Xos and (aaXris or 131 7 XOns (the goddess of Byblus), was no doubt encouraged by foreign influences.
75, 123) Pegasus, like Anion the fabled offspring of Demeter and Poseidon, was a curse-horse, symbolical of the rapidity with which curses were fulfilled.
In Europe the corn spirit sometimes immanent in the crop, sometimes a presiding deity whose life does not depend on that of the growing corn, is conceived in some districts in the form of an ox, hare or cock, in others as an old man or woman; in the East Indies and America the rice or maize mother is a corresponding figure; in classical Europe and the East we have in Ceres and Demeter, Adonis and Dionysus, and other deities, vegetation gods whose origin we can readily trace back to the rustic corn spirit.
In the cave of Phigalia Demeter was, according to popular tradition, represented with the head and mane of a horse, possibly a relic of the time when a non-specialized cornspirit bore this form.
Many weights have been found in the temenos of Demeter at Cnidus, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and in a temple of Aphrodite at Byblus (44); and the making or sale of weights may have been a business of the custodians of the temple standards.
Modelled after the Greek Demeter, she is practically identical with Copia, Annona and similar goddesses.
Here were represented Isis and Serapis, Helios, the Mother of the Gods, the Fates, Demeter and Persephone; but no trace of these temples remains.