Cronus m. Rhea Hestia Hades Poseidon Demeter Hera Zeus Demeter was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and is one of the three goddesses of the first Olympian generation
She is the goddess of corn, the ripe grain, vegetation, agriculture, and the Eleusinian mysteries, and Persephone’s (“per-seph-a-knee”) mother
Demeter's emblem is the poppy, a bright red flower that grows among the barley
Demeter’s Festival • Her chief festival came at harvest time • Took place in September • Every five years • Considered the most sacred days • Processions took place; dances and song
One of the most common myths involving Demeter is the abduction of her daughter, Persephone, by Hades. • When Persephone wandered away from her companions he lured her away and took her to the underworld. Her cry echoed in the depths of the sea and her mother, Demeter, heard it. • Demeter searched high and low for her but no one would help her except the Sun. • The myth states that for nine days she would not eat ambrosia or put sweet nectar on her lips. • In her pain, she left Mt. Olympus and wandered the earth disguised as an old woman.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries • Demeter was searching for her daughter Persephone. • She came to Eleusis and rested by a well. Four maidens (sisters) asked her if she was okay and then asked their parents (Celeus & Metaneira) if they could bring her home. • Having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus of Eleusis, and his wife Metaneira.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make their son Demophoön a god, by coating and anointing him with Ambrosia, breathing gently upon him while holding him in her arms, and making him immortal by burning his mortal spirit away in the family hearth every night.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries Demophoön flourished like a god and would have become immortal, if unfortunate Metaneira had not seen what was happening – she didn’t understand the rituals and thought a stranger was trying to burn her child in the fire
Demeter Reveals Her True Identity • Demeter finally reveals her true identity and tells them they must build her a temple in order to win her favor back. • The people of the village, commanded by Celeus, build Demeter a temple and as she sat in it she wasted away thinking about her daughter. • Because Demeter was the god of the corn and harvest, everything on earth wilted away. Nothing grew or flourished. • Zeus sent numerous gods to try to pull Demeter away from her anger, but she wouldn’t relent. • As a last result, Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of the gods, to talk to his brother, Hades and see if he would relinquish his bride – Persephone.
Persephone is Rescued • When Hermes arrived in the Underworld, he found Persephone and Hades sitting together. • Persephone, happy she was rescued, gladly went with Hermes. • But, Hades made her eat a pomegranate seed in hopes she would return to him. • Hermes carried her directly to Demeter, her mother. • Demeter is thrilled when she holds Persephone in her arms, but extremely upset when she discovers Persephone ate the pomegranate seed.
Persephone’s Return • Zeus asks his mother, Rhea, the oldest god, to go down to earth and talk to Demeter. • Demeter listens to Rhea’s instructions and restores the earth. • She is still saddened that she must relinquish Persephone four months every year to go down to the Underworld, but she does so.
Once Persephone was returned to Demeter, she brought fertility back to the Earth.
Persephone • Dies a little each year as she went to Hades • The radiant maiden of the spring
One of the greatest gifts which Ceres gave people were cereal, the cultivation of which made man different from wild animals
Temple of Ceres The temple on the Aventine hill in Rome was dedicated to Ceres, and the ritual of worship in her temple was stylistically Greek, even the prayers were spoken in Greek.
Dionysus (Bacchus) • Born in Thebes • Father is Zeus, mother is Theban princess Semele • Only god whose parents were not both divine.
Zeus & Semele(Dionysus’ mother) • Zeus, cheating on Hera, fell madly in love with Semele. • He asked her what she wanted. • Semele said she wanted to see Zeus in “his full splendor as King of Heaven and Lord of the Thunderbolt” (Hamilton, p. 56) • This was secretly placed in her heart from Hera. • Legend has it that a mortal cannot behold Zeus in his “full splendor” and live.
Zeus & Semele(Dionysus’ mother) • Zeus swore on the Stynx that he would fulfill whatever promise she wanted. He was held to his word. • Unfortunately, Semele dies. • Zeus snatches her young infant daughter and hides her from Hera. • Hermes takes the baby to stay with the nymphs of Nysa (supposedly one of the loveliest valleys, but no one has ever seen it)
Dionysus is Born • God of the Vine • Born of fire • Nursed by rain • Wandered far to strange places – many stories • One day, near Greece, a pirate ship sailed nearby. They saw Dionysus dressed as a “beautiful youth” with dark hair and a purple cloak • Soldiers thought they could kidnap him and perhaps his wealthy parents would pay a ransom (or so they assumed).
Sailors Attack Dionysus • When the soldiers put ropes around him they would not hold together and fell apart when they touched his hands or feet. • Dionysus looked at soldiers with a “smile and his dark eyes” (Hamilton, p. 57). • One “helmsman” understood that Dionysus was a god and told the rest of the soldiers to let him go, but the captain would not and mocked Dionysus.
A Captain’s Pride • The captain told the sailors to joist the sail, but when they did the ship did not move. • Strange things happened: • Wine ran down in streams down the deck • A vine spread out over the sail • A dark green ivy-plant with flowers and fruit twined around the mast like garland • Dionysus turned into a lion and roared at the men. The men panicked and leaped overboard. Dionysus turned them into dolphins.
Princess of Crete: AdriadneDionysus’ one true love • She was abandoned on the shore of Naxos by the Athenian prince, Theseus, whose life she had just saved. • Dionysus rescues her and falls in love with her. • When she dies he took her crown (that he gave her) and placed it among the stars.
Missing Mom • Dionysus was also a god of great courage. • He longed for the mother he never met: Semele. • He “dared the terrible descent to the lower world to seek her” (Hamilton, p. 58). • Dionysus rescued her and brought her to Mt. Olympus where the gods allowed Semele to stay although she dwelled with immortals. Remember, she was a mortal, yet the mother of a god.
Maenads and the Worship of Dionysus • Maenads (Bacchantes) – women who drank lots of wine and ran through the woods and mountains uttering “sharp cries” and acted in erratic and indescribable ways. • Name means “raving ones”. • They did not worship in a temple, rather worshiped in the wilderness – shows how wild they were. • Dionysus had pity on them and gave them food and drink, herbs and berries and the milk of wild goat.
A Kind and Beneficent or Cruel and Evil god?? • The maenads worshiped him. • The worship of Dionysus was centered on two ideas: • Freedom and ecstatic joy • Savage brutality • Throughout several myths he either gives man blessing or sometimes leads man to his ruin.
Pantheus, King of Thebes • Son of Semele’s sister, which made him Dionysus’ cousin • Pantheus did not know Zeus saved Semele’s child (Dionysus) • Pantheus did not like the wild dancing and loud singing and “strange behavior” of the strangers that followed Dionysus so he ordered his guards to seize and imprison the visitors and Dionysus.
Pantheus, King of Thebes • A prophet, by the name of Teiresias, the holy man of Thebes, warned Pantheus that the stranger he was imprisoning was Semele’s child, who m Zeus rescued and “with Demeter, is greatest upon earth for men” (Hamilton, p. 59). • Pantheus didn’t believe Teiresias because the old man was covered in ivy and appeared to be drunk with wine. He didn’t heed the warning.
Pantheus, King of Thebes • The Maenads escaped, but the guards told Pantheus they couldn’t keep the chains on Dionysus. They knew he had to be a god. • Dionysus did not fight Pantheus though. He said, “The wrongs you do to me are wrongs done to the gods” (Hamilton, p. 60). • At one point Pantheus spews insults at Dionysus, but Dionysus did not fight back. “[…] Dionysus left him to his doom. It was the most horrible that there could be” (Hamilton, p. 60).
Dionysus’ Anger • Dionysus causes Pentheus’ mother and sisters to believe Pantheus was a wild beast, a mountail lion, and they all attacked him and “tore him limb from limb” (Hamilton, p. 61). • At that moment, Dionysus restored the women’s sanity and they saw what they had done. • Dionysus took pleasure in this.
Irony in the Name of “Dionysus” • God of the vine – wine. • Wine is bad as well as good. • It “cheers and warms men’s hearts, yet also makes them drunk” and unaware of their evil actions (Hamilton, p. 61). • Dionysus was the god of the vine so he could make men commit frightful and atrocious crimes (Hamilton, p. 61). • Many believed the reason why Dionysus was so erratic in his behavior is because he was the god of wine. “He was man’s benefactor and hw as man’s destroyer” (Hamilton, p. 63).