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• Vide Hera, R. 17"*. xi»ed for the marriage ordinance: vide

^ That OtiT/wf might in one or two note a, p. 105.

contexts have been applied to marriage « Plutarch"** who places the middle

' does not justify the belief that the word ceremony of it, the ' rrfirr^ia* * the day

absolutely and withont context could be of fasting,* as late as the sixteenth.



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86 GREEK RELIGION [chap.

called the Stenia, which the scholiast on Aristophanes regards
as distinct from the Thesmophoria, but may once have formed
a substantive part of it, as Photius connects the * Ascent ' of
Demeter and the mutual reviling of the women with the
Stenia, and both these appear again in some of the records
of the Thesmophoria. This * Ascent * — whatever it means —
cannot be interpreted as Demeter s ascent from Hell, for if we
suppose such a myth that might be embodied in some mimetic
representation to have actually existed, it would imply the
previous loss of her daughter and a sort of reconciliation
between mother and son-in-law. And as the N7;oT€ta or day
of mourning was to follow, this would be inconsistent with the
order of the festival. The tenth day was the Oea-tiotpopCa or
dta-fiofPopia par excellence"'''* ^ : if the first accentuation is correct,
which is vouched for by the MSS. of Photius"^"* and the
scholiast on Lucian*, it may seem to make somewhat for
the first part of Dr- Frazer's view concerning the origin of the
name, and we might suppose that this day was so called from
the practice of carrying certain things called 0€<rixoi in solemn
procession, just as two of the following days acquired special
names from certain acts of ritual performed upon them. Is it
possible that these 6€<ryLoi were the voiufioi pC^Xoi koL le^oi, * the
lawful and sacred books ' which the scholiast on Theocritus"^ •
declares were carried on the heads of * chaste and reverent
maidens/ on * the day of the mystery when as if in prayer
they departed to Eleusis'? The whole statement has been
discredited by certain writers'* because we have strong reasons
for supposing that the whole ministration was in the hands of
matrons, and because it has been maintained that Eleusis bad
nothing to do with the Thesmophoria ^ The scholiast was
probably wrong about the * chaste maidens ' ; but on the latter



is opposed by the consistent statements gards the meaniog of the name,
of the lexicographers and scholiasts; ^ 'BnXitr, Demeier-Persephoru,^ z^z*

and among the latter the scholiast on Anm. 30 ; Schomann, Griech. Alttrth,

Lucian draws from a very good source. 2, p. 460.

• Rohde— who published the Scholion « See Mommsen, Fcste, p, 300, who

—lays great stress on this fact, but does thinks that the scholiast confused Eleusis

not draw any special corollary as re- \Tith the Elcusinion in Athens.



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II] DEMETER AND KOREPERSEPHONE 87

ground we have no right to gainsay him, for we have at least
one positive testimony to Eleusinian tfc^r/tAo^pia"', and two of
the ritualistic legends, one explaining the chthonian sacrifice
of the pigs '* *, the other the licentious language of the women,
are of Eleusinian origin "^»'^*^^. We may believe, then, that
certain sacred books were carried in procession at some
time or other during the festival ; we must regard them
not as quasi-biblical treatises on law or morality, but as
ritualistic books containing directions for regulating the tcX^ttJ.
Most mysteries in Greece possessed such books* ; but we do
not know that these collections of written ritual were specially
called ^€<rfiot, and the theory that they were so called at
Athens rests partly on a point of accent ; nor if we admit the
accent, does the conclusion follow ^ And if the first day was
called 6€a'iio<t>opla, because its chief service was the carrying of
6€iTyLoi, then the scholiast is wrong about the procession to
Eleusis, for we are told that on the first day the women were
at Halimus, where there was a temple of Demeter Thesmo-
phoros"'^*'^, on the sea-coast south-east of Phaleron, far too
distant from Eleusis for the women to journey thither in a day.
We may leave the question for the present with the observa-
tion that it is a priori very unlikely that such a comparatively
trivial and unessential act as the carrying of ritualistic books
in procession should have given a name to a festival of great
compass which was celebrated at a time when probably no
books were in existence among most of the communities of
the Hellenic stock.

The fint day being spent at Halimus, we must suppose
that the women's dances at Kolias which was in the vicinity
also took place on the first day'^**. Such dances were
certainly mimetic, and as we are told that the Thesmophoria
included a representation of the Rape of Proserpine®, this may
have been the theme of the chorus at Kolias ^^ K The women

• Cf. Demeter, R. 255 ; Dionysos, R. « The Orphic poet of the Argonautica

63*. dainw tk% ore of his proper themes * the

^ The day may have been called wanderings of Demeter, the grief of

Btfffto^pia {^fUpa), simply because it Persephone, and the holy ritual of Thes-

was the first day of the whole festival mophoros,' 11. 26, 27 (reading Bt^fuxpo^

$9afjio^6pM, pcv 9* icifjr for $tatuxp6pos 9* in j(k).



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88 • GREEK RELIGION [chap.

then left the sea-coast, and on the second day proceeded to
Athens, And this day was called the "Ai/oSoy, the name being
explained as alluding to the procession of the women up to
the Thesmophorion in Athens'**, a building that probably
lay near the Pnyx. In endeavouring to fix the meaning of
the term, we must take note of the fact that the same day,
according to the scholiast on Aristophanes, was also called
KaQohos ; and that an aro5oy Arjfir^Tpos was, as we have seen,
associated with the Stenia on the njnth of Pyanepsion. The
difficulties of interpreting &vobos in reference to the lower
world have partly been shown above. It did not appear
natural to apply it in this sense to Demeter ; and as regards
Kore it is out of the question, for the eleventh of Pyanepsion
would be of all times of the year unsuitable for her return to
the upper world. Nor could naSobos logically refer to the
passing away or descent of Proserpine ; for this belongs to
harvest-time % and the period of the Attic harvest was long
passed. Again, if avoboi and Kadobos had signified the resurrec-
tion of the divinity and her descent into Hades, it is extra-
ordinary that two such opposite views should have been taken
of the same ritual. We may suppose, then, either that the
* Ascent of the Goddess ' was nothing more than the bringing
up of her image from the sea-coast to Athens — and this as in
some sense a return from exile might be called KdOobos — and
that Photius confuses the Stenia with the second day of the
Thesmophoria ; or that the ivoSoy was simply the carrying of
images of mother and daughter up to the temple on the high
ground from the lower city ; as we gather from Aristophanes '*
that there were two wooden idols in the Thesmophorion when
the women met there on the third day : only this suggestion
fails to explain the Kadobo^. We must also take into
consideration the very different interpretation offered by
Mr. Frazer that ivobos and Kidobos do not refer to the god-
desses at all, but to the women who went down into the
subterranean chamber and returned, in performance of an
important ritual described partly by Clemens and more

" The feast of Kore called xaraycrf^ matare (R. 1 29).
at Syracuse was held when the com was *» Thesmoph. 773.



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II] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 89

fully by Lucian's scholiast"^*: *At the Thesmophoria it
is the fashion to throw living pigs into the underground
sanctuaries . . . and certain women called dt^Aijrpiot descend
and bring up the decaying remnants and place them on the
altars: and people believe that the man who takes (part of
them) and mixes them up with his grain for sowing will have
abundant harvest. And they say that there are serpents
down below about the vaults, which eat the greater part of
the food thrown down. . . . And the same festival is also called
^AppriTOfpopiOy and it is celebrated from the same point of view
concerning the growth of fruits and^ human generation. And
they also dedicate here(?) certain unmentionable holy objects
made of dough, imitations of serpents and shapes of men
(? leg. avhpiKdiv <rxrjfidTa>v^ a euphemism for the <f>ak\6^). They
also take pine-boughs on account of the fertility of the tree.
And all these objects are thrown into the so-called Megara
together with the pigs ... as a symbol of the generation of
fruits and men.' This important passage has received much
notice and some criticism that has not been always satis-
factory*. In spite of some corruption of the text and some
difficulties of translation, certain important features of the
whole ritual emerge. The offering of the mimic serpents,
which were of course not intended for food, show the semi-
divine character of the animal. The ritual is intended to
promote the crops and human generation, but there is no
ceremonious allusion to the ordinance of marriage : whether it
contained a phallic element is doubtful \ we shall be inclined
to believe it did if we believe the statement of Theodoretus
that a representation of the female sexual organ was honoured
by the women in the Thesmophoria '^*». On minor points the
record is vague: we are not told where this ceremony was

* Frazer's Golden Bough, voL 2, 299, ^ Rohde,loccit, believes that a phallic

and article on * Thesmophoria * in the element is attested of Demeter^s ritual

Ettcydopaidia Britannica ; Andrew at Halimns, where he would locate the

Lang, A^M, Ritttaly and Religion^ 2. 269 whole of this ceremony described by the

(giving certain savage parallels); Robert scholiast: but the authorities he cites

in Preller, Griech, MythoU 2. 779, Anm. are referring to a Diooysiac not a De-

I. 780, Anm. 3; Rohde, Rhein, Mus, meter-cult at Halimus, vide Dion>*sos»

1870, p. 548; Miss Harrison, Proiego- R. 129*.
waia, flee, pp. 120-131.



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90 GREEK RELIGION [chap.

performed, whether at Athens or at some country locality
that was included in the route followed by the women in their
procession • ; the explanatory legend, that the sacrifice of pigs
was to commemorate Eubouleus and his herd of swine that were
swallowed up with him, when the earth opened to receive
Pluto and Kore, might suggest Eleusis for the scene of the rite,
and at all events is of some value as attesting the strong Eleu-
sinian colour that has spread over part of the Thesmophoria.

Neither does it appear quite evident at what point of time
in the long festival the swine-sacrifice occurred. There is
much to be said for Dr. Frazer* s view that the throwing the
live pigs into the vault and the fetching up the remnants of
the last year s sacrifice were two parts of the same ceremony
occurring on the same day. Only if we conscientiously abide
by the evidence of the accent, and ascribe all the ritual men-
tioned by Lucian's scholiast to the day called ^e<r/io<^o/)ia, this
we know to have been the tenth day, and therefore we cannot,
on this hypothesis, accept Dr. Frazer's explanation of Kidobos
and ivohos^ for these latter rituals fell on the eleventh of the
month " \ More important still is the question as to the earlier
or later significance of the swine-sacrifice. Were the animals
thrown in merely as gifts to the earth-goddesses, or as incarna-
tions of the divinities themselves ? The latter is Dr. Frazer's
view, but the evidence is not sufficient to establish it. The
pig is, no doubt, their sacred animal here and elsewhere in the
Greek world ; no doubt it was to them as well probably as to
Plouton-Eubouleus that the Athenians of the later period
believed it was offered in this Thesmophorian ritual, just as
at Potniae we hear of two sucking-pigs being thrown down
into a hole as a sacrifice to Demeter and Kore^*'. And
the eating of swine*s flesh which is attested of the worshippers
in the Attic Thesmophoria may be connected with this ritual
at the Megaron, and very probably may have been a sacra-
mental meaP*». But sacramental union with the divinity
does not demand the belief that the divinity is incarnate in the

* Rohde, loc. cit., relying on the mos^^. This evidence, which is all that
accentuation 09<rfjuHf>opia (Photius and he can urge, is slight, but of some Talue.
Lucian's scholiast), places it at Ha!i-



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«] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 91

animal \ though this belief may be traced in other Hellenic
cults ; if the deity and the worshippers partake of the same
food, the sacramental bond is sufficiently strong. Therefore
sacramental eating of animal food ought not to be always
taken as proof of a direct theriomorphic conception. The
flesh thrown into the vault was supposed to be devoured by
the snakes that were kept there, and the women made a loud
clapping to drive away the snakes before they ventured down.
Now, though Demeter and Kore are nowhere identified with
the snake, having become detached from the earth-goddess after
the anthropomorphic conception of the latter had come to pre-
vail, yet this animal that was once the incarnation of the earth-
spirit remains the familiar representative of the chthonian
goddesses of the Olympian period. Therefore, as these god-
desses may in some sense have been supposed to have partaken
of the swine's flesh that was thrown down to them, the
remnants would be regarded as chaiged with part of their
divinity, and would be valuable objects to show over the fields,
^ut no Greek legend or ritual reveals any sense of the identity
between Demeter and the pig.

The ceremony just examined shows us this at least, that the]
main purpose of the Thesmophoria was to secure the fertility
of the field, and probably also to promote human fecundity ; •
and that the divinities to whom it was consecrated, being earth-
deities, possessed both . a chthonian and an agricultural
character, and could bless their worshippers both with the
fruits of the field and the fruit of the womb. And it shows us
that by no means the whole of the Thesmophoria was /i^/iT7(rt9^;
for the service in connexion with the vaults contains no allu-
sion to the famous myth, but is pure ritual, not arising from
but itself generating the myth of Eubouleus. The women
who ascend and descend are obviously not embodiments of
Kore and Demeter; they dance no dance, but perform litur-

* Vide my article on 'Sacrificial Com- it is altogether ignored by Miss Harri-

mnnion' in Greek religion; Hihbert son, /Vvi4f^//«»a,pp.i2i-i3i; theRape

JottfTuil, 1904, pp. 319-321. of Persephone was merely a story arising,

^ This element in the Thesmophoria she thinks, from the ritual, but she does

lias been exaggerated by Rohde in his not explain this.
criticism of the scholiast, loc. dt. : but



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92 GREEK REUGION [chap.

gical functions and minister to certain altars. But their
service was probably in its origin no mere gift-sacrifice, and
perhaps was never regarded as wholly this and nothing more.
• f We have no hint that in any Hellenic ritual the serpent was

ever offered to any divinity as food or as a gift-offering ; wc
must suppose, therefore, that the mimic serpents were conse-
crated to the sacred vault, because they were the animals
specially charged with the power of the nether earth-spirit ;
the pig was regarded in the same light, and therefore the same
significance probably attached at one time to the act of
throwing in the swine ; for the same reason sucking-pigs were
chosen at Potniae as more likely to refresh and rejuvenate the
energies of the earth. We may regard then this part of the
Thesmophorian ritual at Athens as a survival of ancient magic,
used to stimulate the fertilizing powers of the soil. Yet in the
earliest period it might be accompanied by prayers, and by
real gift-offerings to the goddesses. For prayers, spells, and
gift-offerings are religious acts which, though arising from two
different views of the divine nature, are often of simultaneous
occurrence in very early phases of religion \ The women in
the Attic ritual certainly prayed**; and cereal offerings, as
thank-offerings for crops, probably formed part of the Thesmo-
phoria sacrifice"**^: but it is clear also that some form of
animal-oblation was essential, not only at Athens, but at
Eretria and Cyrene"*^» ^*'-. Some such ritual, possibly the
swine-offering just considered, was probably associated with
the ceremony known as the 8ta>y/ia or diroJuoyfta "^ \ which
Hesychius informs us was the name of a sacrifice at the Thesmo-
phoria. His statement, which lacks all context or setting, is
one more of the disiecta membra^ out of which we have to piece
tc^ether an organic whole, if possible. Could this * pursuit '
be the chasing of the bridegroom and ravisher by the women,
as Pallas and Artemis tried to chase Pluto in the poetical
versions of the story ^ The name Ovaia makes against this

*• I have endeavoured to show this at * This is Gerhard's view, Akad. Ab-

somcleRgthin/JidderiL€c/ures,p,i6SfSic. ftandl, 2, p. 340 : one of the objections

* Aristoph. Thesmoph. 295 (qaoted to it is that it snpposes naturally a male

Artemis, K. 73). participant in the ritual.



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ii] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 93

view, and it would be a mistake to suppose that every part of
the varied ceremony was the mimetic representation of the
myth. Pursuit at sacrifice was, as Dr. Frazer remarks, com-
mon ; but there are two kinds of pursuit : the priest may have
to fly because he has slain a sacred animal ; or he himself may
pursue one of those who are present at the altar with simulated
intent to kill ; and this is a relic of a prior human sacrifice.
Now, as the above writer has abundantly shown, such sacrifices
have been fairly common in the worship of the earth-spirit
among different races, and the primitive agricultural ritual all
over the world, as we have seen, is darkened by the frequent
suggestion of human bloodshed.

Some such pretence of what was once a reality may explain
the hi(t>y\ia in the Thesmophoria ; and that this is not an idle
conjecture seems to appear from the Corinthian legend refer-
ring to the institution of a Demeter-cult there which was
doubtless the Thesmophoria^*: the first priestess to whom
Demeter revealed her secret mysteries was an old woman
called Melissa (a name of sacerdotal significance in Demeter's
and other cults "°) : the other women came and surrounded her,
coaxing and imploring her to communicate them; at last,
wroth at her stubborn refusal, they tore her to pieces. The
story was by no means ben travato\ but interpreted back-
wards it may yield this possible sense — the Thesmophoria at
Corinth, as elsewhere, were in the hands of married women,
who cherished a secret ritual, and retained, perhaps in some
simulated ceremony, a faint reminiscence of the sacrificial death
of their priestess^ and who invented, as usual, a single and
special incident to account for it We shall find similar myths
of importance in the cults of Dionysos. The legend of the
Ai^o/3<JAia, the festival of Troezen ^* ^ in honour of Damia and
Auxesia, other names for the two earth-goddesses of vegeta-
tion, is of great interest as probably belonging to the same
group of religious phenomena : two maidens came there from
Crete and lost their life by stoning in a civic tumult, and the
* festival of the stone-throwing ' was instituted in their honour.
We seem to trace here the effects of the world-wide savage
dogma that * blood must water the earth to make things grow/



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94 GREEK RELIGION . [ciLiP.

the worshippers in the vegetation-ritual drawing blood from
each other with stones, and inventing a myth that probably
embalms a tradition of the death of the vegetation-deity.
May we also explain those mysterious lines (165-167) that
seem like an interpolation in the Homeric hymn to Demeter,
part of the prophecy of the goddess about her fosterling
Demiphon, * And over him (or in his honour) at certain seasons
of the revolving years all day long the sons of the Eleusinians
ever mingle the fell battle-shout apd join in war/ as an allu-
sion to combats lialf real, half mimic, waged over the corn-
field to sprinkle the earth with blood ? Combats, either sham
or serious, seem not infrequently to have formed the finale
of vegetation-ceremonies, and one such may have been the
Eleusinian /3aX\7|n/y, or ritualistic stone-throwing, with which
the functionary known as U/oeiy \ido'4)6f)os may have been
connected \

This gloss of Hesychius then has some value, but his other
on the word C^fAta, the name of another sacrificial act in the
Attic Thesmophoria"*"^, has none ; for the text is partly corrupt,
and all that might be said about it would be useless conjecture.

Coming now to the third day of the festival we find better
information at this point : the day was called rrjoreta, the day
of fasting and mortification, when the officiating women had
apparently little in the way of ritual to perform, and when the
public business of the community was suspended "^^ "• ^» \ We
are not told that the rule of abstinence applied to the men ; it
is only the women who are said to have fasted * seated on the
ground ^^ \* Of course they said that they did so because
Demeter in her sorrow had done the same, just as they said
that they indulged in ribaldry because lambe had done so.

• C£ the beating and ttone-throwing phyae, C«//x, vol. 2, p. 428. Usener

in the Feiiae Andllarum on the Nonae in Archiv f, Religiomwissemch 1904,

Caprotinae, probably a harvest-festival pp. 297-3 13, examines a number of

in honour of Jono, Plat. VU, Rom, 29: ceremonious combats of this type, and ex-

for the fftcufitura on that occasion vide plains them as cathartic ritual, descend-

Vit, CamiU, 33; Warde Fowler, Roman ing probably from a mimetic combat of

ivj/<Va/j,pp.i75,i76: fortheEleusinian the persons representing Summer and

&Q}<Kr(r\n vide Athenae. 406 D (Hero- Winter. It is doubtful if all the cases

cults, K. 54) : cf. legend of stoning in can be explained by any single theor}\
the vegetation-ritual of Artemis at Ka-



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ii] DEMETER AND KORE^PERSEPHONE 95

Similarly, the rule that the women must not eat the seeds or"^
the pomegranate in the Thesmophoria ^* ', was naturally ex-
plained by the story of Persephone, and the spell which bound
her to the lower world through her imprudent eating of this
fruit ; but we may suspect that the taboo was independent of
the myth, for we find it again in the ritual at Lykosura of
Despoina, whose legend by no means coincides at all points
with Persephone's^^''; the reason for this avoidance of the
pomegranate may have been the blood-red colour which made
it ominous, while in other cults a brighter symbolism may have
attached to it*. At least, as regards the women's fast in
general, we need not suppose that it was mimetic or dramatic
at all, though this is usually the view of the modems who
often commit the same error of var^pov 'np6T€pov as the ancients.
In most religions, our own included, the fasts are explained
by holy legends. Here at least there is no need for one.
Fasting and other rules of abstinence have in the liturgies of
ancient cults a distinct agrarian value, and will be resorted to
at criticaF periods of the agrarian year, such as the period of
sowing. Besides fasting, the women were supposed to abstain
from sexual intercourse, according to Ovid for nine days "* ®.
The women who went down into the vault had to observe
ritualistic purity for three days ^\ and certain herbs that were
supposed to exercise a chastening effect on the temperament
were strewn under the beds of the matrons ^* *» \

The day after the Niyoreta, the closing day of the whole
festival, was the KaXXt,y4v€ia. Probably, from the name of the
religious celebration, there emerged a female personality,
ff KaXkiy4v€iay sometimes identified with Demeter, sometimes
with Ge, or regarded as a subordinate divinity closely
associated with the former <». It is most improbable that the
word in this precise form should originally have had the value
of a feminine divine name, for no festival \vbs ever directly

* Vide Aphrodite, Tol. 2, p. 696, note c. intercoorse, replied ' after lawful inter- |



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