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discussed in the chapter on Dionysos. It is enough to note
here that Gaia maintained her part in it down to the latest
period. For Pausanias tells us " ^ that the sanctuary of Ge
Olympia ** at Athens, which stood within the riix€vos of Zeus
Olympios and borrowed its cult-title from the god, stood near
a chasm in the earth, which legend^ connected with the sub-
sidence of Deukalion s deluge ; and ^ that every year cakes of
barley and honey were thrown down into it ; we may conclude
that this was an offering to the earth-goddess, for we hear of
similar offerings being made to her on other occasions ^* **.
Again, the author of the Etymologicinn Magnum speaks of
the *Xbpo(l>6pLa as a mournful celebration at Athens held in
honour of those who perished in Deukalion's deluge ; and
Plutarch informs us that such observances took place in
Athens in the month of Anthesterion at a date corresponding
to the calends of March ; finally, the scholiast on Aristophanes,
quoting from Theopompos, asserts that the Xvr/jot, as the last
day of the Anthesteria festival was called, took its name from
the xvrpaiyor disnes of o//a podrida {TTavaittpfiia) that were
offered to the victims of the deluge on that day®. Putting
these indications together we can conclude that the Thpoit>opCa
was at least associated with the Anthesteria, when we know
that the ghosts were specially entertained, two of the three
days of that festival being Airo^paJcy or ominous on their
account. It is true that in this three days' solemnity, Gaia's
recognition is merely that ritualistic act of throwing the
barley-cakes into the chasm. But the feeling of her association
with it must have been strong ; for we can only explain the
intrusion of the deluge-story, which half spoils the true sig-

from Polemon): a connexion between
the earth-goddess and Poseidon was
fairly common.

* For these and other references to the
Anthesteria vide Dionysos, R. 124,
vol. 5.

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i] CULT OF GE 25

niHcance of an 'All Souls' celebration intended to com-
memorate dead kinsmen, if we suppose that the rifi^vos of Ge
Olympia was an ancient central point for the performance of
much of the ceremony, and that to the chasm in this place an
aetiological m yth . of- t he- 4dUig^ 4i^ acddeatally attached
i teolft — And "it "appears that in the chthonian part of the
^ceremony the nether earth-goddess was connected with
Hermes Xdovios, the god of the lo\v5r world .

We should even have to regard ^u^s the dominant goddess
of the whole festival, if we accept the theory concerning the
Uidoiyia put forth by Miss Harrison. It rests partly on the
identification of Pandora with Ge, And this egiTi tinn le
generally n^rfj^rt j n nrl not n p ftn tf>"4i*Tp Mt^ The lexico-
gfsrphers were aware of it ^^ « : the name itself is transparent,
and Anesidora, ' she who sends up gifts,* a still more obvious
epithet of Earth, appears as a variant form on a well-known
vase in the British Museum : the line of Aristophanes pre-
scribing a preliminary sacrifice to Pandora is paralleled by the
statement in Suidas that old Attic ritual demandelTirpre-
limina ry ancrific -e-to-^Ge^—And even in- qui te late times the
^ identifi c ation w a s r ecognized. The man who consulted Apol-
lonius of Tyana concerning the finding of a treasure made
prayer to Gej_tbe philosopher led him out to a lucky spot
-^jiH'prayed . himself -to- Pfimdom -b«ibre returning to the city.
And early Greek art proved itself half-conscious of the identity
of the two figures ; a fifth-century vase, recently published by ,
Pro£ Gardner**, in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford shows \^^
us the form of Pandora arising from the earth exactly as Ge
herself arises in certain mythic representations. And the
comparison of the Pandora scenes with that small group of
vases which show a large female heai .emerging from the
ground, while male figures, often/ satyrs, .rtand over it with
hammers in the act of striking, sug^^scsr'as Miss Harrison has
well pointed out, a primitive ritualistic practice of e voking the


• Cf. the combination of r^ Kdroxot 538 (Athens), 539, vide Hermes, R. 19 —

and Hermes Karoxos in the formulae of both inscriptions very illiterate,
the dirae, private incantations by which ^ Jlell.Joum, 1901, p. i, PL i.
one cursed one*s enemy: C /. Gr, i.

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earth-spirit by hammering on the ground •. To the evidence
I she has collected may be added the interesting parallel of
a Christian myth preserved in an Armenian MS., in the
Bodleian, narrating that Christ descended from heaven with
a golden hammer, and smiting on the earth evoked the Virgin
Church ^

This natural affinity between Ge and the shadowy powers
of death and the life after death is further illustrated by an
important passage in Pausanias conqprning the Areopagus and
its vicinity : near the rock stood the temple of the Semnae,
whom he identifies with the Erinyes, and in it were dedicated
statues of Pluto, Hermes (who was frequently worshipped as
the nether god), and Ge^***: he adds that those who were
acquitted by the verdict of the court were wont to offer
sacrifice in this temple. We may interpret this as a thank-
offering or as a piacular service intended to wipe off the
miasma of the homicide-trial.

Of other local worships there is nothing clear to record.
We may suppose that the cult at the Elean Olympia belongs
to an ancient era-^, and that Ge there also had certain
chthonian associations. For Elis in old times was haunted
by the presence of Hades, and KAiJ/x€ro9, another name for the
god of the lower world, was a heroic figure there ®.

Does all this cult reveal a completely anthropomorphic
figure ? We cannot affirm this absolutely in all cases. Such
epithets as EvpwrT€pro« and EvpwTra (if the latter were ever
attached to Ge as it was to Demeter) betray the consciousness
of the material fact blending with and partly blurring the
human conception.

Neither need her oracular *® and vegetative functions have
clearly evoked the full anthropomorphic idea : a better proof
is perhaps the institution of games in her honour which we
have reason to believe existed in Attica " ' if nowhere else.

i tend to become more

ithangelos Greek Text, ed. La-
om Bodleian Menologion Annen.
. 7"* : I owe this reference to the
I of my friend, Mr. Conybeare.
e Hades, R. a(.

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clearly defined by her frequent association with many of the
human-divine personages of Greek polytheism. Moreover,
Hellenic art in dealing with the figure of Gaia was naturally
obliged to invest her with the full human form : her presence
was required for two and only two mythic representations,
the birth of Erichthonios and the battle of the giants with the
gods, and for these the perfected art invented a type of full
matronly form, luxuriant beauty with sometimes the added
charm of pathetic expression. There is less reality and no cult-
significance in the later Hellenistic personifications of Earth,
in the figure on the interesting Carthaginian relief, for instance,
where she appears with children on her lap and cattle around
her, majestically seated in the midst of figures that personify
fire and water*. It is impossible to say how early was the
first personal representation of Ge. The earliest certain
instance that has come down to us is the * Melian * terracotta
relief**. The goddess emerging from the earth and the haTO>*
merers may ^e a very old^ jtx^^^type^in fact must be as old
as Hesiod s Tlicogony^ if it gave rise to his perverted version
oT ( hp PftiiJui d> . iiii,ijy ) but- the risi n g- goddcss^\yas probably
nn>^<>giJ!Ar^ Qff^ but Pa ndor' ^ of ^ ^nnii^ttrppg Persepho nN^ And
we want to know when Gaia was made human and personal
under her own name, not under any one of her many
doubles and disguises. Again the type of Kourotrophos,
the goddess holding children in her arms, goes back to
Mycenaean times*, but this does not attest the prehistoric
personification of Gaia herself, for we do not and can scarcely
hope to know the personal name of that prehistoric goddess.
No doubt the agency of art did assist the anthropo-
morphic development, but we cannot date its influence in
this process, and the personal godhead of Ge still seems to
have remained in the embryonic stage. And the reason of
this is that her name was Ge, and it was difficult for the
higher mythology and the higher anthropomorphic religion

* Baumeister, DtnkmaUr, Fig. 621. from the earth is illustrated by its

^ Roscber's Lexikon, vol. t, p. 1577, appearance on a Greco- Baddhi&t relief,

Fig. b. vide Buddhist Art in hidia^ Griinwedel,

^ The long continuance and preva- transl. by Gibson, p. 99, PI. 51.

lenccofthis type ofthe goddess emerging ** Anhacol. Anzei^, 1901, p. 130.

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to attach itself to so materialistic a name. Therefore this
cult has scarcely a point of contact with the more advanced
life of the race. Her oracles usually pass to another : Themis
breaks away from her: the early legal system of trials for
homicide, upon which society so much depended, finds its
religious support in the cult of the dead or of the Erinyes,
Apollo or Athena, while Ge remains far in the background.
It seems that she must disguise herself under other names,
that did not so immediately betray )he material fact, in order
to develop into active personality. As Pandora she could
become the bright centre of a human myth : as Aglauros she
could die for her country : as Themis she could become the
goddess of abstract justice : and, though only a half-formed
personality herself, she probably gave birth to many of
the most robust creations of polytheism. Rhea-Cybele had
a great religious career. But the brigRtest^Jof all Gaia's
emanations is Demeter.

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(References, p. 311.)

The worship to which this chapter is devoted is one of the
most important and fascinating in the whole Hellenic religion.
In the study of it we seem to have a picture revealed to us in
outline of the early agrarian life, of the social usages on which
the family was based, and also of the highest religious aspira-
tions of the people. The folk-lorist and the student of primi-
tive anthropology can gather much from it; and it also
contributes largely to our knowledge of the more advanced
religious thought in Europe. The primitive element in it is
bright and attractive, there is scarcely a touch of savagery, and
it is connected at many points with the higher life of the state.
\^^e mythology of the cult enthralled the Hellenic imagination
and inspired some of the noblest forms of art, and it appeals
to the modern spirit with its unique motives of tenderness and
pathos, with the very human type of the loving and bereaved

The attempt to explain the name Demeter has been onlyi
partly successful : there can be little doubt but that the latter
part of the word means * mother,* and this is a fact of some
importance, for it shows that the name and the worship is
a heritage of the Aryan population, and its universality in
Greece gives evidence against the theory that the presence of
the female divinity betrays the non- Aryan stock. The Greek
^ult may be regarded as merely a local development of the
N/European worship of the corn-mother or earth-mother. The
meaning of the prefix At} is uncertain : the old view that it was
a dialect-variant for earth, so that the compound signified
earth-mother, is etymologically unsound and improbable.
Perhaps Mannhardt*s theory *, that the first part of the word

• Afyt/i, Forsckuttgf p. 292 ; vide Mag. s,v, Aiydu- Arjal wpoiTayoptvovrai l/ir6
Frazcr, Golditt Boitgh, 2, p. 169 ; cf. Et, rwv Kpfjrw at tcptOai,

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/is akin to the Cretan ^r\ai = barley, a word formed from the
same stem as that which appears in (ia and (tia, deserves
more consideration.
\ ^ At all events, either term, ' earth-mother ' or ' corn-mother '

-snms up most of the myth and most of the cult of Demeter.
And the evidence makes it clear that her individuality was

Vrooted in the primitive and less developed personality of Gaia;
the ancients themselves discovered the fact or had remembered
it ^. And some of the titles of the two divinities, both in poetic
parlance and in actual cult, coincide, or reveal the identity of
nature. Demeter was worshipped as Xafxvvrj - at Olympia, and
the name was associated with the legend of the descent of
Hades ; we can scarcely doubt that it is a derivative from the
stem that appears in xayLaC^ and designates the goddess of the
ground. The cult must have been ancient and of high prestige,
for the priestess who administered it was given special prece-
dence at the Olympian games, and viewed them seated on an
altar as a semi-divine personage : the ministrant here doubtless
embodied the deity, a conception of the sacerdotal office which
we can trace in the earlier days of Hellas, but which tended to

I fade in the later period. The name EupwTra, better known as

I the name of the Cretan form of the earth-goddess, was applied

Ito Demeter at Lebadea ^, where Pausanias records the temple
of Demeter Eipdirrj in the grove of Trophonios, and informs
us that those who wished to descend into his grave and con-
sult his oracle must offer a preliminary sacrifice to her and
other divinities, and that the local legend regarded her as the
nurse of Trophonios. The spot was full of chthonian associa-
tions, a great centre of the worship of the nether powers, and
the legend throws a sidelight upon the belief— which we must
regard as very early — in some relation between an earth-

. goddess and an earth-god, for as such Trophonios must be
interpreted. With such an epithet of the earth as the * broad-
faced ' one we may compare the Sanskrit name Prthivi, ' the
broad one,* of the earth-goddess*. Another illustration from
Boeotia of the affinity between Demeter and Europa is the
worship of Demeter TavpoiroAoy at Copae".
• MacdoncU, Vcdic Mytkolosy^ p. 88.


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The same original nature of Demeter appears again in the
transparent epithet *Eupuo5€ta/ which was attached to her,
according to Hesjrchius, in her cult at Skarpheia \ And the
epithets which have been noted as occurring in the cult or
legend of Gaia, *Ai/7;<rt8«/>a, Kapro<^opoff, Kovpor/>o<^o9, XdovCa^
will be found to be appellatives of Demeter also.

Of the juxtaposition of the two divinities in actual worship
we have only two recorded instances, at Athens* and Patrae ^,
but the brighter and more developed cult may often have
suppressed the simpler and allowed no memory of it to

We may note also, in thii rnnnrYinn, thr nrnnnional idcTitifi
cation of fiarngter with the earth-goddess of Crete and ^Asia
/Xlinor, RHea-Cybeld, the divinity of orgiastic and violent rites,
/^vhose cSantetee— siQod in marked contrast to that of her
/ 1 Hellenic counterpart". Melanippides may have been thinking
H of Rhea when he called Demeter the * mother of the gods.*
But most explicit on this point is Euripides in the Helena :
' the mountain-ranging mother of the gods with fleet limb sped
o'er the wooded brakes, the flow of river waters and loud-
resounding sea-wave, in yearning for her vanished daughter of
name unspoken.' And the poet goes on to tell us that the tym-
panum, the badge of the Asiatic worship, was used to console
Demeter in her bereavement That Euripides should have
identified two divinities, whose ritual and legend were so
widely different, need not surprise us. He was rather given
to such dfOKpaaCa ; he had a conviction that Demeter was the
earth-goddess, and presumably he, like others, held the same
opinion about Rhea : and in both cases he was probably right.
And there seems to have been some brazen musical instrument
used in the mysteries of Demeter, of which the ritualistic
function was to summon back Persephone, and perhaps at the
same time to give warning to the uninitiated •, and the sound)
may have seemed to Euripides something like the wilder(
minstrelsy of the Cybele rites. This may be the explanationf
of Pindar's epithet x'^'^^'^P^'^^^ ^^^ ^^^ * brazen-soundingj

* Mr. Cook, in IIclL Jount. 1902, 'the, gong was sounded to ward off
p. 15, accepts O. Gruppe's view that /c]>(nonian powers.*

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Demeter.' One or two illustrations from actual cult-records
can be offered of this religious synthesis. In the Despoina-
worship at Akakesion in Arcadia, the MeyoAt; M^p appears
in some association with Despoina and Demeter. And the
worship at Mykalessos, where the temple of Demeter MvkoAtjo -
(Tia was supposed to be closed every night and opened by the
Idaean Heracles, one of the Dactyli, may point to some
popular correlation of Demeter to Rhea. Similarly, we hear
of the statue of Heracles, diminuti,ve as the Idaean Dactyli
were imagined to be, placed near ner statue at Megalopolis.
Finally, we have a fifth-century inscription from Amorgos,
in which Demeter is styled ' opir]' the mountain-goddess, an
epithet which we must suppose she has borrowed from Rhea-
Cybele ".

As earth-goddess, Demeter has functions that range beyond
.the obrn-field. She could be worshipped as the gjver of a ll
/v^tation and fruits, to whom the myrtle, the briony, the
/^rcissus were sacred ^* ; and thus we find such titles as
'Av77(ri6wpa at Phlye ^^, KapT:o<f>6po^ in many places ^^ Ma\o-
<t>6po9 at the Megarian Nisaea^". The last appellative is
explained by Pausanias as designating the goddess of sheep,
but we must interpret it rather in relation to the apple-orchard %
and in the same way must translate the invocation in Calli-
machus' hymn^\ *Feed our cattle, bring us apples, the
corn-stalk, and the harvest.' For it is worth observing that
Demeter has far less to do with the pastoral life than with the
cultivation of the soil : none of her appellatives suggest the
former, except perhaps ei^oaCa ^®, and it is not certain that she
was ever styled thus ; and though she might be worshipped
here and there, in Attica and Laconia, as the goddess of wells
and springs ^S they concern the tiller as much as the shepherd.
Her usual sacrificial animals are the bull and cow and the pig:
the former kind belong as much to agriculture as to pasturage,
and Demeter, like other divinities that had relations with the
earth, was worshipped as TavpovoKo^: the pig is the victim
specially consecrated to the powers of the lower. world. On

• Ahrens has shown that /aakor is Doric for apple, never for sheep, Dor. Dial,
i45» '53-

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the other hand, the goat * is not mentioned among her sacri-
ficial animals, and very rarely a sheep or ram \

An important cult was that of Demeter XAotj or EvxXoo?,
whose shrine on the south-west terrace on the Athenian Acro-
polis was for long the only habitation of the goddess in the
original city •. And this, too, she had to share with Kovpo-
Tp6<l>os. Therefore, though we may believe that the worship
of the earth-mother was primaeval in Athens and its vicinity, it
is probable that Demeter herself did not belong to the primary
stratum of Athenian religion. The ancient goddess of the
Polis was Athena ; and, as we have seen ^ much of the agri-
cultural myth and ritual, which elsewhere in Attica and
generally in Greece was associated with Demeter, was in
Athens consecrated to her. The cult of XAo>;, as other Demeter
cults, may have come to Athens after the incorporation of
Eleusis in the Athenian state. We have proof of it at Colo-
nus, in the Marathonian Tetrapolis, where the appellative
occurs without the proper name — a common phenomenon— at
Mykonos, and finally at Eleusis^®, perhaps the parent city of
the worship. Its chief claim on our attention is that it seems
to reveal a glimpse of the pre-anthropomorphic period when
the natural object itself might be conceived as animate
divine, and the personal deity had not yet clearly emerged
thus such religious perceptions as * Demeter the Verdure ' or
* Zeus the Thunder ' on the one hand, and Demeter the Verdure-
giver or Zeus the Thunderer on the other, may be the products
of widely different strata of religion. Again, the title XKaq or
Evx^oos might designate the goddess of young vegetation in
general or specially of com ; the scholiast on Sophocles refers
it to the verdure of the gardens, but probably it generally

* Bnt a dough effigy of a goat appears goat, unlets we take xp^^'^^P^ to apply

to ha?e been offered at Delos in the to the ox only : this latter view, which

Thesmopboria *^ and Prof. Newton is Mommsen*s, appears to me more

foimd the bones of goats among relics of probable, though the grammar is faulty,

odier animals in a deposit below the So far as I am aware there is only one

ground of the Cnidian temenos, Travels monument showing a goat-sacrifice (vide

in tk$ LevcaU^ 3. p. 183; and the Monuments of Demeter, ^. 2%o),
rptrroia fi6apxof Xfi^f^^^^P^ ^^^^ ^y ^ ^« 9» ^i, 60; Geogr. Reg. s.v.

an Athenian decree to the two Eleu- Kalymnos.
sinian goddesses'"* must include the ' VoL i. pp. 290, 391.
ni D


and /


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-^ signified the first growth of the crops, cereals being more

;/l important than flowers or fruits to the early society. Thus

I la late oracle delivered from Delphi to Athens speaks of the

J shrine of Demeter XAoiy and Kore on the Acropolis as the

Iplace where the first corn-stalk grew. And the festival of

I the XXoia at Eleusis ^'j coming in the Attic year after the

•threshing-festival/ the 'AXwo, and the 'straw-festival,* the

KoXafiaia, was certainly a cereal celebration. At Athens

the service of Demeter Chloc was hpld in early spring, when

they first saw the green com sprouting, and was accompanied

* with mirth and gladness ' : at Eleusis the date was probably

the same. At Mykonos we hear of her sacrifice occurring on

the twelfth of Poseidon, and if this month was here, as in the

Attic calendar, a winter month, we must regard the ritual as

of the nature of an evocation, to summon the spring and to

persuade the winter to go, just as we may explain much of the

winter service to Dionysos. The Athenian spring-sacrifice

must be distinguished, as Mommsen * has pointed out, from

that later service of Demeter Chloe, which, according to Philo-

chorus, took place on the sixth of Thargelion. This month

was never spring in Attica, the crops were ripening by

this date, and the harvest was near. Moreover, the sixth

f Thargelion was a day of purification and of mortifica-

ion at Athens. This sacrifice, therefore, unlike the former

joyous festival of early spring, was probably one of atoQfimfiOti

' a propitiation of the goddessjwhosft fnn'ts were about to be

^vgdthered. We have now evidence from all parts of the world,

and other evidence from Attica itself, of the harvest-process

being regarded as...a_dangerous act, which must be rigidly

guarded by many prior pSTcutar ceremonies.

Whatever may have been the exact connotation of XAot;
when it was first applied to her, there is no doubt that the
idea of the corn-mother belonged to the earliest conception
of Demeter, and was always by far the most prominent and
important in myth and cult. We may believe, in fact, that it
was specially to fulfil this function that she was originally
differentiated from the less cultured form of Gaia. The earliest

• Heortologie, pp. 9, 36, 54.


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literary records, the Homeric and Hesiodic poems", only-
recognize her as the corn-goddess. The only myth that
Hesiod narrates about her, besides her marriage with Zeus,
is the story of her loving intercourse with lasion in the Cretan
corn-field, of which Ploutos is the fruit; and Dr. Frazer*
aptly compares the German belief concerning the child bom
on the harvest-field. In the Works and Days, the two deities
to whom the husbandman is advised to pray, when he first
begins the ploughing, are Zeus Xdovio^^ the god of the soil and
the nether world, and ' Holy Demeter ' * in order that
Demeter's holy grain when ripe may yield a heavy crop.*
In other parts of the world the corn-sheaf itself appears almost

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