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identified with the goddess of com, the last sheaf for instance
being sometimes called *the mother/ *the grandmother,' or
* the maiden,' and being dressed up and worshipped as such.
A trace of this animistic conception, which probably in many
places preceded the anthropomorphic, has been supposed to
be discernible in ancient Greece. It may be lurking in the
Tanagran story of Eunostos, which will be examined in a later
chapter^ but as regards Demeter the evidence is lacking.
The phrase Aiy/x^epo? dicrrj is quite consistent with the an-
thropomorphic point of view. The line quoted by Plutarch
from the harvest poem *of a certain poet* speaks of the
reapers * cutting the limbs of Demeter ' ; but the verse has not
the ring of antiquity, and it is more likely that the phrase is
conscious metaphor, like Homer's impersonal use of Ares and
Hephaestos, than that it is the survival of a materialistic-
religious concept in which the deity and the thing were
confused. Again, the word lovAos has been taken by Usener *
as proving that the primitive Greek, like his Aryan kinsfolk
in early and late times, regarded the last sheaf of com as
animate with a corn-spirit, and his theory points to the
development of Demeter 'lovA« from the animate com-sheaf,
'lovAo;. But the careful examination of the texts does not
establish this : "lovXoy or oSAor seems originally to have been
a common noun, meaning not the last sheaf, but the sheafs

• Golden Bough », pp. 217, 218. ^ Vide Hero-cults, vol. 5, R. 328.

* Gottemament pp. 282, 285.

D a



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36 GREEK REUGION [chap.

bound together, the corn-stack ; then to have been applied to
the song which the reapers sang over the stacks ; finally, if we
can trust ApoUodorus, to a fictitious being, a hero, who was
evolved not from the corn-stack but from the song, as lalemos
and possibly Linos were evolved from the dirge* There
were certainly corn-heroes or corn-spirits in early Greece, and
the myth about them, as for instance about Eunostos, is
natural harvest-folklore ; but none of them reveal themselves
as animate corn-sheafs. Still lessjdoes Demeter. The dif-
ference between a Demeter 'lovAos — who is nowhere heard
of — and a Demeter *IovX« is the difference between a lower
and a higher stratum of religion separated by a period which
we cannot measure. Athenaeus * informs us that according to
Semos of Delos, on his treatise on paeans, ' the separate sheafs
used to be called 4|uu£Xai, but when stacked together the whole
stack was called oSAoy or UvKos^ and Demeter was styled at
one time XA077, at another 'louAw . . . and they call both the
fruit and the reapers' songs in honour of the goddess by the
same name ovAoi, tovAot (also ATjfiTyrpooAoi, harvest-songs in
honour of Demeter).* Then follows what seems like a refrain
of some such song 'bring forth plenteous stacks, plenteous
stacks.' The harvest song and the stack, then, were called
sometimes by the same name, and Demeter the stack-goddess
was called lovAw ; but Demeter is not called * the stack ' nor
identified with it. No doubt, as the husbandmen of nearly all
parts of the world have been in the habit, at some time or
other in the history of their race, of regarding the last sheaf
at the reaping as in some way divine, of addressing it in
personal terms, and perhaps giving it some touch of human
form, we can believe that the custom existed among ancestors
of the historic Greeks. And what people's ancestors were in
the habit of doing, it is always likely that some late descendant
will be found doing in some hole or comer. Still it is strange
that there is no record left us in Greece of these fetiches of the

^ Saidas, Et, Mag, Phot, s, v, ^Icvkot : r^t f!8cb aMit itaXov^iy, iip* Si¥ teaik rwv

ApoUod. ircpi eccvr, Miiller, F. H, G, $€piciw ^yft) AvrUparft,) The reapers*

I . p. 434. (KaBdwtp iw fjiiw tf^roif song in Theocritus may be intended as

IdXifwt, iw 8) Hftvoii 'lovAof , dtp>* &w teat a cuitiTated form of an lovXot '*.



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ii] DEMETER AND KORE^PERSEPHONE 37

harvest-field, these * corn-grandmothers, or corn-mothers or"
corn-maidens.' Nor is Dr. Frazer's explanation * that classical
writers ignored the uncouth habits of the country quite suffi-
cient to disarm the force of the argument from silence in this
case. For no one knows better than he the enthusiasm with
which Fausanias collected the strangest relics of savagery from
the Greek country side. Therefore Dr. Frazer's suggestion
put forward in a striking passage that Demeter and Proserpine,
those stately and beautiful figures of Greek mythology ^ were
probably evolved from the primitive corn-fetiches of the field,
lacks the one crucial point of evidence. Nor does he seem
sufficiently to realize that Demeter s whole character in worship
cannot be entirely explained as developed from a primitive
cult of a corn-mother. There is the shadowy jDersonaljt^^jrf'
an earth-goddess in the background, of larger dlWenSlonsthan
a com-sheaf, which lends magnitude and grandeur to the
Demeter-religion.

The titles that are broadcast in the records of the Greek
cults are sufficient testimony of the cereal functions of Demeter.
The field, the grain, and the farming operations are alike
under her sur\-eil lance, and she assumed appellatives from
them all : she was invoked as the goddess of the young corn
and the ripe, XaJ?;, *Q.pia ^ : 'kCqala, the goddess of spelt *^ : as
2trc5, 'Adr7<^ayta, Evcrrypfa '*, ^liiaXls **, *she who surfeits men with
abundance of food.' There is a boorish frankness in the epithets
' Ahrj<l>ayia, M<y4XapT05, McyoAo/uuxiby **, *she of the big loaf and
the big cake,' that tells us what the worship meant for the Sici-
lian and Boeotian rustic. The reapers hailed her as 'Afxata ^^
'AfioXXcH^po;^, 'louXci. She stood by the threshing-floor as
*AA(i><ly^* or EiaAoMrux *® ; perhaps she was supposed to lock
the door of the granary in her festival of 'EwucAcffiia ^* ^ ; and
possibly that mill-goddess who was called Eivotrro^, the goddess
who * gives a good yield ' to the flour, and who watched the
miller's dealings with the measure, was a &ded Demeter
whose proper name was lost *. Some of her appellatives, that
probably alluded to the corn-field, savour of great antiquity,

• Cc/den Bough*, vol. 2. p. 217. *> Op. dt. p. 216.

« Her(M:ults, vol. 5, R. 328.



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38 GREER REUGION [chap.

preserving obsolete words of which the meaning was lost or
obscured. We can understand the Attic cult of 'Otnrvia '^ ;
we gather from Suidas that the goddess was so-called because
the word denoted 'meadow/ or *food/ or *Demeter's fruits' ; of
more use is the statement by the scholiast on Nikander that
Callimachos employed the word oyL-nvai for sacrificial cakes
burned on the altars as offerings to the gods, especially to
Demeter. ^^^X^CJu^tr

But what does ITapiTravii^^ mean, or rAx€tjP<i,or *EA7}y?/pis -' ?
The ancients explained the last term as alluding to the
summer-heat which dries the com ; and for the same reason
she was called Kauoris, perhaps at Athens* and GtpiiaaCa,
both in the neighbourhood and the city of Hermione ^.

The corn-myth supports the corn-cult ; and the Attic-
£leusinian dogma that Demeter had taught mankind the
/priceless arts of agriculture, chiefly through her apostle
/ Triptolemos, became generally accepted in later Greece, sup-
pressing other myths that attributed the progress to other
local divinities or heroes. Only, as beans were tabooed at
Eleusis, a separate hero had to be invented as patron of the
bean-field, and we hear of a Kvofunys ijpm who is allowed no
connexion with Demeter \

For Demeter-worship in general we must again and again
turn to Attic records ; and it is the Attic agrarian feasts
which give us the most detailed and vivid picture of this side
of her character. Nearly all the more important of these are
dissociated with Eleusis rather than Atheyf^&riiu^e capital
Itself it was not Demeter but Athena and Apollo, a^has been
partly shown in a former chapter, to whom-Ae^tgfarian liturgy
of the year was mainly consecrated.

In arranging the Attic corn-festivals of Demeter, it is more
convenient to follow the months in their sequence in our year
rather than the Athenian. The advent of spring was marked
by the XAotto, or XXouz, a feast perhaps of Eleusinian origin,
which has been described above. There is no sure ground for
identifying this with the ITpoxapKmfpMi % which was another

* Hesych. s, v. icavffrtt, ° As has been done b^Bloch, Roscher*s

^ Hero-cults, R. 338. Lex. a. p. 1325, whose statement of the



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ii] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 39

early spring-ritual probably consecrated to Kore. At some
time after the XAJcia we may place the KaAafAaui, as we have
the right to suppose that the order in which the festivals are
mentioned in the Eleusinian inscription is chronological^*:
the name suggests a religious ceremony for the strengthening
of the stalks to produce a good yield of straw. At Eleusis
it was conducted by the demarch, and the ritual included
a procession, probably round the fields. That it was specially
consecrated to Demeter is proved by the inscription from
the Peiraeus"^^ which connects it with the Thesmophorion
there, and makes it appear that, like the Haloa and Thesmo-
phoria, it was specially a women's festival. There is no
special festival mentioned in the Attic calendar in honour of
the corn-goddess occurring just before the harvest, such as
was perhaps the YlpoXoy^a in Laconia * ; but the offering to
Demeter Wori on the sixth of Thargelion answered the same
purpose*. It is somewhat surprising to find no mention of '
Demeter at all in the record of the 0apy7|Xta, the Athenian
feast of the early harvest : it belongs to Apollo, and secondarily —
to Artemis.

The part that was assigned to Demeter and Kore in the
Skira or Skirophoria is one of the most intricate questions of
Attic festival-lore. It has been partly discussed in the
chapter on Athena **, and far more fully than would be here
relevant in A. Mommsen's FesU der Stadt A then **. That the
summer Skirophoria took place on the twelfth of Skirophorion
is well attested by the records : and the inscription^ published
by Prott and Ziehen in their Leges Sacrae^ and one found at
the Peiraeus^*** show that a festival was held in this same
month in the Tetrapolis and probably in the Peiraeus.

The explanation offered of the word by Mommsen, that
it means the ceremonious carrying of the ^ic^jgga^jjghitffi tarth,' .
or offerings laid in white earth, to be strewn over the land as
manure just after the harvest, appears probable • : and hey,^
rightly rejects the scholiast's suggestion of *the white um-

TLf>oxo-pi9TlipM\MmvAt2idv[ig\ vide infra, * pp. 3io» 313, 504-511.

p. 1 15. * p. 49» no- 26^ 11. 30, 3'-

• But ride infra, p. 48. • Op. cit. p. 315. We may accept this

^ Vide 1. p. 292, with references. suggestion without admitting the other




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40 GREEK REUGION [chap,

brella.* The agrarian intention of the whole ceremony seems
clear from the fact that the procession moved from the city
'•to a place called Skiron, where one of the three UpoX iporoi^
the annual ceremonious acts of ploughing, took place ^^ But
jthere was a diversity of opinion among the ancient authorities
as to the divinity to whom primarily the rite was consecrated.
Opinions wavered between Athena Skiras on the one hand
and Demeter with her daughter on the other. Mommsen
inclines to the view that the festival came to Athens from
Megara as a Demeter-feast*. But he gives no convincing
reason. That the procession moved to Skiron is evidence
against it, for this place is much nearer to Athens than to
Eleusis, and the sacred ploughing which took place there and
which was regarded as the most ancient institution of the three
had no association with Eleusis or Demeter. And on the
otKer hand, we know that the Athenians claimed priority for

\xAthena as their own agrarian goddess. It was she who had
taught them the use of the plough, and the Updi iporos that
was performed *v7ro ^oAir,' or beneath the old city was
probably consecrated to her, in company perhaps with Zeus ^".
She would then have a prior right to the Athenian Skirophoria,
a;ld as we find that it was her priestgss. who with the priests

^f Poseidon-Erechtheus ancf Helios (or rather Apollo) escorted
the IxCppa that were carried by the Eteobutadae, we may
naturally regard her as the aboriginal divinity of the rite^
Nevertheless, perhaps owing to the g^rowing influence of
Eleusinian worship, the mother and daughter won their place
yj(n this festival, and at last the claim was advanced that it
really belonged to them. Thus Clemens of A lexandria groups
the Thesmophoria and the Skirophoria together, as religious
plays representing the myth of the Rape of Proserpine®.
And the scholiast on Ludan goes so far as to declare that
the two were identical'**. The inscription from the Peiraeus

part of his theory that these were the ob- (which is not ceitain) he considers as

jects which were brought np out of the proving that it was originally Demeter*s.

subterranean adyton by the women at the I do not see the cogency of this reason.
Thesmophoria, and that the :Uipoip6pta « * Athena, R. 27**.

e€<rfUHp6fM, « Athena, R. 27 • •.

* The fact that it came from Megara



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ii] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 41

shows that here at least the IxCppa, which we gather were here
also a summer festival, belonged entirely to the Btal B^irixottfopoi ;
for its performance took place in or in connexion with the
0€(rixoif>6piov of the Peiraeus, women were the chief performers,
and no doubt they enacted the story of the mother's loss.
Moreover, we are given to understand that the Sxippa imposed
certain rules of purification and chastity upon the women •
who took part in it, and that *the Fleece of God ' was carried
in the procession. This \yas a m ost polenl puiificstlon^"^
charm, and war^iised^r^Jhis-pufpo^ at EteusiSi^jei^
placed by the 8aioi5x?)T-4mder the jfeet-jof- those w desired
purification from guilt ^ The special rule of "tinnporary
chastity is found again in the Thesmophoria, and such rules
are not infrequent in anci ent agrarian and harvest-ritual
elsewhere ^ Mommsen is inclined to refer those passages
that point to the presence of Demeter and Kore in the festival
rather to an autumn lKipo<f>6pia in Pyanepsion than to the
summer 2Kipo<f>6pia in Skirophorion. But it is hard to believe
in the existence of the former at all, in spite of the authority
quoted by Athenaeus ^, and in spite of the scholiast on Lucian.
The latter gives us some very valuable information about the
Thesmophoria (which were held in Pyanepsion) and is evidently
drawing from a good source. But his opening statement that
the Thesmophoria were actually the Skirophoria may be
due merely to a confused conclusion of his own drawn from
such passages as that in Clemens, where they are vaguely
collocated but clearly not identified. The reason for being
sceptical is a strong one. We can find no instance of the
same festival, designated by a special name such as Skirophoria
and giving its name to one of the months, occurring twice

• Pbot J. V, Tpomfkit . . . |y 8i roit tivtl — being performed at the time of
Ixipois r$ iopr^ fja$top aH6po9a' IrfMi the Xr^, but the 'n(rx<>^p(<^ ^'^^'^ <l n^^
Tov dvix^ffBai ^KtppoZufiw ... off ^(Ao- conducted hy the ephebi, the Ztcippa were
Xopof. a women*! sendee : nowhere else are the

^ Vide ToL i,Zeiis, R. 138. two connected at all. Aristodemus*

* Vide Frazer^ Go/den Bough\ vol. a. error can be easily explained by the fact
pp. 209-21 1. that the race of the Ephebi in the 'H^o-

' 'Apiffr69rjfAot iv rpir^ ntpl Tltyddpov^ <p6pia was to the temple of Athena Skiras
vide Athena, R. 27 ^ * : he speaks of the at Phaleron.
*n<rxo^<>pca~evidently an autumn fes-



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4a GREEK REUGION [chap.

over in the calendar year. We may find of course many
Dionysia, but each has its own special ritualistic name. We
do not find two Thargelia or two Anthesteria. And it is
hard to believe in two Skirophoria, undifferentiated by any
distinguishing term, in two months removed by such an
interval as June and October. The weight of the evidence,
including that of the inscriptions, the weightiest of all, obliges
us to place the 2ictpo0opui in summer. None of the ancient
authorities agree with Lucian's scholiast — whose statement
has something of a haphazard ana parenthetical character —
in connecting them with the ©ccr/uto^opto.

We should naturally expect that the great Attic festival
of Demeter would be in honour of harvest, and none of those
examined hitherto appear to have had this purpose. Harvest
thanksgivings may have occurred in each Attic village, per-
[ haps at slightly varying times, and the record may have been
lost. The national harvest festival may have come to be
considered identical with the Demeter -mystery of Eleusis;
but as its agrarian character was overlaid with a profounder
religious thought and faith, it will be reserved for discussion
till the end of this chapter.

Among the autumn ceremonies connected with this wor-
ship in Attica the one that we can feel the most confidence
about is the ispor^poaia ^®. The meaning of the name is ap-
parent: it points to a ritual or sacrifice that preceded the
ploughing, performed in accordance with a natural primitive
\thought partly to appea se the godd ess - for ploughing might
be regarded as a dangerous and violent intrusion into the
domain of the earth-deity — partly to secure her favour for
the coming harvest year. The ceremony then preceded the
ploughing-season : it also preceded the rising of Arcturos •,
if Hesychius' gloss be rightly read, which tells us that the
Ttpor\p6fna was also called vpoapKrovpia — a citation possibly
from Clitodemus. These indications then suggest a date
in September, somewhere before the middle. And this
accords with other evidence. The great mysteries that began

* The morning rising of Arcturos was in early Greece. Vide Hes. Op. 556,
an important date for autumn field-work 609.



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n] DEMETER AND KORE-PERSEPHONE 43

on the fifteenthji£. B oc Jiumiuu -are chronologically connected
with the TTp<nip6<ria in the Ephebi- inscriptions *•» ^•®, only
not in such a way as to prove which preceded and which
followed. Some connexion was probable for other reasons.
The scene of the itporjpoo'ia was Eleusis, probably the precincts
of the temple of the two goddesses. • We gather this from
one of the inscriptions, and from the passs^e at the beginning
of Euripides' Supplices^ where the scene is laid at Eleusis, and
the Athenian queen, Aithra, speaks : * To sacrifice in behalf
of the land's sowing, I chance to have left my palace and
to have come to this shrine, where first the fruit of the corn
was seen bristling above the earth. And ... I abide here
by the holy altars of the two goddesses Kore and Demeter.'
Demeter was the chief goddess in this service, and she seems
to have derived from it an appellative ttporipoaCa. We further
learn from an Eleusinian inscription that notice of * the Feast
of the Tipor^poaia ' was given — probably throughout the various
demes of Attica — by the Hierophantes and the Kerux, two of
the leading officials of the Eleusinian mysteries. And there
is reason for believing that it preceded the latter and by a
short interval only. For the aisapxaC or first-fruits of corn
which were sent to the Athenian state by its own citizens W"
and colonists and other Greek communities, were probably
delivered at the time of the Great Mysteries. This in-
deed is not told us in so many words. But they must
surely have been delivered at some great harvest festival of
Demeter, occurring at a date which would give time to any
Greek state in the Mediterranean world to send its quota after
its harvest was in. And if many states obeyed the call, as
for a time they may well have done, there would be a lai^e
concourse of strangers in Attica. All this points to the
Great Mysteries, the only festival of Demeter occurring at
a convenient time and attracting a vast number of visitors.
Now the legend about these iitapxaC was that in some time
of drought the Delphic oracle had bidden the Athenians I
sacrifice irpoT/poVia to Deo in behalf of the whole of Greece : I
the ritual proved effective, and in gratitude the other Greek
states sent their offerings of first-fruits. The story, which



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44



CREEK RELIGION



[chap.



*f



afforded fertile soil for Athenian vanity to work on, and
on which Isocrates preaches with much unction, may have
been suggested by a misunderstanding of the word vpotipoa-ia
as if it meant ' ploughing-sacrifice in behalf of somebody.'
But it could have had no irraisefnblaiice unless the 'npor\p6<ria^
the Panhellenic benefit for which those iirapxai were supposed
to be tokens of gratitude, had preceded the Great Mysteries,
where we have reason to believe they were delivered •.

As regards details of the ritual >we can gather but little :
we hear of the ofiering of oxen, ind there were probably
cereal offerings as well. And I would suggest that the pas-
sage of the S2(pplic€S gives us a clue leading to the belief that
the chief ministration of the TTporfpon-La, as of the ^Kippa and
other agrarian services, was in the hands of women. The
significance of this will be noted later \

At some time after the irpoi^poa-La must have followed the
* sacred ploughing ' of the Eleusinian holy field, the Rarian
plain ^'. This was the specially Eleusinian ritual, hallowed



* Dittenbcrger, in his new edition of
the Syihge^ n. 628, p. 424, argues from
the Eleusinian inscription (R. 16, Apollo,
R. 157), that the wporip6<na mnst have
fallen in Pyanepsion : after the inscrip-
tion has referred to the vporipocia on the
6fth, it then mentions, without any large
lacuia, a sacrifice to Apollo Pythios of
a goat on the seventh: this, he main-
tains, mnst be the seventh of Pyanepsion,
when the festival of the Pyanepsia took
place. But as the seventh day of each
month was sacred to Apollo, a sacrifice
' on the seventh * need not be a sacrifice
on the seventh of Pyanepsion. And we
have reason to donbt whether an animal-
sacrifice was permissible at the Pya-
nepsia, nor has the latter any clear con-
nexion with Elensis. The calendar
dates of line a and line 7 in this mvtilated
inscriptioo probably refer to the same
month : bnt fragment B, which gives ns
the expenses of a Pyanepsion festival —
the Thesmophoria — need not refer to
the same month as fragment A.

^ The accounts uf the npoijpocia have



been sometimes vitiated by the scholiasts
having blunderingly connected it with
the flptctuvrj, with which neither it nor
Demeter has annhing to do. Mann-
hardt's account of it, Antike Wold- wtd
Feld'Ktiltet p. 239, is confused and mis-
leading. The view I have uken of it
agrees in the main with Mommsen*s in
his FesU d, Stadt Athtn, 192-196 : but
he starts with the wrong assumption that
the wporfp6<na were a bloodless sacrifice
— and that in spite of the inscription
C, /. A. ii. 467 (vide R. 16)— which he
quotes, but to which he gives less wei^t
than to a vague passage in Max. Tyr.
c. 30, where I venture to think he has
missed the true meaning : the rhetorician
is only contrasting the harmless life of
the husbandman with the blood-stained
career of the soldier— he is not referring
to the difference between a blood-offer-
ing and a cereal sacrifice. Mommsen
is wrong also in his statement that the
wpoffpoina was never called an iopHf,
vide R. 16 (£pM. Arch. 1895, p. 99).



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%i] DELETER AND KORE^PERSEPHONE 45

by local legend, and distinct from the corresponding and in
some sense rival ceremony vird ir<JXii/, the Athenian Upo^
ipoTos. The antiquity of Demeter's worship on this small
tract of Eleusinian tillage is shown by the record of her idol
there, which according to Tertullian was a mere *informe ]/
lignum,' an agalma of the pre-Iconic, Mycenaean, or pre-
Mycenaean days.

All the produce was consecrated entirely to divine worship ;
the com was no doubt threshed on the * sacred threshing-floor
of Triptolemos,' that was adjacent and near an altar of the hero.

Nothing unclean might defile the field. In the accounts of
the stewards of the Eleusinian goddess we find the quaint



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