Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/mythology.asp?pg=47

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

E. M. Berens
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome

From, A Handbook of Mythology, New York 1886
{ } = Page Numbers in the print edition,   [ ] = Footnote Numbers

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HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

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MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 47

DEMETER (Ceres).

Demeter (from Ge-meter, earth-mother) was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.[24] She represented that portion of Gaea (the whole solid earth) which we call the earth's crust, and which produces all vegetation. As goddess of agriculture, field-fruits, plenty, and productiveness, she was the sustainer of material life, and was therefore a divinity of great importance. When ancient Gaea lost, with Uranus, her position as a ruling divinity, she abdicated her sway in favour of her daughter Rhea, who henceforth inherited the powers which her mother had previously possessed, receiving in her place the honour and worship of mankind. In a very old poem Gaea is accordingly described as retiring to a cavern in the bowels {51} of the earth, where she sits in the lap of her daughter, slumbering, moaning, and nodding for ever and ever.

[24] Some, with but little reason, make Demeter the daughter of Uranus and Gaea.

It is necessary to keep clearly in view the distinctive difference between the three great earth-goddesses Gaea, Rhea, and Demeter. Gaea represents the earth as a whole, with its mighty subterranean forces; Rhea is that productive power which causes vegetation to spring forth, thus sustaining men and animals; Demeter, by presiding over agriculture, directs and utilizes Rhea's productive powers. But in later times, when Rhea, like other ancient divinities, loses her importance as a ruling deity, Demeter assumes all her functions and attributes, and then becomes the goddess of the life-producing and life-maintaining earth-crust. We must bear in mind the fact that man in his primitive state knew neither how to sow nor how to till the ground; when, therefore, he had exhausted the pastures which surrounded him he was compelled to seek others which were as yet unreaped; thus, roaming constantly from one place to another, settled habitations, and consequently civilizing influences, were impossible. Demeter, however, by introducing a knowledge of agriculture, put an end, at once and for ever, to that nomadic life which was now no longer necessary.

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Cf. A Day in Old Athens * A Short History of Greek Philosophy
Toynbee, Ancient Greek History and the West * Livingstone, On the Ancient Greek Literature

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/mythology.asp?pg=47