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Form: in Greek mythology.
Daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her name signifies Mother Earth, the meaning being that she was goddess of agriculture and the civilization based upon it. Her children are, by Iasion, a son Plutus, the god of riches, and by her brother Zeus, a daughter Persephone. Round Demeter and this daughter centre her worship and the fables respecting her. Hfid6s carries off Persephone, and Demeter wanders nine days over the earth seeking her, till on the tenth day she learns the trutb from the all-seeing sun. She is wrath with Zeus for permitting the act of violence, and she visits Olympus and wanders about among men in the form of an old woman under the name of Deo or the Seeker, till at length, at Elensis, in Attica, she is kindly received at the house of king Celeus, and finds comfort in tend ing his newly born son Demophoon. Surprised by his mother in the act of trying to make the child immortal by putting it in the fire, she reveals her deity, and causes a temple to he built to her, in which she gives herself up to her grief. In her wrath she makes the earth barren, so that man kind are threatened with destruction by famine, as she does not allow the fruit of the earth to spring up again until her daughter is allowed to spend two-thirds of the year with her. On her return to Olympus she leaves the gift of corn, of agriculture, and of her holy mysteries with her host, as a token of grateful recollection. She sends Triptolemus the Eleusinian round the world on her chariot, drawn by serpents, to diffuse the knowledge of agriculture and other blessings accompanying it, the settlement of fixed places of abode, civil order, and wedlock. Thus Demeter was worshipped as the goddess of agriculture and foundress of law, order, and especially of marriage, in all places where Greeks dwelt, her daughter being usually associated with her. (See THESMOPHORIA.) The most ancient seat of her worship was Athens and Eleusis, where the Rharian plain was solemnly ploughed every year in memory of the first sowing of wheat. She was also much worshipped in Sicily, which from its fertility was accounted one of her favourite places of abode (see ELEUSINIA). As the goddess of fertility, Demeter was in many regions associated with Poseidon, the god of fertilizing water. This was particularly the case in Arcadia, where Poseidon was regarded as the father of Persephone. She was also joined with Dionysus, the god of wine, and, as mother of Persephone and goddess of the earth, to which not only the seed, but the dead are committed, she is connected with the lower world under the name of Chthonia. In later times she was often confused with Gaia and Rhea, or Cybele. Besides fruit and honeycombs, the cow and the sow were offered to her, both as emblems of productivity. Her attributes are poppies and ears of corn (also a symbol of fruitfulness), a basket of fruit and a little pig. Other emblems had a mystic significance, as the torch and the serpent, as living in the earth, and as symbolizing a renewal of life by shedding its skin. The Romans identified her with their own Ceres.

Pictures and Media
DEMETER OF ONIDUS. (British Museum.)
DEMETER.. (Mural painting from Pompeii.)
Type: Standard
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