Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As the wife of Hades, she is the dread queen of the world below. Her special name in Attic cult is Core (lit. "the Maiden"). As a maiden while plucking flowers (near Enna in Sicily, according to the story common in later times), she was carried off into the lower world by Hades on his car, with the consent of her father. To appease her mother's wrath, Zeus sent Hermes to bring her back; but, since she had eaten part of a pomegranate given her by Hades (i.e. had already become his wife), she could only spend two-thirds of the year in the upper world with her mother. At the end of that time she had always to return to her husband, and rule as the dark goddess of death; whereas, while with her mother, she was regarded as the virgin daughter, and the helper of the goddess who presides over the fertility of the earth. Hence Persephone is emblematic of vegetable life, that comes and goes with the changing seasons. In spring, when the seeds sprout up from the ground, she rises to her mother; when the harvest is over, and the vegetation dies, and the seed is laid again in the dark grave of earth, she returns to her subterraneous kingdom. From this notion of the seed buried in the dark earth and again rising to light was developed that conception of the myth as an image of immortality which lies at the base of the Eleusinian mysteries. To express her rising and descending, her festivals were celebrated in spring and after the harvest. In spring she was worshipped at the lesser Eleusinia in Attica, and at her flower-festival of the anthesphoria, in the Peloponnesus, but more especially in Sicily. In autumn, there was held in Attica the great Eleusinia; i.e. the wedding-feast on her marriage with the god of the lower world. She was generally worshipped together with her mother; hence they were spoken of as "the two goddesses." In the Eleusinian mysteries she was also connected with Dionysus, who, under the mystic name Iacchus, was regarded as her son, brother, or bridegroom. In later times she was confused with other divinities, especially Hecate, as the goddess of night and of the world of spirits. She was represented either as the young and beautiful daughter of Demeter, with cornucopia, ears of corn, and a cock, the emblem of her rising in spring, or as the grim spouse of Hades, with rich adornments and the symbolic pomegranate. (See cut, and cp.DEMETER, fig.1) The Roman name Proserpina is regarded by some as an altered form of the Greek Persephone; by others as a native name only accidentally similar to the Greek, denoting a goddess who assisted in the germination (proserpere) of the seed, and, owing to the similarity of the two goddesses, transferred to Persephone after the introduction of her cult as the divinity of the lower world. (See HADES; see also LIBITINA.)
CORE 100.00%
LIBERA 36.26%
The wife of the Italian wine-god Liber; identified with the Greek Persephone. (See DIONYSUS, last par.)
The deities who rule under the earth or who are connected with the lower world, as Hades, Pluto, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Hecate, and Hermes.
DEMETER 18.54%
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.
BENDIS 16.91%
A goddess of the moon among the Thracians. She was invested with power over heaven and earth, and identified by the Greeks with Artemis, Hecate, and Persephone. The worship of this goddess wasintroduced into Attica by Thracian aliens; and was so popular that in Plato's time it became a state ceremonial at Athens. A public festival was instituted called the Bendideia, at which there were torch-races and a solemn procession of Athenians and Thracians at the Piraeus.
The beautiful son of the river-god Cephisus. He rejected the love of the Nymph Echo (q.v.), and Aphrodite punished him for this by inspiring him with a passion for the reflexion of himself which he saw in the water of a fountain. He pined away in the desire for it: to see one's reflexion in the water was hence considered as a presage of death. The flower of the same name, into which he was changed, was held to be a symbol of perishableness and death, and was sacred to Hdd6s, the divinity of the world below. Persephone had just gathered a narcissus, when she was carried off by Hades.
Son of Celeus of Eleusis and Metanira. He was tended in infancy by Demeter, when, in her search for Persephone, she came to Eleusis in the form of an old woman. Demeter found comfort in the care of the child, and wished to confer immortality on him by anointing him with ambrosia and holding him at night over the fire. The interference of the mother, however, prevented the fulfilment of her design (see DEMETER). Triptolemus in some versions takes the place of Demophoon (see TRIPTOLEMUS).
CERES 12.78%
An old Italian goddess of agriculture. The Ceres who was worshipped at Rome is, however, the same as the Greek Demeter. Her cultus was introduced under the Italian name at the same time as that of Dionysus and Persephone, who in the same way received the Italian names of Liber and Libera. It was in 496 B.C., on the occasion of a drought, that the Sibylline books ordered the introduction of the worship of the three deities. This worship was so decidedly Greek that the temple dedicated on a spur of the Aventine in 490 B.C., over the entrance to the Circus, was built in Greek style and by Greek artists; and the service of the goddess, founded on the Greek fable of Demeter and Persephone, was performed in the Greek tongue by Italian women of Greek extraction. The worshippers of the goddess were almost exclusively plebeian. Her temple was placed under the care of the plebeian aediles, who (as overseers of the corn market) had their official residence in or near it. The fines which they imposed went to the shrine of Ceres, so did the property of persons who had offended against them, or against the tribunes of the plebs. Just as the Patricians entertained each other with mutual hospitalities at the Megalesian games(April 4-10), so did the Plebeians at the Cerealia, or games introduced at the founding of the temple of Ceres. Those held in later times were given by the aediles from the l2th-19th April, and another festival to Ceres, held in August, was established before the Second Punic War. This was celebrated by women in honour of the reunion of Ceres and Proserpina. After fasting for nine days, the women clothed in white, and adorned with crowns of ripe ears of corn, offered to the goddess the firstfruits of the harvest. After 191 B.C. a fast (ieiunium Cereris) was introduced by command of the Sibylline books. This was originally observed every four years, but in later times was kept annually on the 4th of October. The native Italian worship of Ceres was probably maintained in its purest form in the country. Here the country offered Ceres a sow (porca praecidanea) before the beginning of the harvest, and dedicated to her the first cuttings of the corn (praemetium). (See DEMETER.)
ADMETUS 12.19%
Son of Pheres, king of Pherae in Thessaly, who took part in the Calydonian boar-hunt and the voyage of the Argo. Apollo served him for a time as a shepherd, either from love and as a reward for his piety, or to expiate a capital crime. When Admetus wooed Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, and her father would only give her to one who should yoke lions and boars to a chariot, he fulfilled the task with Apollo's help; indeed, the god even prevailed on the Moirai to release him from death, provided that any one would volunteer to die for him. He is at length seized with a mortal sickness, and his aged parents refusing to give up the remnant of their days for him, Alcestis dies for her husband, but is sent back to the upper world by Persephone, or, according to another story, is rescued out of the hands of Hades by Heracles.
The two mystic festivals of Demeter and her daughter Persephone (Core) celebrated in Attica. They took their name from the city of Eleusis, twelve miles distant from Athens. This was, from time immemorial, a seat of the worship Of Demeter, instituted, it was said, by the goddess herself after the disappearance of her daughter. (See DEMETER.) The worship of Dionysus was early associated with that of the two goddesses of the earth, for Dionysus was himself a god of fertility, worshipped here under the name of Iakchos, as son of Zeus and Demeter or Persephone. The ritual of the Eleusinian service was supposed to have been ordained by Eumolpus (see EUMOLPUS). The conquest of Eleusis, which took place, according to the story, under king Erechtheus, gave Athens a right to take part in the solemnity, and the lesser of the two festivals was actually celebrated in Athens. Eleusis, however, continued to be the chief seat of the worship, and the highest priesthoods were hereditary in the Eleusinian families of the Eumolpidae and Kerykes. The sanctity which shrouded the Eleusinian mysteries occasioned the foundation of Eleusinia on their model in other Greek cities. But the initiations at Eleusis were always accounted the most sacred and the most efficacious. The events celebrated in the mysteries were the descent of Persephone into the world below, and her return to light and to her mother. The former was celebrated at the greater Eleusinia between autumn and seed-time; the latter in spring at the lesser Eleusinia. The symbolical representation of both events had the same object. This was to excite and strengthen in the minds of the initiated, by means of the story of Persephone, the faith in the continuance of life, and a system of rewards and punishments after death. The right of initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries was in all probability restricted originally to inhabitants of Attica, but it was not long before it was extended to all Greeks. In later times, after their closer connexion with the Greeks, the Romans were also admitted. Barbarians were excluded, and so were all who had been guilty of murder, or any other serious offence. The neophyte was proposed for initiation by an Athenian citizen who had himself been initiated. He was admitted first to the lesser mysteries at the lesser Eleusinia. At this stage the candidates were termed Mystoe, and were allowed to take a limited part in the greater Eleusinia the next autumn. They were not initiated, however, into the greater mysteries, until the greater Eleusinia succeeding these ; and after their initiation were called epoptoe, or seers. The external arrangement of the festival was in the hands of the second archon, or Archon Basileus, who exercised a general superintendence over the whole of the public worship. He was assisted by four overseers (epimeletoe), two of whom were elected from the whole body of citizens, and two from the Eleusinian families of the Eumolpidae and Kerykes.[1] The high-priestly officials, who carried out the liturgical functions at the celebration, were also chosen from these two families. The Hierophantes, or chief priest, belonged to the house of Eumolpus. It was his duty to exhibit to the initiated the mysterious shrines, and probably to lead the performance of the hymns handed down from his ancestors. The Keryx, or herald, was of the house of the Kerykes. He summoned the initiated, in the traditional form of words, to worship, pronouncing for them the form of prayer. The Daduchos or torch-bearer, and the superintendent of the sacrifice, were also important officials. The lesser Eleusinia were celebrated in the month Anthesterion, which corresponded roughly to February. The service was performed at Agrae, a suburb of Athens on the Ilissus. in the temple of Demeter and Core, and accompanied by mystical rites, the nature of which is unknown. It was said to have been founded at the wish of Heracles, who, being a stranger, was excluded by usage from the greater Eleusinia. The great Eleusinia were celebrated in the middle of Boedromion (roughly = September), for a space probably of nine days. The first days were devoted to the preparation for the main festival, bathing in the sea, sacrifices of purification, and the like. On the sixth day, the 20th Boedromion, the immense multitude of mystae, in festal attire and crowned with myrtle, marched in procession along the sacred way to Eleusis, preceded by the image of Iokchos, who gave his name to the celebration. Much time was spent, partly in the performance of acts of devotion at the numerous holy places on the road, partly in merriment and banter; so that it was late in the evening before they arrived at the Telesterion, or house of initiation, at Eleusis. This was a magnificent temple erected by Pericles in place of the ancient temple of Demeter, which had been burnt down in the Persian War. During the following nights various celebrations took place at those spots in Eleusis and its neighbourhood which were hallowed in the story of the goddess. In these were represented the sorrowful searching of the goddess for her lost daughter, and the mother's joy at finding her. The transition from sorrow and fasting to joy and festivity was symbolized by the potion mixed of water, meal, and penny-royal, supposed to have been the first food tasted by Demeter after her reception in Eleusis. It was probably while, these celebrations were going on that the Epoptae, and the Mystae who were called totheir final initiation, took part in the mysteries proper. Mysterious rites were first, it would seem, performed in darkness, which threw the celebrants into a state of painful suspense and expectation. Then, in a dazzling light, and amid great splendour, the Hierophantes showed them certain shrines of the goddess and Iakchos, explaining their meaning; holy songs being meantime performed, partly by himself, partly by choirs with instrumental accompaniment. The climax of the whole was the sacred drama, a representation of the story of the three goddesses in the worlds above and below. The festival was brought to a close by a libation of water from two vessels in the shape of a top (plemochoe). The water was poured in the direction of east and west with mystical formulae. The ancients speak of the revelations made in the mysteries as having a beneficial influence on morality, pointing as they did to reward and punishment after death. They represent them farther as giving comfort in the trials and sufferings of life, and as opening brighter hopes after death. It is certain that there were few citizens of Athens who were not initiated; many who neglected the rite early in life were initiated in old age. For in the popular belief the initiation conferred a claim to the joys promised in the mysteries to the good after death. The Eleusinian mysteries maintained their position for a long time. Among the Romans, men of the highest rank, as, for instance, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, deigned to receive the initiation. When the Christian emperor Valentinian put an end to all religious celebrations by night, he excepted the Eleusinia, which continued in existence till they were abolished by Theodosius towards the end of the 4th century A.D.
According to the belief current among the Greeks, the world of the dead, or the spacious abode of Hades, with its wide doors, was in the dark depths of the earth. In the Odyssey, its entrance and outer court are on the western side of the river Oceanus, in the ground sacred to Persephone, with its grove of barren willows and poplars. Here is the abode of the Cimmerians, veiled in darkness and cloud where the sun never shines. The soil of this court, and indeed of the lower world in general, is a meadow of asphodel, an unattractive weed of dreary aspect usually planted on graves. The actual abode of the subterranean powers is Erebos, or the impenetrable darkness. In later times entrances to the lower world were imagined in other places where there were cavernous hollows which looked as if they led into the bowels of the earth. Such places were Hermione and the promontory of Taenarum in the Peloponnese, Heraclea on the Euxine, and Cumae in Italy, where the mythical Cimmerli were also localized. The lower world of Homer is intersected by great rivers, the Styx, the Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of cries), a branch of the Styx, Phlegethon and Pyriphlegethon (rivers of fire). The last two unite and join the waters; of the Acheron. In the post-Homeric legend, these rivers are represented as surrounding the infernal regions, and another river appears with them, that of Lethe, or oblivion. In the waters of Lethe the souls of the dead drink forgetfulness of their earthly existence. The lower world once conceived as separated from the upper by these rivers, the idea of a ferryman arose. This was Charon, the son of Erebos and of Nyx, a gloomy, sullen old man, who takes the souls in his boat across Acheron into the realm of shadows. The souls are brought down from the upper world by Hermes, and pay the ferryman an obolos, which was put for this purpose into the mouths of the dead. Charon has the right to refuse a passage to souls whose bodies have not been duly buried. In Homer it is the spirits themselves who refuse to receive any one to whom funeral honours have not been paid. At the gate lies the dog Cerberus, son of Typhaon and Echidna. He is a terrible monster with three heads, and mane and tail of snakes. He is friendly to the spirits who enter, but if anyone tries to got out he seizes him and holds him fast. The ghosts of the dead were in ancient times conceived as incorporeal images of their former selves, without mind or consciousness. In the Odyssey the seer Tiresias is the only one who has retained his consciousness and judgment, and this as an exceptional gift of Persephone. But they have the power of drinking the blood of animals, and having done so they recover their consciousness and power of speech. The soul therefore is not conceived as entirely annihilated. The ghosts retain the outer form of their body, and follow, but instinctively only, what was their favourite pursuit in life. Orion in Homer is still a hunter, Minos sits in judgment as when alive. Perhaps the punishments inflicted in Homer on Tityus, Tantalus, and Sisyphus (for Ixion, the Danaides, Peirithous, and others belong to a later story) should be regarded in this light. The penalties inflicted on them in the upper world may be merely transferred by Homer to their ghostly existence. For the idea of a sensible punishment is not consistent with that of an unconscious continuance in being. It must be remembered, at the same time, that Homer several times mentions that the Erinyes punish perjurers after death. We are forced then to conclude that the ancient belief is, in this instance, found side by side with the later and generally received idea, that the dead, even without drinking blood, preserved their consciousness and power of speech. Connected with it is the notion that the have the power of influencing men's life on earth in various ways. The most ancient belief knows nothing of future rewards of the righteous, or indeed of any complete separation between the just and the unjust, or of a judgment to make the necessary awards. The judges of the dead are in the later legend Minos, Rhadamanthys, Aecus, and Triptlemus. It was a later age, too, which transferred Elysium and Tartarus to the lower world, Elysium as the abode of the blessed, and Tartarus as that of the damned. In the earlier belief these regions had nothing to do with the realm of Hades (See HADES). The name Tartarus was in later times often applied to the whole of the lower world. The ghosts of those who had lived a life of average merit were imagined as wandering on the asphodel meadow. In general it must be said that the ancient ideas of a future life were always subject to considerable changes, owing to the influence of the doctrines taught in the mysteries, and the representations of poets, philosophers, sculptors, and painters (see POLYGNOTUS). The general tendency was to multiply the terrors of Hades, especially at the gates, and in Tartarus. (For the deities cf the lower world see HADES, PERSEPHONE, and ERINYES.) The Greek beliefs on the subject found their way to Rome through the instrumentality of the poets, especially Vergil. But they did not entirely supplant the national traditions. (See ORCUS, MANIA, MANES, LARES, and LARVAe. )
sometimes Dionysus (Greek). The god of luxuriant fertility, especially as displayed by the vine; and therefore the god of wine. His native place, according to the usual tradition, was Thebes, where he was born to Zeus by Semele, the daughter of Cadmus. Semele was destroyed by the lightning of her lover, and the child was born after six months. Zeus accordingly sewed it up in his thigh till ripe for birth and then gave it over to Ino, the daughter of Semele. (See ATHAMAS.) After her death Hermes took the boy to the nymphs of Mount Nysa, or according to another version, to the Hyades of Dodona, who brought him up, and hid him in a cave away from the anger of Hera. It cannot be ascertained where Mount Nysa was originally supposed to be. In later times the name was transferred to many places where the vine was cultivated, not only in Greece, but in Asia, India, and Africa. When grown up, Dionysus is represented as planting the vine, and wandering through the wide world to spread his worship among men, with his wine-flushed train (thiasos), his nurses and other nymphs, Satyrs, Sileni, and similar woodland deities. Whoever welcomes him kindly, like Icarius in Attica, and CEneus in Aetolia, receives the gift of wine; but those who resist him are terribly punished. For with all his appearance of youth and softness, he is a mighty and irresistible god, strong to work wonders. A whole series of fables is apparently based upon the tradition that in many places, where a serious religious ritual existed, the dissolute worship of Dionysus met with a vigorous resistance. (See LYCURGUS, MINYADAe, PENTHEUS, PRCETUS.) This worship soon passed from the continent of Greece to the wine-growing islands, and flourished pre-eminently at Naxos. Here it was, according to the story, that the god wedded Ariadne. In the islands a fable was current that he fell in with some Tyrrhenian pirates who took him to their ship and put him in chains. But his fetters fell off, the sails and the mast were wreathed in vine and ivy, the god was changed into a lion, while the seamen throw themselves madly into the sea and were turned into dolphins. In forms akin to this the worship of Dionysus passed into Egypt and far into Asia. Hence arose a fable founded on the story of Alexander's campaigns, that the god passed victoriously through Egypt, Syria, and India as far as the Ganges, with his army of Sileni, Satyrs, and inspired women, the Maenades or Bacchantes, carrying their wands (thyrsi) crowned with vines and ivy. Having thus constrained all the world to the recognition of his deity, and having, with Heracles, assisted the gods, in the form of a lion, to victory in their war with the Giants, he was taken to Olympus, where, in Homer, he does not appear. From Olympus be descends to the lower world, whence he brings his mother, who is worshipped with him under the name of Thyone (the wild one), as Leto was with Apollo and Artemis. From his mother he is called Thyoneus, a name which, with others of similar meaning, such as Bacchus, Bromios, Evios, and Iacchos, points to a worship founded upon a different conception of his nature. In the myth with which we have been hitherto concerned, the god appears mainly in the character and surroundings of joy and triumph. But, as the god of the earth, Dionysus belongs, like Persophone, to the world below as well as to the world above. The death of vegetation in winter was represented as the flight of the god into hiding from the sentence of his enemies, or even as his extinction, but he returned again from obscurity, or rose from the dead, to new life and activity. In this conexion he was called Zagreus ("Torn in pieces") and represented as a son of Zeus and his daughter Persephone, or sometimes of Zeus and Demeter. In his childhood he was torn to pieces by the Titans, at the command of the jealous Hera. But every third year, after spending the interval in the lower world, he is born anew. According to the Orphic story, Athene brought her son's heart to Zeus, who gave it to Semele, or swallowed it himself, whereupon the Theban or younger Dionysus was born. The grave of Dionysus was shown at Delphi in the inmost shrine of the temple of Apollo. Secret offerings were brought thither, while the women who were celebrating the feast woke up Licnites; in other words, invoked the new-born god cradled in a winnowing fan, on the neighbouring mountain of Parnassus. Festivals of this kind, in celebration of the extinction and resurrection of the deity, were held by women and girls only, amid the mountains at night, every third year, about the time of the shortest day. The rites, intended to express the excess of grief and joy at the death and reappearance of the god, were wild even to savagery, and the women who performed them were hence known by the expressive names of Bacchae, Maenads, and Thyiades. They wandered through woods and mountains, their flying locks crowned with ivy or snakes, brandishing wands and torches, to the hollow sounds of the drum, and the shrill notes of the flute, with wild dances, and insane cries and jubilation. The victims of the sacrifice, oxen, goats, even fawns and roes from the forest, were killed, torn in pieces and eaten raw, in imitation of the treatment of Zagreus by the Titans. Thrace, and Macedonia, and Asiatic Greece were the scene of the wildest orgies; indeed Thrace seems to be the country of their birth. In Asiatic Greece, it should be added, the worship of Dionysus-Zagreus came to be associated with the equally wild rites of Rhea (Cybele), and Atys, and Sabus or Sabazius. (See SABAZIUS.) In Greece Proper the chief seats of these were Parnassus, with Delphi and its neighbourhood, Baeotia, Argos, and Laconia, and in Baeotia and Laconia especially the mountains Chitaeron and Taygetus. They were also known in Naxos, Crete, and other islands. They seem to have been unknown in Attica, though Dionysus was worshipped at the Eleusinian mysteries with Persephone and Demeter, under the name of Iacchos, as brother or bridegroom of Persephone. But the Attic cycle of national festivals in honour of Dionysus represents the idea of the ancient and simple Hellenic worship, with its merry usages. Here Dionysus is the god who gives increase and luxuriance to vineyard and tree. For he is a kindly and gentle power, terrible only to his enemies, and born for joy and blessing to mankind. His gifts bring strength and healing to the body, gladness and forgetfulness of care to the mind, whence he was called Lyaeos, or the loosener of care, They are ennobling in their effects, for they require tending, and thus keep men employed in diligent labour; they bring them together in merry meetings, and inspire them to music and poetry. Thus it is to the worship of Dionysus that the dithyramb and the drama owe their origin and development. In this way Dionysus is closely related, not only to Demeter, Aphrodite, Eros, the Graces and the Muses, but to Apollo, because he inspires men to prophesy. The most ancient representation of Dionysus consists of wooden images with the phallus, as the symbol of generative power. In works of art he is sometimes represented as the ancient Indian Dionysus, the conqueror of the East. In this character he appears, as in the Vatican statue called Sardanapalus, of high stature, with a luxuriant wealth of hair on head and chin (comp. fig. 1). Sometimes again, as in numerous statues which have survived, he is a youth of soft and feminine shape, with a dreamy expression, his long, clustering hair confined by a fillet or crown of vine or ivy, generally naked, or with a fawn or panther skin thrown lightly over him. He is either reposing or leaning idly back with the Thyrsos, grapes, or a cup in his hand (fig. 2). Often, too, he is surrounded by the fauns of his retinue, Maenads, Satyrs, Sileni, Centaurs, etc., or by Nymphs, Muses, Cupids, indeed in the greatest possible number and variety of situations. (See the engravings.) Besides the vine, ivy, and rose, the panther, lion, lynx, ox, goat, and dolphin were sacred to him. His usual sacrifices were the ox and the goat. In Italy the indigenous god Liber, with a feminine Libera at his side, corresponded to the Greek god of wine. Just as the Italian Ceres was identified with Demeter, so these two deities were identified with Dionysus, or Iakchos, and Persephone, with whom they were worshipped under their native name, but with Greek rites, in a temple on the Aventine. (See CERES.) Liber or Bacchus, like Dionysus, had a country and an urban festival. The country festivities were held, with unrestrained merriment, at the time of grape-gathering and straining off the wine. The urban festival held in Rome on the 17th March, was called Liberalla. Old women, crowned with ivy, sold cheap cakes (liba) of meal, honey, and oil, and burnt them on little pans for the purchasers. The boys took their toga virilis or toga libera on this day, and offered sacrifice on the Capitol. Side by side with this public celebration, a secret worship, the Bacchanalia, found its way to Rome and into the whole of Italy. The Bacchanatia were celebrated by men and women, in Italy outside the cities, in Rome in the sacred enclosure of Stimula or Semele. They were accompanied with such shameless excesses that in 186 B.C. they were put down, with unsparing severity, by a decree of the senate.
SELENE 9.42%
The Greek goddess of the moon, daughter of the Titan Hyperion and Theia, sister of Helios and Eos. She was described as a beautiful woman with long wings and golden diadem, from which she shed a mild light [Homeric Hymn xxxii 7], riding in a car drawn by two white horses or mules or cows. The horns of the latter symbolised the crescent moon. In later times she was identified with Artemis (or else with Hecate and Persephone), as was Helios with Phoebus Apollo, and therefore was herself called Phoebe. After this she was also regarded as a huntress and archer, recognisable by her crescent as the goddess of the moon. She was worshipped on the days of the new and full moon. She bore to Zeus a daughter Pandia, worshipped at Athens with her father at the festival of Pandia (Dem., Or. 21 § 9]. On her love for Endymion, see ENDYMION.
Son of Dia by her husband Ixion, or (according to another account) by Zeus; prince of the Lapithae, and friend of Theseus. When he was celebrating, on Mount Pelion, his marriage with Hippodamia, daughter of Atrax, one of the Lapithae, there arose the celebrated battle between the Lapithae and the Centaurs, which ended in the defeat of the latter. The Centaurs and the most distinguished Greek heroes had been invited to the wedding; but one of the former, Eurytion, in drunken boldness, attempted to carry off the bride, and, following his example, the other Centaurs fell upon the women of the Lapithae. Since Theseus and one of the Lapithae, Caeneus (q.v.), rescued the bride, Peirithous assisted the former in the abduction of Helen. Accompanied by Theseus, Peirithous descended into the world below, in order to carry off Persephone, and was compelled to pine there in everlasting chains as a punishment, while Theseus (q.v.) was released by Heracles. Peirithous' son Polypoetes marched to Troy with Leonteus, the grandson of Caeneus, and after the fall of Troy is said to have founded with him the city of Aspendus in Pamphylia.
The famous blind soothsayer of Thebes, son of Eueres and Chariclo, and a descendant of the Spartan Udaeus. The cause of his blindness has been variously stated. According to one tradition, the gods took his sight away when he was seven years old, because he revealed to men things which they ought not to have known. According to another, he became blind when, on his seeing Athene in the bath, she splashed water into his eyes. When invoked by his mother, the goddess could not restore his sight, but endued him with a knowledge of the language of birds, and presented him with a staff, by means of which he could walk like a man with perfect vision. According to a third account, he was blinded by Hera, because in a dispute between her and Zeus he decided against her, and Zeus compensated him by granting him the gift of prophecy and a life seven (or nine) times as long as that of other men. He is also said to have been changed into a woman for a short time. He plays an important part in the story of (Edipus and the wars against Thebes. In the wars of the Seven against Thebes he declared that the Thebans would be victorious if Creon's son Menoeceus were to sacrifice himself. In the war of the Epigoni he advised the Thebans to enter into negotiations for peace, and to avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to take to flight. During the flight, or else at the conquest of Thebes by the Epigoni, he was made a prisoner, and with his daughter Manto (q.v.), who also possessed the gift of prophecy, was consecrated to the service of the Delphian Apollo. He died at the well Tilphossa, near Haliartus, where his grave was pointed out, while he was also honoured by a cenotaph in Thebes. Homer [Od. xi 90-151] represents him as carrying his golden staff as soothsayer even in the world below, when Odysseus consults him as to his way home; and of all the shades, he alone, by favour of Persephone, possesses unimpaired memory and intellect [Od. x 495]. He had an oracle at Orchomenus in Boeotia, which is said to have ceased to give responses after a plague.
(i.e. "the crafty"). The son of Aeolus, brother of Athamas, husband of the Pleiad Merope. His son is Glaucus, the father of Bellerophon. He is regarded as the builder of Ephyra, (afterwards Corinth) and as originator of the Isthmian Games. In legends he appears as extremely cunning and crafty; in Homer he is called the "slyest of all men" [Il. vi 153]. The reason why he is punished in the other world, where he is forced for ever to keep on rolling a block of stone to the top of a steep hill, only to see it roll again to the valley, and to start the toilsome task again [Od. xi 593], is not mentioned by Homer; and later legends vary on this point. According to the account which gives the best idea of his cunning, Sisyphus discloses to the rivergod Asopus, in search of his daughter Aegina (see AeACUS), how she had been carried off by Zeus; but this information was not given until Asopus has satisfied the condition laid down by Sisyphus, by creating the spring Peirene, which ever after supplied the citadel and town of Corinth [Pausanias ii 5 § 1]. Zeus desires to kill Sisyphus as a punishment for revealing the facts, and sends Death to him; but Sisyphus fetters Death in strong chains, and no one dies, till at last Ares sets him free and hands Sisyphus over to him. But be commands his wife not to inter him, and succeeds in persuading Pluto and Persephone to let him return for awhile to the upper world in order to punish her want of love. Having no desire to return to Hades, he forgets his promise, and eventually Hermes has to come and fetch him. In the post-Homeric legends Odysseus, on account of his cunning, is made the son of Sisyphus and Anticleia [Sophocles, Ajax 190, Phil. 417; Eur., Iph. at Aulis, 524].
ADONIS 6.66%
Sprung, according to the common legend, from the unnatural love of the Cyprian princess Myrrha (or Smyrna) for her father Cinyras, who, on becoming aware of the crime, pursues her with a sword ; but she, praying to the gods, is changed into a myrtle, out of whose bark springs the beautiful Adonis, the beloved of Aphrodite. While yet a youth, he dies wounded by a boar in hunting; the goddess, inconsolable, makes the anemone grow out of his blood. As she will not give up her darling, and Persephone has fallen in love with him, Zeus decrees that he shall pass half the year with one and half with the other goddess. Adonis (- lord) was properly a Syrian god of nature, a type of vegetation, which after a brief blossoming always dies again. The myth was embodied in a yearly Feast of Adonis held by women, which, starting from Byblos in Syria, the cradle of this worship came by way of Cyprus to Asia Minor and Greece, then under the Ptolemies to Egypt and in the imperial age to Rome. When the river Adonis by Byblos ran red with the soil washed down from Lebanon by the autumn rain, they said Adonis was slain by the boar in the mountains, and the water was dyed with his blood. Then the women set out to seek him, and having found a figure that they took to be his corpse, performed his funeral rites with lamentations as wild as the rejoicings that followed over his resurrection were licentious. The feast was held, in the East, with great magnificence. In Greece the celebration was much simpler, a leading feature being the little "Adonis-gardens," viz. pots holding all kinds of herbs that come out quickly and as quickly fade, which were finally thrown into the water. At the court of Alexandria a figure in costly apparel was displayed on a silver bier, and the next morning carried in procession by the women to the sea, and committed to the waves. In most places the feast was held in the hottest season.
SIRENS 5.40%
The virgin daughters of Phorcys, according to later legend of Achelous and one of the Muses. In Homer there are two, in later writers three, called Ligeia, Leukosia, and Parthenope, or Aglaopheme, Molpe, and Theloeiepeia. Homer describes them as dwelling between Circe'sisle and Scylla, on an island, where they sit in a flowery meadow, surrounded by the mouldering bones of men, and with their sweet song allure and infatuate those that sail by. Whoever listens to their song and draws near them never again beholds wife and child. They know everything that happens on earth. When Odysseus sailed past, lie had stopped up the ears of his companions with wax, while he had made them bind him to the mast, that he might hear their song without danger [Od xii 41-54,153-200]. Orpheus protected the Argonauts from their spell by his own singing [Apollonius Rhodius, iv 903]. As they were only to live till some one had sailed past unmoved by their song, they cast themselves into the sea, on account either of Odysseus or of Orpheus, and were changed to sunken rocks. When the adventures of Odysseus came to be localised on the Italian and Sicilian shore, the seat of the Sirens was transferred to the neighbourhood of Naples and Sorrento, to the three rocky and uninhabited islets called the Sirenusae [the Sirenum scopuli of Vergil, Aen. v 864; cp. Statius, Silvae ii 2, 1], or to Capri, or to the Sicilian promontory of Pelorum. There they were said to have settled, after vainly searching the whole earth for the lost Persephone, their former playmate in the meadows by the Achelous; and later legend also assigned this as the time when they in part assumed a winged shape. They were represented as great birds with the heads of women, or with the upper part of the body like that of a woman, with the legs of birds, and with or without wings (see cut). At a later period they were sometimes regarded as retaining their original character of fair and cruel tempters and deceivers. But they are more generally represented as singers of the dirge for the dead, and they were hence frequently placed as an ornament on tombs; or as symbols of the magic of beauty, eloquence, and song, on which account their sculptured forms were seen on the funeral monuments of fair women and girls, and, of orators and poets: for instance, on those of Isocrates and Sophocles. [Such a Siren may be seen, beating her breast and tearing her hair, above the stele of Aristion in the Street of Tombs at Athens. The National Museum at Athens contains several examples of stone Sirens, not as reliefs, but as separate figures "in the round"; and a funeral monument of this type maybe noticed on a vase in the British Museum (Cat. C. 29), where the Siren is standing on a pillar and playing the lyre. Cp. Euripides, Hel. 169; Anthologia Palatina vii 710 and 481; with Miss Harrison's Myths of the Odyssey, pp. 146-182, and Mythology and Monuments of Athens, pp. 582-5.1
ORION 5.32%
A mythical hunter of gigantic size and strength and of great beauty. He was the son of Hyrieus of Hyria in Boeotia; or (according to another account) of Poseidon, who gave him the power to walk over the sea as well as over dry land. He is sometimes represented as an earthborn being. Many marvellous exploits were ascribed to him: for instance, the building of the huge harbour-dam of Zancle (Messana) and the upheaving of the promontory of Pelorum in Sicily [Diodorus, iv 85]. After his wife Side had been cast into Hades by Hera for having dared to compare herself to that goddess in beauty, he crossed the sea to Chios in order to woo Merope, the daughter of (Enopion, son of Dionysus and Ariadne. As he violated her in a fit of intoxication, (Enopion blinded him in his sleep and cast him out upon the seashore. He groped his way, however, to Lemnos and the smithy of Heph'stus, set one of the latter's workmen, Cedalion, upon his shoulders, and bade him guide him to the place where the sun rose; and in the radiance thereof his eyesight returned. (Enopion hid himself beneath the earth to escape his vengeance. Eos, smitten with love for Orion, carried him off to Delos (Ortygia), and there lived with him, until the gods in their anger caused him to be killed by Artemis with her arrows. According to another story, Artemis shot him in Chios or Crete, either for having challenged her to a contest with the quoit, or for having endeavoured to outrage her whilst engaged in the chase. Another legend relates that the earth, terrified by his threat that he could root out every wild creature from Crete, sent forth a scorpion, which killed him with its sting. His tomb was shown in Tanagra. In Homer [Od. xi 572] Odysseus sees him in the lower world as a shade still pursuing with his club of bronze the creatures whom he slew in former times. As regards the legend of his being placed among the stars, see PLEIADES. The morning rising of his constellation, which was already known as early as Homer [Il. xviii 488] denoted the beginning of summer, his midnight rising denoted the season of the vintage, and his late rising the beginning of winter and its storms. Whilst he sinks, the Scorpion, which was likewise placed among the stars, rises above the horizon. Sirius (Gr.Seirios), the star of the dog-days, is described, as early as Homer [Il. xxii 29], as the dog of Orion. Of his daughters Menippe and Metioche, it was related that they were endowed by Aphrodite with beauty and by Athene with skill in the art of weaving; and when, on the occasion of a pestilence ravaging Boeotia, the sacrifice of two virgins was required by the oracle, they voluntarily, to save their country, pierced their throats with their shuttles. As a reward for their voluntary sacrifice, Persephone and Pluto changed them into comets; while a sanc, tuary was built in their honour at Orchomenus, and expiatory offerings were yearly paid to them.
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint