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THESMOPHORIA 100.00%
A festival to Demeter, as the foundress of agriculture and of the civic rite of marriage, celebrated in many parts of Greece, but especially at Athens. It was held at Athens from the 9th to 13th of Pyanepsion, the beginning of November, and only by married women of genuine Attic birth and of blameless reputation. Two of the wealthiest and most distinguished women were chosen out of every district to preside over the festivals; their duty was to perform the sacred functions in the name of the others, and to prepare the festal meal for the women of their own district. Even the priestess who had the chief conduct of the whole festival had to be a married woman. On the first day of the feast the women went in procession, amid wanton jests and gibes, to the deme of Halimus, on the promontory of Colias, where nightly celebrations were held in the temple of Demeter and her daughter Core. After their return in the early morning of the third day, a festival lasting for three days was held in Athens. No sacrifices were offered on the last day but one, which was spent amid fasting and mourning. On the last day, on which Demeter was invoked under the name of Kalligeneia (or goddess of fair children), a feast was held amid mimic dances and games, which probably referred to the mythical stories of the goddess and her daughter.
 
TRIPTOLEMUS 41.64%

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Son of Eleusis (or of Celeus, see DEMOPHOON) a favourite of Demeter, who sent him about the world on a car drawn by serpents to extend the cultivation of grain, and with it agriculture. On his return to Attica, Celeus of Eleusis made an attempt upon his life, but, at the bidding of Demeter, was obliged to give up the country to him. He founded the town of Eleusis, and, as first priest of Demeter, instituted the services there held in her honour, as well as the Thesmophoria (q.v.). In various parts of Greece, as well as in Italy and Sicily, he was honoured as the founder and promoter of husbandry, but especially in Eleusis, where, as the local hero, he had a temple dedicated to him, and a spot called the threshing-floor of Trip-tolemus on the Rharian plain. The Argive legend connected him with its local genealogies, and told how, while seeking Io in Tarsus and Antioch, he founded Greek settlements and instituted the cultivation of corn. In the Attic legend of Eleusis, he is also represented as a judge of the dead. (See DEMETER, fig. 1, and VASES, fig. 12.)
 
GEMS 23.65%
The art of cutting precious stones was early learned by the Greeks from the Egyptians and Orientals, who had practised it from remote antiquity. The cuttings were originally only concave, and the gems set in rings and used as seals. Cameos, or stones carved in relief, first came into use, it would seem, in the time of Alexander the Great, and were used for ornament. For cameos precious stones of various colours were used, especially the onyx. The layers of the stone were so treated, that the figures stood out bright on a dark ground. Muesarchus of Samos, the father of the philosopher Pythagoras (about 600 B.C.) is the oldest Greek jeweller whose name has come down to us. In the 4th century B.C. the most celebrated master was Pyrgoteles, the only artist whom Alexander the Great would allow to cut his likeness. In the age of Augustus we hear of Dioscorides, who cut the emperor's likeness on a stone which was used as a seal by the succeeding Caesars. The Etruscans and Romans took up the art very early, but never attained the same perfection as the Greeks. The fancy for making collections of beautiful gems arose as early as the 1st century B.C. The intaglios, or cut stones, have come down to us in greater numbers than any Of the monuments of ancient art. Those which belonged to the advanced periods of style present examples of the most beautiful workmanship, the most original composition, and the most interesting subjects, the latter being mainly taken from mythology. Among the remaining Greek cameos an important place, both for size and beauty, must be given to the Gonzaga Cameo in St. Petersburg. This, it has been conjectured, represents the bust of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe, his sister and wife; [but it more probably commemorates Nero and Agrippina, fig. 7.] The largest and most splendid of the cameos which have come down from the Roman period are those at Vienna (fig. 8) and Paris, representing, in groups and figures, the family of Augustus. Whole vessels were sometimes made of single stones, and adorned with reliefs An instance is the Mantuan vase now at Brunswick, 6 1/3 inches high, 2 1/3 inches thick, consisting of a single onyx. The lid, handle and base are of gold. Two parallel lines of gold divide the surface into three parts, the midmost of which has twelve figures, representing the festival of the Thesmophoria, in three groups; while the highest and lowest are adorned with leaves, flowers, ears of corn, fruits, bulls' heads, and other objects connected with the worship of Demeter. Works of this kind are sometimes made of coloured glasses. The most celebrated instance of this sort is the Portland Vase now in the British Museum. Its height is about 10 inches. The material is a dark blue transparent glass, with beautiful reliefs in white opaque enamel (fig. 9). [See Catalogue of Engraved Gems in the British Museum, 1888, pp. 225-8; and (on the subject in general) Introduction, pp. 1-38.]
 
ARISTOPHANES 21.69%
The comedian, who lived at Athens, B.C. 444-388. His father Philippus is said to have been not a native Athenian, but a settler from Rhodes or Egypt, who afterwards acquired the citizenship. However this may be, the demagogue Cleon, whose displeasure Aristophanes had incurred, tried to call in question his right to the citizenship. His first comedy came out in B.C. 427, but was not performed under his own name because of his youth; and several more of his plays were brought on the stage by Callistratus and Philonides, till in 424 he brought out the Knights in his own person. Forty-four of his plays were known in antiquity, though four of them were considered doubtful. Of these we possess eleven, the only complete Greek comedies which have survived, besides the titles, and numerous fragments, of twenty-six others. The eleven are: (1) The Acharnians, which gained him the victory over Cratinus and Eupolis B.C. 425, written during the great Peloponnesian war to induce the Athonians to make peace. (2) The Knights mentioned above, B.C. 424, also crowned with the first prize, and aimed directly against Cleon. (3) The Clouds, B.C. 423, his most famous and, in his own opinion his most successful piece, though when played it only won the third prize. We have it on] y in a second, and apparently unfinished, edition. It is directed against the pernicious influence of the Sophists, as the representative of whom Socrates is attacked. (4) The Wasps, brought out in B.C. 422 and, like the two following, rewarded with the second prize; it is a satire upon the Athenian passion for lawsuits, (5) The Peace, of the year B.C. 421, recommending the conclusion of peace. (6) The Birds, acted in B.C. 414, and exposing the romantic hopes built on the expedition to Sicily. This is unquestionably the happiest production of the poet's genius, and is marked by a careful reserve in the employment of dramatic resource. (7) The Lysistrate, B.C. 411, a Women's Conspiracy to bring about peace; the last of the strictly political plays. (8) Thesmophoriazusae, probably to be dated 410 B.C. It is written against Euripides dislike of women, for which the women who are celebrating the Thesmophoria drag him to justice. (9) The Frogs, which was acted in 405, and won the first prize. It is a piece sparkling with genius, on the Decay of Tragic Art, the blame of which is laid on Euripides, then recently deceased. (10) Ecclesiazusae, or The National Assembly of Women, B.C. 392. It is levelled against the vain attempts to restore the Athenian state by cut-and-dried constitutions. (11) Plutus, or the God of Wealth. The blind god is restored to sight, and better times are brought about. This play was acted first in 408, then in 388 in a revised form suitable to the time, and dispensing with chorus and parabasis. This play marks the transition to the Middle Comedy. In the opinion of the ancients Aristophanes holds a middle place between Cratinus and Eupolis, being neither so rough as the former nor so sweet as the latter, but combining the severity of the one with the grace of the other. What was thought of him in his own time is evident from Plato's Symposium, where be is numbered among the noblest of men; and an epigram attributed to that philosopher says that the Graces, looking for an enduring shrine, found it in the soul of Aristophanes. He unites understanding, feeling, and fancy in a degree possessed by few poets of antiquity. His keen glance penetrates the many evils of his time and their most hidden causes; his scorn for all that is base, and his patriotic spirit, burning to bring back the brave days of Marathon, urge him on, without respect of persons or regard for self, to drag the faults he sees into daylight, and lash them with stinging sarcasm; while his inexhaustible fancy invents ever new and original materials, which he manipulates with perfect mastery of language and technical skill. If his jokes are often coarse and actually indecent, the fact must be imputed to the character of the Old Comedy and the licentiousness of the Dionysiac festival, during which the plays were acted. No literature has anything to compare with these comedies. Ancient scholars, recognising their great importance, bestowed infinite pains in commenting on them, and valuable relics of their writings are enshrined in the existing collections of Scholia.
 
DEMETER 20.34%

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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.
 
MYSTERIES 19.12%
 
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