Passion for the PAST from historians of the FUTURE

Demeter-Rachel and Ashleigh

Demeter is the goddess of agriculture, grain, bread and the prime sustenance of mankind.  Her parents were Cronus and Rhea. She was one of the gods that was swallowed by Cronus at birth however, she was eventually regurgitated.  Most of her attributes she developed were from her mother’s side as she had strong connections with nature and the world as the whole. She became a mother of two children Persephone and Dionysus.  Demeter’s symbol is the poppy as is grows along the barley.

Demeter’s birth:

As referenced from Hesiod, Theogony 453 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.):

“But Rhea was subject in love to Kronos and bare splendid children: Histia, Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and strong Aides, pitiless in heart, who dwells under the earth, and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, [Poseidon] and wise Zeus . . . These great Kronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb to his mother’s knees . . . Therefore he kept no blind outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children . . .

As the years rolled on, great Kronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Gaia (Earth), and brought up again his offspring, vanquished by the arts and might of his own son, and he vomited up first the stone which he had swallowed last.”

Mint was also a major symbol for Demeter.

As referenced from the Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 205 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :

“Then Metaneira [Queen of Eleusis] filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her [Demeter]; but she refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give her to drink. And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the goddess as she bade. So the great queen Deo received it to observe the sacrament.”


Statue of Demeter.                   Demeter and Persephone.

The myth of Persephone:

Persephone was Demeter’s daughter. One day, when she was picking flowers, her uncle, Hades (the god of the underworld) noticed her. Hades fell in love instantly and he kidnapped her, taking her to the underworld.

She was locked  room in the Hall of Hades and she cried and refused to speak or eat. But after a week, she was so hungry that she ate six pomegranite seeds.

 Meanwhile, on earth, Zeus was worried about the crops. The people would die if the crops failed. So he sent his youngest son, Hermes to make a deal with Hades.

When Hermes heared that Persephone had eaten in Hades realm, he had to think quickly. The deal that he made was that if Persephone would marry Hades, she would live as queen of the underworld for six months of the year and each spring would return to live on earth for the other six months. Everyone agreed.

Each spring, Demeter makes all the flowers bloom in welcome for her daughter when she returns from the underworld. Each Autumn, when Persephone returns to Hades, Demeter cries and lets all the crops die until spring.


Demeter on a chariot.                                  Demeter statue in the

                                                                 British museum.


A.Atsma. 2005. Demeter Estate . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 May 12]

Jastow, (2007), Triptolemos Louvre [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 25 May 12]..

-, (2008), Deméter tipo Madrid-Capitolio (Museo del Prado) [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 25 May 12].

-, (2008), Demeter in horse chariot w daughter [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 25 May 12].

-, (2006), Demeter Greek Mythology [ONLINE]. Available at:,r:12,s:168,i:30&tx=31&ty=71 [Accessed 25 May 12].

Persephone & Demeter (myth) – Ancient Greek & Roman Gods for  Kids accessed (25/05/2012)



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