Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

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Demeter at a Glance

name | Demeter (Dhmhthr)

role | goddess of agriculture and fertility

symbols | sceptre, torch, corn (grain)

Demeter in Greek Mythology
As the goddess of grain and fertility, Demeter played an important - indeed essential - role in ancient Greek society. The Greeks, like most ancient cultures, relied upon agriculture for their sustenance. As the patron deity of agriculture, Demeter was accordingly worshipped with festivals (such as the Thesmophoria) and other honors. Likewise, her association with grain also translated into a close relationship with human fertility, as this was another crucial part in our continuing survival. There are, consequently, many myths dealing with Demeter in her capacity as a fertility goddess.

Perhaps the most poignant of these myths is the so-called Homeric Hymn to Demeter, in which the story of the goddess and the loss of her daughter Persephone is told. The Hymn to Demeter is thought by scholars to be not only a myth about the abduction of Persephone and the consequent anger of Demeter - it also alludes to aspects of the mystery cult referred to as the Eleusinian Mysteries. This cult falls more properly into the realm of Greek religion, rather than myth, so it will not be discussed it in any detail here. However, as it is an integral aspect of the worship of Demeter, it should at least be mentioned in this context.

In addition to the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, another intriguing tale that involves the goddess of fertility is her affair with the mortal Iasion. According to the version told by the poet Hesiod, Demeter and the hero "coupled with passion on a field plowed three times, in the rich soil of Crete." Apparently, this legendary liaison with Iasion was quite a fruitful one, for Demeter became pregnant and eventually bore her human lover a son named Plutus.

The goddess Demeter was known as Ceres in Roman mythology.

Demeter in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Demeter in art, visit the Mythography gallery!

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Of Demeter, the lovely haired and august goddess, and of her daughter, the fair Persephone, I begin to sing.

- Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend. And there is a good entry on Demeter.