Demeter goddess of agriculture

Essay by ankHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2005

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(Roman - Ceres)

Demeter was the goddess of Corn and therefore also harvest, and her cult particularly flourished in the regions where grain was grown: in Sicily, in the region of Eleusis, in the Peloponnesus, in Crete and in Thrace. She was the first to gather the corn, prepare and preserve it, and to instruct mankind how to sow it.

She is usually portrayed as serious and dignified, dressed plainly in a long robe. Her nurse was Eirene (Peace). The beloved goddess of the harvest brought to humans the cultivation of grain (wheat and barley) which, according to one legend, allowed them to stand upright.

She was the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and thus Zeus' sister. Along with Dionysus (known in Roman as Bacchus, god of Wine) Demeter was one of the two most important gods in the everyday lives of people. While many other gods did little to help mortal people unless it suited their needs, these two were truly mankind's best friends.

What also made them very different from other gods, was that they were the only two to have known and felt suffering and true grief, while the other gods for the most part lived happy and blissful lives, feasting on nectar and ambrosia up on lofty Mount Olympus.

Demeter's tragic story is her search for Persephone (Kore), Demeter's only child from her union with Zeus, the King of the Olympians. Persephone grew up happy, playing with Artemis and Athena, the other children of Zeus, but one day her uncle, Hades, fell desperately in love with her. One day, while she was picking flowers in a meadow along with her girlfriends, the earth opened wide and Hades appeared, riding an awesome chariot that was pulled by four black horses. Persephone was...