CLSX 148- 9/9/15
•Myth of Ages
•Eleusis, Eleusinian mysteries
Homeric Hymn to Demeter
•Might be implying that Demeter could be a challenger to Zeus
•Demeter means-mother goddess
•Demeter almost gets exactly what she wants from Zeus without having to
•Demeter is upset due to Persephone’s kidnapping, refuses to let the Earth produce
•Myth could also be a metaphor for loss of virginity-Persephone kidnapped while
picking flowers, trapped in Underworld because she eats pomegranate, flowers
could be symbolism for virginity
•Explores women at different times of their life: young woman, mother, and
•Means the explanation of a cause
•Myth considered a aitiological myth when it gives an explanation of something
that happens in human life
•Homeric Hymn to Demeter is an aitiology because it explains the changing of the
seasons in the world: when Persephone and Demeter are together the world is
warm and food is produced, when Persephone and Demeter are separated the
world is cold and barren.
•Also explains worship of Demeter in town of Eleusis.
Ritual Relationship Between Humans and Gods
•Demeter stays with a human family, raises their son, Demophon.
•Tries to turn Demophon immortal by putting him in the fire every night
•Metaneira stops Demeter from doing this, accidently prevents Demophon from
•Demeter becomes angry, demands Metaneira’s family build a temple to her.
•Begins the ritual Eleusinian mysteries, only those who are iniitiated know the
rites. Initiates get some form of elevated life, continue some form of life after
•Rites may be some kind of symbolic form of rebirth, similar to Persephone going
to and returning from the Underworld.
•Being initiated into rites is kind of like a cult.