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Ancient Greek Religion

The Eleusinian Mysteries: Demeter and her daughter Percephone

Classical Greece, Eleusis, near Athens, Greece.

When she had said this, the goddess changed her stature and her looks, thrusting old age away from her.

'Demeter learned that her daughter Percephone had been taken down to the underworld, in a 7th century BC Homeric Hymn,' said Miranda. 'In her distress, she disguised herself as an old woman from Crete, called herself Doso and found employment looking after an infant child in the palace of a nobleman at Eleusis, near Athens, where the Eleusinian Mysteries would later be celebrated. By day she would feed this child on ambrosia and by night she would hide him in a fire. He grew from strength to strength in this way. But his real mother Metaneira found the child one night in the hearth and made such a fuss that Demeter revealed her true identity, while rebuking the woman for preventing her from making the child immortal.'

When she had so said, the goddess changed her stature and her looks, thrusting old age away from her; beauty spread round about her and a lovely fragrance was wafted from her sweet-smelling robes, and from the divine body of the goddess a light shone afar, while golden tresses spread down over her shoulders, so that the strong house was filled with brightness as with lightning. And so she went out from the palace.

Story fragment retold from: Homeric Hymns. Online Medieval and Classical Library. II. Homeric Hymn to Demeter, lines 275–81.

references

Demeter – Wikipedia

Homeric Hymns – Wikipedia

The Homeric Hymns – The Online Medieval and Classical Library

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