Demeter and Persephone - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Demeter and Persephone

DEMETER AND PERSEPHONE. In the Homeric epics, no link is established between the two goddesses Demeter and Persephone, to whom later sources attribute a close mythical and ritual relationship, insofar as they are mother and daughter. In the Iliad (14.326), Demeter is presented as the bride of Zeus; elsewhere in the same poem (2.696) and in the Odyssey (5.125–129), her specific function as goddess of the harvest is also mentioned. Although Demeter appears to play a marginal role in the Homeric religious panorama, she is a figure of extreme antiquity, perhaps related to the Sitopotinja (mistress of the wheat) mentioned in the Linear B texts of Mycenae (twelfth century BCE), and she performs a fundamental role in the polytheistic Greek system. In Hesiod's Theogony, Demeter is one of the many brides of Zeus, and in the Erga (vv. 465ff.), the poet presents Demeter Chthonia, partnered with...

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This section contains 3,259 words
(approx. 11 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Demeter and Persephone Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Religion
Demeter and Persephone from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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