A look at some of the epithets of Demeter

“I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter reverend goddess (semne thea)–of her and her trim-ankled daughter [Persephone] whom Aidoneus [Haides] rapt away . . . Right blessed is he among men on earth whom they freely love: soon they do send Ploutos (Wealth) as guest to his great house, Ploutos (Plutus, Wealth) who gives wealth to mortal men. And now, queen of the land of sweet Eleusis and sea-girt Paros and rocky Antron, queen (potnia), giver of good gifts (aglaodoros), bringer of seasons (horephoros), lady (anassa) Deo, be gracious, you and your daughter all beauteous Persephone, and for my song grant me heart-cheering substance.”

This fragment of one of the Homeric Hymns to Demeter is interesting in that it includes several of her epithets. She is Aglaodoros and Horeophoros, the giver of gifts and bringer of seasons. This is interesting to me as most people look at Persephone as being the one who brings the seasons by her descent into and ascent out of the Underworld. She is described as being the “queen of the land of sweet Eleusis” and even by the epithet Thesmophoros (bringer of law).

Many of her titles such as Eleusinia, Mykalêssia, and Stiria, are associated with different places and (sometimes) people. Some of her Homeric titles include Aglaokarpos and Polyphorbos — giver of goodly fruit and all-nourishing — indicating that the Greeks were very much aware of the agricultural cycle even when they lived in the cities.

I could go on and on for pages upon pages looking at the epithets of Demeter Kyanopeplos, but that would take all of the fun out of discovering them for yourself. In our modern day, we need to examine the epithets of the various gods and goddesses to mine them for clues as to their natures. Why? simply because these clues help us to understand both the Gods and ourselves better.

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