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Demeter is the goddess of fertility and agriculture. She taught people how to sow and plough and that is why she was very popular with the rural population. As a fertility goddess she is sometimes identified with Rhea and Gaia. She is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus by whom she became the mother of Persephone. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, the lord of the underworld, Demeter wandered around the earth to find her and during that time nothing was growing on earth. Then, Zeus sent Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back and Hades agreed but when the girl was leaving the underworld he gave her a pomegranate and when she ate the fruit she was bound to spend a third of the year with her husband in the infernal regions. For that reason, Demeter lets the earth grow only during the summer that her daughter is with her. The dying and blossoming of nature was thus connected to Demeter.

At the time that she was looking for her daughter she had been disguised into an old woman called Doso. The king of Eleusis, Celeus requested her to nurse his sons Demophon and Triptolemus and in reward for his hospitality she intended to make the boy Demophon immortal by placing him each night in the hearth, to burn his mortal nature away but one time Metanira, the wife of the king, walked in during the ritual so the spell was broken. Demeter taught the Triptolemus, the principles of agriculture, who, in turn, taught others this art.

Many celebrations were taking place to honor Demeter and her daughter and since the first was considered to be the goddess of marriage, women in Athens, and other centers in Greece, celebrated the feast of Thesmophoria. Throughout Classical times members of all social strata came from all parts of the Mediterranean world to be initiated in and celebrate her Mysteries at Eleusis.

In ancient art, Demeter was often portrayed sitting alone, often wearing a wreath of braided ears of corn. Her symbols are the fruits of the earth and the torch that she used to find her daughter, Persephone and her sacred animals were the snake which is a creature of the earth and the pig which is a symbol of fertility.

Demeter had only a few lovers. The first one, as mentioned above, was Zeus and then Poseidon who tricked her and raped her and the third one was a mortal man, Iasionas. Demeter had fallen madly in love with him and together they had a sun called Pluto (wealth) who gave people richness and plenitude.

Greek Gods
Zeus The supreme god
Hera Goddess of marriage, and married women
Poseidon God of the sea
Demeter Goddess of corn, fruit and agriculture in general
Apollo God of the sun, music and poetry
Artemis Goddess of the moon, hunting and chastity
Athena Goddess of wisdom
Aphrodite Goddess of love and beauty
Hermes God of eloquence and speech
Ares God of war
Hephaestus God of fire and the chief workman of the gods
Dionysus God of wine and merrymaking

greek gods

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