KHRYSOTHEMIS (or Chrysothemis) was the agricultural demi-goddess of the "Golden Custom," probably a harvest-festival. Khrysothemis was the daughter of Karmanor ("he who crops") and the goddess Demeter ("earth-mother"). She herself won the first musical contest at Delphoi with her performance of the (harvest-festival?) song and consorting with Apollon produced a child.
Khrysothemis was also described as the wife of the Naxian King Staphylos ("Bunch of Grapes"), a son of Dionysos. Although Apollon was the putitative father of all her children, including Molpadia and Parthenos who were worshipped in western Anatolia as maiden goddesses. The latter was also associated with the agricultural constellation Virgo, and pictured holding a sheaf of wheat.
Khrysothemis was probably the same as Akakallis, whose name was either derived from a Cretan word for daffodil or from the Greek akakalis, the juice of the nut of the golden-flowered tamarisk tree. This juice was mixed with grain to make a honey-sweet cake, the confectionary which played an important part in the sacred rites of Eleusinian Demeter.
In ancient Greek vase painting Khrysothemis occurs as a goddess in the retinue of Aphrodite.
[1.1] KARMANOR (Pausanias 10.7.2 & 10.16.5)
[2.1] MINOS (Antoninus Liberalis 30)
|OFFSPRING OF KHRYSOTHEMIS
[1.1] MOLPADIA, PARTHENOS, RHOIO (by Staphylos) (Diodorus Siculus 5.62.1)
PARTHENOS (by Apollon) (Hyginus Astronomica 2.25)
|OFFSPRING OF AKAKALLIS
[1.1] PHYLAKIDES, PHILANDEROS (by Apollon) (Pausanias 10.16.5)
[2.1] MILETOS (by Apollon) (Antoninus Liberalis 30)
CHRYSO′THEMIS (Chrusothemis) There are four mythical females of this name (Hygin. Fab. 170, Poet. Astr. ii. 25; Diod. v. 22; Hom. Il. ix. 287), and one male, a son of Carmanor, the priest of Apollo at Tarrha in Crete. He is said to have been a poet, and to have won the first victory in the Pythian games by a hymn on Apollo. (Paus. x. 7. § 2.) [N.B. The singer Khrysothemis was probably a daughter of Karmanor, not a son.]
ACACALLIS (Akakallis), daughter of Minos, by whom, according to a Cretan tradition, Hermes begot Cydon; while according to a tradition of the Tegeatans, Cydon was a son of Tegeates, and immigrated to Crete from Tegea. (Paus. viii. 53. § 2.) Apollo begot by her a son Miletus, whom, for fear of her father, Acacallis exposed in a forest, where wolves watched and suckled the child, until he was found by shepherds who brought him up. (Antonin. Lib. 30.) Other sons of her and Apollo are Amphithemis and Garamas. (Apollon. iv. 1490, &c.) Apollodorus (iii. 1. § 2) calls this daughter of Minos Acalle (Akallê), but does not mention Miletus as her son. Acacallis was in Crete a common name for a narcissus. (Athen. xv. p. 681; Hesych. s. v.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
I) KHRYSOTHEMIS OF TARRHA
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Kretans (Cretans) say that Karmanor (Carmanor) [of Krete] purified Apollon after he had killed Python." [N.B. Karmanor was the father of Khrysothemis, see below.]
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 7. 2 :
"The most ancient contest the Delphic people remember and the one where a prize was first offered was for singing a hymn to the god. Khrysothemis (Chrysothemis) of Krete (Crete), whose father Karmanor (Carmanor) is said to have purified Apollon, sang and won a victory. After Khrysothemis they record that Philammon won a singing victory."
II) AKAKALLIS OF TARRHA
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 16. 5 :
"On the mountains of Krete there is still in my time a city called Elyros. Now the citizens sent to Delphoi a bronze goat, which is suckling the babies, Phylakides (Phylacides) and Philanderos. The Elyrians say that these were children of Apollon by the Nymphe Akakallis (Acacallis), and that Apollon mated with Akakallis in the house of Karmanor in the city of Tarrha." [N.B. Akakallis is probably just another name for Khrysothemis. Cf. Pausanias 10.7.2 above.]
Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 30 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Nikandros [Greek poet C2nd B.C.] tells this tale in the second book of his Metamorphoses. In Krete (Crete) Apollon and Akakallis (Acacallis), daughter of Minos, had a child called Miletos. Fearing Minos, Akakallis exposed him in a wood. By the will of Apollon wolves would turn up to guard him and to give milk in turn. Then herdsmen came across him and gathered him up and brought him up in their huts."
III) KHRYSOTHEMIS OF NAXOS
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 62. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Staphylos and Khrysothemis (Chrysothemis) were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoio (Rhoeo), and Parthenos by name. Apollon lay with Rhoio and brought her with child."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 25 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[The Constellation Virgo:] Others call her a daughter of Apollo by Chrysothemis, an infant, named Parthenos (Maiden). Because she died youg she was put by Apollo among the constellations."
IV) NAME ETYMOLOGY
Herodotus, Histories 7. 31 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The city of Kallatebos [in Karia], where craftsmen make honey out of wheat (pyros) and tamarisks (myrikês)." [N.B. This practise may explain the connection between the names Khrysothemis (golden custom) and Akakallis (tamarisk gall).]
- Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th B.C.
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.