DAEIRA (or Daira) was an Okeanid Nymph of the town in Eleusis in Attika (southern Greece). She may have been the Naiad of the town's famous well, the Khallikhoros (Challichorus), where Demeter first rested upon entered Eleusis. She was also the mother of the town's eponymous king by Hermes.
Daeira was no doubt connected with the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries, her name "the knowing one" or "teacher" describes the imparting of secret knowledge. The name Daeira was also an Eleusinian title for the goddess Persephone. Daeira may have been identified with the Eleusinian Hekate, who a few sources appear to suggest was the consort of Khthonian Hermes, Guide of the Dead.
|OKEANOS (Pausanias 1.38.7)
|ELEUSIS (by Hermes) (Pausanias 1.38.7)
DAEIRA (Daeira or Daira), that is, "the knowing," a divinity connected with the Eleusinian mysteries. According to Pausanias (i. 38. § 7) she was a daughter of Oceanus, and became by Hermes the mother of Eleusis; but others called her a sister of Styx; while a third account represents her as identical with Aphrodite, Demeter, Hera, or Persephone. (Apollon. Rhod. iii. 847; Eustath, ad Hom. p. 648.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 38. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The hero Eleusis, after whom the city is named, some assert to be a son of Hermes and of Daeira, daughter of Okeanos; there are poets, however, who have made Ogygos father of Eleusis."
Lycophron, Alexandra 697 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"He [Odysseus] shall offer up a gift to Daeira [here used as a name for Persephone] and her consort [Haides], fastening his helmet to the head of a pillar."
Suidas s.v. Eleusinia (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Eleusinia (festival): To the winners [at] the Eleusinia a prize used to be given. The city was named after Eleusinos, the son of Hermes. But others give another reason and say that the Eleusinia was only a festival."
- Lycophron, Alexandra - Greek C3rd BC
- Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
- Suidas - Byzantine Lexicon C10th AD
Other references not currently quoted here: As a title of Persephone: Pherecydes 45J, Aristophanes, Frogs 277, Pollux 1.35