Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Naiads >> Calligeneia (Kalligeneia)


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Beautiful Born (kalli-, genos)

KALLIGENEIA (Calligeneia) was the nymph nursemaid of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. She was worshipped as a goddess of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Kalligeneia was perhaps the Naiad-nymph of the sacred Kallikhoros (Callichorus) spring of Eleusis. Alternatively her name might simply be a title of the earth-goddess Gaia.


Perhaps a daughter of the River KEPHISOS


CALLIGENEIA (Kalligeneia), a surname of Demeter or of her nurse and companion, or of Gaea. (Aristoph. Thesm. 300, with the Schol.; Hesych. s. v.; Phot. Lex. s. v.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 280 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Comedy-Play describing the Thesmophoria festival of Demeter and Persephone :]
Woman Herald : Silence! Silence! Pray to the Thesmophorai, Demeter and Koura (Core) [Persephone]; pray to Ploutos (Plutus), Kalligeneia (Calligeneia), Kourotrophos [Hekate], Ge (Gaea, the Earth), Hermes and the Kharites (Charites, Graces), that all may happen for the best at this gathering, both for the greatest advantage of Athens and for our own personal happiness!"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6. 129 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"And in the place where that River [the Anapos of Sicily] had often bathed the maiden Kyane (Cyane) . . . she [Demeter] saw a neighbouring grotto like a lofty hall crowned and concealed by a roof of stone, which nature had completed with a rocky gateway and a loom of stone [i.e. stalactites] tended by the neighbouring Nymphai (Nymphs).
The goddess passed through the dark hall, and concealed her daughter [the young Persephone] well-secured in this hollow rock. Then she loosed the Drakones (Dragon-Serpents) from the winged car; one she placed by the jutting rock on the right of the door, one on the left beside the stone-pointed barrier of the entry, to protect Persephoneia unseen. There also she left Kalligeneia (Calligeneia), her own fond nurse [to care for Persephone], with her baskets, and all that cleverhand Pallas [Athena] gives to make womankind sweat over their wool-spinning."




Other references not currently quoted here: Hesychius s.v. Kalligeneia, Photius Lexicon s.v. Kalligeneia.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.