DEMETER was the Olympian goddess of agriculture, grain and bread.
This page describes the family and consorts of the goddess including Zeus, Poseidon and the mortal Iasion.
(1) DIVINE LOVES (GODS)
POSEIDON The god of the sea pursued Demeter when she was mourning the loss of her daughter Persephone. The goddess took the form of a horse and hid amongst the herds of Arkadian Onkios, where Poseidon found her ans assuming the form of a stallion raped the goddess. She bore him two children--the horse Areion and the goddess Despoine.
ZEUS The king of the gods and Demeter mated in the form of intertwining serpents. From this union the goddess Persephone was born.
(2) MORTAL LOVES (MEN)
IASION A prince of the island of Samothrake or Krete (Greek Aegean) who lay with Demeter in a thrice ploughed field and was struck down by a thunderbolt by the jealous Zeus. She bore him twin sons, Ploutos and Philomelos.
KARMANOR (Carmanor) A Lord of Tarrha on the island of Krete (Greek Aegean) who was loved by the goddess Demeter. She bore him a son Eubouleos and a daughter Khrysothemis. He was probably the same as Iasion. [See Family]
MEKON (Mecon) A man loved by the goddess Demeter who was metamorphosed into a poppy flower.
(3) DIVINE OFFSPRING
AREION (Arion) An immortal horse owned by the hero Herakles and later Adrastos. He was the offspring of Demeter who was raped by Poseidon in the guise of a horse.
DESPOINE (Despoena) The goddess of certain Arkadian Mysteries. She was a daughter of Poseidon and Demeter.
EUBOULEUS The demi-god of the ploughed earth. He was a son of Karmanor and Demeter. Eubouleus may be the same as Philomelos.
KHRYSOTHEMIS (Chrysothemis) A demi-goddess of the harvest festival. She was a daughter of Karmanor and Demeter.
KORYBAS (Corybas) The leader of the Samothracian Korybantes. He was a son of Demeter and Iasion.
PERSEPHONE The queen of the underworld, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was abducted to the Underworld by Haides Lord of the Dead, and Demeter searched relentlessly for her. Upon discovering her fate, she brought famine down upon the earth until Zeus agreed to her return.
PHILOMELOS or BOOTES (Philomelus) The demi-god inventor of the wagon and ploughshare. He was a son of Iasion and Demeter.
PLOUTOS (Plutus) The god of agicultural wealth. He was a son of Iasion and Demeter.
[1.1] PERSEPHONE (by Zeus) (Hesiod Theogony 912, Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter, Apollodorus 1.29, Pausanias, Ovid Metamorphoses 5.501, Ovid Fasti 4.575, Nonnus Dionysiaca 5.562, et al)
[2.1] PLOUTOS (by Iasion) (Hesiod Theogony 969, Diodorus Siculus 5.48.2)
[2.2] PLOUTOS, PHILOMELOS (by Iasion) (Hyginus Astronomica 2.4)
[3.1] KORYBAS (by Iasion) (Diodorus Siculus 5.48.2)
[4.1] AREION (by Poseidon) (Apollodorus 3.77)
[4.2] DESPOINE (by Poseidon) (Callimachus Frag 652)
[4.3] DESPOINE, AREION (by Poseidon) (Pausanias 8.25.5)
[5.1] EUBOULEUS (Diodorus Siculus 5.76.3)
[5.2] EUBOULEUS ? (by Karmanor) (Pausanias 2.30.3)
[6.1] KHRYSOTHEMIS ? (by Karmanor) (Pausanias 10.7.2 & 10.16.5)
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
FAMILY ON OLYMPUS (HOME OF THE GODS)
LOVED : 1. Zeus, king of the gods.
MOTHERED : 1. Persephone, goddess of the grain.
See Demeter Loves: Zeus (this page)
FAMILY IN CRETE (GREEK AEGEAN)
LOVED : 1. Iasion, Kretan lord; 2 - 3. Karmanor, lord of Tarrhos.
MOTHERED : 1. Ploutos, god of wealth; 2. Eubouleus, demi-god; 3. Khrysothemis, demi-goddess.
1) PLOUTOS Agricultural God
See Demeter Loves: Iasion (this page)
2) EUBOULEUS Agricultural Demi-God
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. d (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Kretans say (the story of Aphaia [Britomartis] is Kretan) that Karmanor . . . was the father of Eubouleus."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 16. 5 :
"The house of Karmanor in the city of Tarrha."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 76. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Karme, the daughter of Euboulos who was the son of Demeter."
3) KHRYSOTHEMIS Demi-goddess
Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 7. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Khrysothemis of Krete, whose father Karmanor."
FAMILY IN SAMOTHRACE (GREEK AEGEAN)
LOVED : 1. Iasion, prince of Samothrake.
MOTHERED : 1. Ploutos, god of wealth.
See Demeter Loves: Iasion (this page)
FAMILY IN ARCADIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
LOVED : 1 - 2. Poseidon, god of water.
MOTHERED : 1. Despoine, mystery goddess; 2. Areion, immortal horse.
See Demeter Loves: Poseidon (this page)
DEMETER LOVES : ZEUS
LOCALE : Non-specific
Hesiod, Theogony 912 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Also he [Zeus] came to the bed of all-nourishing Demeter, and she bare white-armed Persephone whom Aidoneus carried off from her mother; but wise Zeus gave her to him."
Homer, Iliad 14. 326 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Zeus names his most pleasurable liaisons :] ‘I loved the queen Demeter of the lovely tresses.’"
In the Orphic myths Demeter and Zeus coupled in the guise of serpents.
DEMETER LOVES : POSEIDON
LOCALE : Arkadia (Southern Greece)
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 77 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Demeter bore this horse [Areion] to Poseidon, after having sex with him in the likeness of an Erinys."
Callimachus, Fragment 207 (from Scholiast on Lycophron 1225) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Her [Despoine] he [Poseidon] begat with Erinys Tilphosa [Demeter]."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 25. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"When Demeter was wandering in search of her daughter, she was followed, it is said, by Poseidon, who lusted after her. So she turned, the story runs, into a mare, and grazed with the mares of Ogkios [in Arkadia]; realising that he was outwitted, Poseidon changed into a stallion and enjoyed Demeter. At first, they say, Demeter was angry at what had happened, but later on she laid aside her wrath and wished to bathe in the Ladon . . .
Demeter, they say, had by Poseidon a daughter, whose name they are not wont to divulge to the uninitiated, and a horse called Areion . . .
In the Iliad there are verses about Areion himself : ‘Not even if he drive divine Areion behind, the swift horse of Adrastos, who was of the race of the gods.’
In the Thebaid it is said that Adrastos fled from Thebes : ‘Wearing wretched clothes, and with him dark-maned Areion.’ They will have it that the verses obscurely hint that Poseidon was father to Areion, but Antimakhos says that Gaia (Earth) was his mother."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 1 :
"From Akakesion [in Arkadia] it is four stades to the sanctuary of Depoine . . . [The statue of] Demeter carries a torch in her right hand; her other hand she has laid upon Despoine . . . This Despoine the Arkadians worship more than any other god, declaring that she is a daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. Despoine is her surname among the many, just as they surname Demeter's daughter by Zeus Kore . . . Beyond the grove [of the sanctuary] are altars of Hippios (Horse) Poseidon, as being the father of Despoine."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 42. 1 :
"Mount Elaios [in Arkadia] . . . has a cave sacred to Demeter surnamed Melaina (the Black). The Phigalians accept the account of the people of Thelpousa about the mating of Poseidon and Demeter, but they assert that Demeter gave birth, not to a horse but to Despoine, as the Arkadians call her. Afterwards, they say, angry with Poseidon and grieved at the rape of Persephone, she put on black apparel and shut herself up in this cavern for a long time. But when the fruits of the earth were perishing, and the human race dying yet more through famine, no god, it seemed, knew where Demeter was hiding, until Pan, they say, visited Arkadia. Roaming from mountain to mountain as he hunted, he came at last to Mount Elaios and spied Demeter, the state she was in and the clothes she wore. So Zeus learnt this from Pan, and sent the Moirai (Fates) to Demeter, who listened to the Moirai and laid aside her wrath, moderating her grief as well."
Aelian, On Animals 10. 40 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"The water of the river of Arkadia known as the Styx cuts through all vessels, even though they be made of iron . . . It was Demeter who caused this water to well up [from the underworld] in the neighbourhood of Pheneus [presumably after being raped by Poseidon]."
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 3 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) (trans. Pearse) (Greek mythographer C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"Concerning the water of the Styx in Arkadia he [Hephaestion] recounts the following: while Demeter was mourning for her daughter, Poseidon intruded on her sorrow and she in anger metamorphosed into a mare; she arrived at a fountain in this form and detesting it she made the water black."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 118 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The corn's most gracious mother [Demeter], golden-haired, suffered him [Poseidon] as a horse."
For MORE information on this god see POSEIDON
DEMETER LOVES : IASION
LOCALE : Samothrake (Greek Aegean) OR Krete (Greek Aegean)
Hesiod, Theogony 969 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Demeter, bright goddess, was joined in sweet love with the hero Iasion in a thrice-ploughed fallow in the rich land of Krete, and bare Ploutos (Wealth), a kindly god who goes everywhere over land and the sea's wide back, and him who finds him and into whose hands he comes he makes rich, bestowing great wealth upon him."
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 102 (from Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1359 fr. 2) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Elektra was subject to [Zeus] the dark-clouded Son of Kronos and bare Dardanos [text missing] . . and Eetion [text missing] . . who once greatly loved rich-haired Demeter. And cloud-gathering Zeus was wroth and smote him, Eetion, and laid him low with a flaming thunderbolt, because he sought to lay hands upon rich-haired Demeter."
Homer, Odyssey 5. 125 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Kalypso shuddered, and her words came forth in rapid flight [when the gods insisted she release Odysseus from her island : ‘You are merciless, you gods, resentful beyond all other beings; you are jealous if without disguise a goddess makes a man her bedfellow, her beloved husband . . . So it was when Demeter of the braided tresses followed her heart and lay in love with Iasion in the triple-furrowed field; Zeus was aware of it soon enough and hurled the bright thunderbolt and killed him.’" [N.B. "Triple-furrowed field." The cutting of three furrows was part of the fertility rites inaugurating the agricultural year.]
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 138 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Elektra, the daughter of Atlas, and Zeus were the parents of Iasion and Dardanos. Now Iasion had a lust for Demeter and was hit by a thunderbolt as he was about to attack her."
Strabo, Geography Book 7 Fragment 47 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Iasion and Dardanos, two brothers, used to live in Samothrake. But when Iasion was struck by a thunderbolt because of his sin against Demeter, Dardanos sailed away from Samothrake, went and took up his abode at the foot of Mount Ida, calling the city Dardania, and taught the Trojans the Samothrakian Mysteries."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 48. 2 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"There were born in that land [of Samothrake] to Zeus and Elektra, who was one of the Atlantides, Dardanos and Iasion and Harmonia . . . Zeus desired that the other of his two sons [Iasion] might also attain honour, and so he instructed him in the initiatory rites of the mysteries [of Samothrake], which had existed on the island since ancient times but was at that time, so to speak, put in his hands; it is not lawful, however, for any but the initiated to hear about the mysteries. And Iasion is reputed to have been the first to initiate strangers into them and by this means to bring the initiatory rite to high esteem.
After this Kadmos, the son of Agenor, came in the course of his quest for Europe to the Samothrakians, and after participating in the initiation [into the Mysteries] he married Harmonia, who was the sister of Iasion . . .
This wedding of Kadmos and Harmonia was the first, we are told, for which the gods provided the marriage-feast, and Demeter, becoming enamoured of Iasion, presented him with the fruit of the corn . . .
Iasion married Kybele [here Kybele is identified with Demeter instead of Rhea] and begat Korybas [leader of Kybele's Korybantes]. And after Iasion had been removed into the circle of the gods, Dardanos and Kybele [Demeter] and Korybas conveyed to Asia the sacred rites of the Mother of the Gods and removed with them to Phrygia . . .
To Iasion and Demeter, according to the story the myths relate, was born Ploutos (Wealth), but the reference is, as a matter of fact, to the wealth of the corn, which was presented to Iasion because of Demeter's association with him at the time of the wedding of Harmonia."
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 77. 1 :
"Ploutos, we are told, was born in Kretan Tripolos to Demeter and Iasion, and there is a double account of his origin. For some men say that the earth, when it was sowed once by Iasion and given proper cultivation, brought forth such and abundance of fruits that those who saw this bestowed a special name upon the abundance of fruits when they appear and called it ploutos (wealth) . . . But there are some who recount the myth that a son was born to Demeter and Iasion whom they named Ploutos, and that he was the first to introduce diligence into the life of man and the acquisition and safeguarding of property, all men up to that time having been neglectful of amassing and guarding diligently any store of property."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 270 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Those who were most handsome. Iasion, son of Ilithius, whom Ceres [Demeter] is said to have loved."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 4 :
"[Constellation Bootes :] Hermippus [Greek poet C5th B.C.], who wrote about the stars, says that Ceres [Demeter] lay with Iasion, son of Thuscus. Many agree with Homer that for this he was struck with a thunderbolt. From them, as Petellides, Cretan writer of histories, shows, two sons were born, Philomelus and Plutus."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 22 :
"Others have called them [the twins of the constellation Gemini] Hercules and Apollo; some, even Triptolemus, whom we mentioned before, and Iasion, beloved of Ceres [Demeter]--both carried to the stars."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 420 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"A rumbling argument arose in heaven, the gods all grumbling why others should not be allowed to grant such gifts [the rejuvenating power of the goddess Hebe]. Pallantias [Eos] grumbled at her husband's [Tithonos'] age, and gentle Ceres [Demeter] that Iasion was going grey."
For MORE information on his hero see IASION
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragments - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Callimachus, Fragments - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Aelian, On Animals - Greek Natural History C2nd - 3rd A.D.
- Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History - Greek Mythography C1st - 2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Photius, Myriobiblon - Byzantine Greek Scholar C9th A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.