Demeter and Dionysus

Demeter and Dionysus

Her pedigree She was the daughter of Cronos and Rhea. She was an earth goddess who didnt live on Mt. Olympus. She made the grain grow in the field, so she was extremely important. Nicknames The Unnamed Maiden-possibly

because it was unlucky to name such a powerful goddess Eleusian Demeter

Fruit Bearer Sender-of-Gifts Green Black-the color of most fertile soil The rape of Persephone One day Hades, King of the Dead, got a glimpse of Persephone. He decided to steal her and make her

his unwilling bride. He got Zeus to help him by creating a beautiful flower and planting it in the rocks where Persephone would see it. Persephone saw the flower and left her friends behind so she could pick

it. As soon as she reached for the flower, a giant crack opened up, a hand reached up, and Persephone was snatched away. Once Persephone was gone from the surface of the earth, Demeter went on strike.

She swore she would not make the crops grow until her daughter was returned to her. Initially Zeus didnt see any problem with what Hades had done, but eventually he heard enough complaints that he realized Hades would have to relent. Zeus sent his messenger, Hermes, to

tell Hades that he needed to send Persephone home. Hades realized he would have to return his wife to her mother, but he had a trick up his sleeve. He gave her a pomegranate. Hermes brought Persephone back. She had a tearful reunion with

Demeter, and told her mother about her time in the underworld. Demeter got worried when Persephone mentioned the pomegranate. Rhea came to Demeter and told her that Persephone would have to go back to the underworld for a portion

of each year. During that time nothing grew. When Persephone came home the plants would grow lavishly. Demeter disguised herself as an old woman while she searched the world for Persephone. One day, in the town called Eleusis,

she sat down by a well. Four young sisters came up to her to see if she needed any help. The girls got permission from their mother, then invited the old woman to come to their house. Their mother, Metanaira, hired the old woman to be the wet-nurse for

her son. Demeter loved the baby, so she decided to make him immortal. Every night while the family was asleep Demeter put the baby in the fire, which apparently would have made the baby immortal if Demeter had been able to finish the job.

Metanaira saw her son in the fire one night, screamed, and grabbed him. Demeter got mad and yelled at Metanaira and told her she might have saved her son from old age and death, but now it was too late! Then she revealed herself as Demeter (not in her godly form), and

demanded the town build a temple to her. Dionysus Dionysus was the son of Zeus and the Theban princess Semele. He achieved divinity during his lifetime. His birth was really weird.

nicknames Twice Born Acratophorus-bringer of unmixed

wine Nocturnal Torch-bearing Flowery Ivy Of the Black Goatskin When Semele was pregnant, Zeus made her a promise. He swore on

the River Styx he would do whatever she asked him to do. Hera was not happy. Hera secretly whispered into Semeles ear that she should ask to see Lord Zeus in his godly form. Zeus was horrified because he knew

that no human could see him that way and live. The oath on the River Styx was unbreakable, so Zeus followed through. Semele dropped dead. Zeus snatched the baby from her

womb and hid him in his own thigh. When Dionysus was born, Hermes took the baby to Nysa to be raised. When he was older Dionysus went to Hades to request the return of his mother to him. He still missed her

even though he didnt know her. Hades gave permission, and Semele ascended to Mt. Olympus. Hera was mad (again) and made Dionysus temporarily insane. When Dionysus was grown he

wandered the earth teaching people how to grow grapes and turn them into wine. He had a group of followers which included Maenads, Satyrs (including Pan), and Seileni kidnapped Dionysus was powerful. Most people

underestimated him. When he was young some pirates saw him with his long black hair and purple cloak. They decided he must be a kings son they could ransom. They grabbed him and dragged him to the boat. kidnapped The sailors tried to tie him up, but the

ropes refused to hold him. The captain ordered the sailors to raise the sails and set out to sea, but the boat refused to move. Vines grew all over the deck and flowed down the boat. Dionysus turned into a lion; all the sailors jumped overboard and turned into dolphins-except one.

What happens when youre mean to Zeus son? Lycurgus, a king of Thrace, didnt think his people should worship Dionysus. Dionysus imprisoned him in a cave, and Zeus struck him blind. He died soon afterward.

Family isnt always supportive When Dionysus tried to expand his worshippers to include the people of Thebes. Pentheus (Dionysuss first cousin on his moms side) didnt believe he was a god. For some reason, he also disliked the

wild dancing and loud singing the Maenads were doing. Pentheus told his soldiers to arrest them all. Dionysus came willingly; the wild women escaped and ran into the woods. The ropes would not hold them. Pentheus still refused to believe

Dionysus was a god and threw him in prison. revenge Dionysus escaped immediately (he was a god, after all). Then he got his revenge. Pentheus went into the mountains to

chase the Maenads. revenge While Pentheus was away, Dionysus made all of the women of Thebes go crazy. Then he convinced the women that Pentheus was a mountain lion that

was coming to attack their city. revenge The wild Theban women ran to attack the lion. They ripped him to pieces with their hands and teeth. His mother led the attack. When they were done, their reason

returned to them and they were horrified. There was nothing they could do about it. Interesting facts for smart people: Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, described all of the Greek

culture as a competition between Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo was the epitome of rational, reasonable, orderly thought. Dionysus was seen as drunken, crazed, and chaotic. People sometimes discuss aspects of a civilization or culture as Apollonian or Dionysian.

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