The Ancient Library

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On this page: Demarchus – Demeter



war. Here, too, was the council chamber of the Delphians. Before the entrance to the temple was the great altar for burnt-offerings, and the golden tripod, dedicated by the Greeks after the battle of Platsea, on a pedestal of brass, representing a snake in three coils. [The greater part of this pedestal now stands in the Hippodrome, or Atmeidan, at Constantinople.) Besides the treasures accumulated in the course of time, the temple had considerable property in land, with a population consisting mainly of slaves (hllrudouloi), bound to pay con­tributions and to render service to the sanctuary. The management of the pro­perty was in the hands of priests chosen from the noble Delphian families, at their head the five HSsioi or consecrated ones. Since the first spoliation of the temple by the Phocians in 355 b.c., it was several times plundered on a grand scale. Nero, for instance, is said to have carried off 500 bronze statues. Yet some 3,000 statues were to be seen there in the time of the elder Pliny. [See an article on the Delphic temple by Professor Middleton, Journal of Hellenic Studies, ix 282-322.]

Demarch5s. See demos.

Demeter (in Greek mythology). Daughter of CrSuus and Rhea. Her name signifies


(Relief found at Eleuais, 1359.)

Mother Earth, the meaning being that she was goddess of agriculture and the civili­zation based upon it. Her children are, by

lasion, a son Plutus, the god of richea, and by her brother Zeus, a daughter Perse­phone. Round Demeter and this daughter centre her worship and the fables respect­ing her. Hades carries off Persephone, and Demeter wanders nine days over the


(British Museum.)

earth seeking her, till on the tenth day she learns the truth from the all-seeing sun. She is wrath with Zeus for permitting the act of violence, and she visits Olympus and wanders about among men in the form of an old woman under the name of Deo or the Seeker, till at length, at Eleusis, in Attica, she is kindly received at the house of king Celeus, and finds comfort in tend­ing his newly born son Dem6ph<56n, Sur­prised by his mother in the act of trying to make the child immortal by putting it in the fire, she reveals her deity, and causes a temple to be built to her, in which she gives herself up to her grief. In her wrath she makes the earth barren, so that man­kind are threatened with destruction by famine, as she does not allow the fruit of the earth to spring up again until her daughter is allowed to spend two-thirds of the year with her. On her return to Olympus she leaves the gift of corn, of

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