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of a cake or paste or posset made of the meal of wheat and water. The joint participation in this by all the worshippers not only renewed the bond between them and their deity, it also once more united the fellow-worshippers in a mystic bond with one another; and for the younger members, now taking part in the ceremony for the first time, it was an initiation, uúnous. Thus fortified by this sacramental meal, the worshippers were considered to be properly prepared for the second great act of worship. This consisted in the presentation to the eyes of the worshippers of the actual ear or sheaf which was the Corn-Mother herself, and which might now be seen without danger, because her worshippers were no longer“ unclean.” This manifestation of the Corn-Goddess afforded not merely a visible hope and tangible promise that the sowing of the seed should be followed by a harvest of ripe corn, but in itself constituted a direct communion with the deity; and it was in the confidence inspired by that communion that the worshipper ventured to breathe the simple prayer for the fall of rain and the growth of the crops? with which the ceremony terminated.
Those were the rites on which the prosperity of Eleusis and the welfare, both spiritual and material, of its citizens depended. They were the rites which, with whatever additions, constituted the Eleusinian mysteries. Their meaning may have been obscure even to the Eleusinians of the sixth century B.C. To the town-bred Athenian of Solon's time, whom the Eleusinians had hitherto jealously and successfully excluded from any share in the worship of their powerful goddesses, the ritual now thrown open must have appeared even more mysterious, and by its gloomy and in some respects even savage character must have been unusually impressive. But though the vagueness of the rites made it easy for the Athenian to read into them a meaning which was not theirs originally; and although the rites were archaic enough to carry conviction to those who started with the belief that happiness in the next world was to be secured by the performance of mysterious rites in this; still something more definite than this, some explicit statement, was necessary. At the same time the relation of the Eleusinian goddesses 1H, H. v, 208 : & de kal üdwp.
* , xúc.
to the company of the Athenian deities into which they were now received, had to be defined to the popular satisfaction; and the myth which did this explained also why it was that the worship of the two goddesses conferred future bliss on the worshippers.
Whether the etymological meaning of the name Demeter is or is not "corn-mother," whether Demeter was originally a cereal goddess or a chthonic deity, it is certain that her form and functions were such as to allow of her being readily identified with the various nameless corn-goddesses who were worshipped locally in various parts of Greece, and that the cereal goddess who was probably known in Eleusis, as in various parts of Europe still, as the Old Woman, was at once identified by the Athenians with the Demeter of Homer and of their own Thesmophoria. The only point that required any explanation here was that whereas Demeter certainly dwelt with the other gods and goddesses in Olympus, the Old Woman of Eleusis equally certainly dwelt, for part of the year, in the house of the head-man of the village of Eleusis, and was actually seen there once a year by the whole body of worshippers. There was, of course, no difficulty in imagining that Demeter did actually descend from Olympus and dwell for a time in Eleusis, and that she appeared in the guise of an old woman to the Eleusinians, who accordingly did not recognise in her the goddess Demeter ; χαλεπου δε θεοί θνητοίσιν οράσθαι. But Demeter must have had some motive for thus withdrawing herself from Olympus and seeking for a home in the abodes of men, as she first did, according to Eleusinian tradition, in the house of Keleos, a mythical king of Eleusis. If she withdrew from the courts of Zeus and the company of her fellow-gods and goddesses, it obviously was because she had some cause of quarrel with them. Equally plain was it that the quarrel had some reference to her daughter the Corn-Maiden, for the time at which Demeter appeared at Eleusis in the disguise of an old woman was the time during which the young corn was below ground: when the green blade at length shot up, the old woman was no longer seen in Eleusis—she returned to Olympus. In other words, Demeter's wrath terminated
H. H. v. 111.
me in Eleno actually deses no difficule
with her daughter's reappearance on the shores of light. It must then have been her daughter's disappearance which caused Demeter's wrath, and Olympian Zeus must have had some share in her daughter's disappearance or some responsibility for it.
The fact that Korê the Maiden, Demeter's daughter, spent part of her life below the earth's surface would probably in itself have been quite sufficient reason for identifying her with Persephone, the wife of Hades. But in the sixth century B.C., when the doctrine of future bliss was finding its way into Greece, and rites as strange and imposing as those of Eleusis appeared to the Athenians, were supposed to carry with them a special hope of future happiness, it was inevitable that an attempt should be made to identify one of the Eleusinian goddesses with Persephone, in whose power it was, as queen of Hades, to make or mar man's lot after death. Further, this identification was confirmed on reflection by several considerations. It accounted in a satisfactory way for the Eleusinian belief that Demeter had resided with them : if Demeter descended from Olympus, it was obviously in quest of her daughter; for, as Persephone was the wife of Hades, she must have been carried off by him to his underground abode. Again, when the ritual acts performed traditionally in any cult required explanation, it was the common form in mythology to say that they were performed by the worshippers because the deity himself had originally performed them. It was therefore self-evident that Demeter had originally fasted and abstained from washing for nine days; and as these were recognised modes of expressing mourning, they plainly indicated the grief she felt at the loss of her daughter. And since Demeter, like her worshippers, rushed wildly about in all directions, carrying torches in her hand, it must have been because she did not know what had become of her daughter, or whither she had gone-Hades must have carried off Persephone without Demeter's knowledge or consent.
Although the Athenians might concede to the Eleusinians that Demeter dwelt for a time in Eleusis in the house of Keleos, they could not admit that that was her permanent abode: she must have eventually returned to Olympus; and if so, then there must have been a reconciliation effected
between her and the denizens of Olympus. But the only reconciliation possible was the restoration of her daughter. That her daughter was restored to the upper world was a fact about which the Eleusinians had no doubt, for they themselves saw and worshipped the Corn-Maiden when she reappeared from underground. At the same time it was beyond doubt that Persephone's proper home was in the house of Hades. The only inference, therefore, which could be drawn from these facts was that both were true, and that she spent part of her time with Hades and part with Demeter in Eleusis. To some Eleusinians, jealous for the honour of their local goddess, this arrangement may not have appeared a worthy compromise or a sufficiently great triumph for Demeter; but this difficulty was got over by the adaptation of an incident so common in folk-tales and so familiar, that its adequacy for the purpose could not be doubted. Persephone was ill-advised enough to partake of food—a pomegranate—in the house of Hades; and, as everyone knew, to do so was to put herself into the power of Hades for ever : joint-eating establishes, according to primitive ideas, a sacred bond between guest and host, which not only makes (as amongst the Arabs) the guest's life inviolable, but also (as in the case of mortals who partake of fairy food) makes him one of the host's clan, and, as such, subject to the customs of the clan. This was a law which even Zeus himself could not override, so Demeter felt it no ground of complaint against him that her daughter was only restored to her for part of the year; and though it had been with Zeus' connivance that Hades originally carried off the maiden, Demeter relaxed her wrath against Olympus. As long as Persephone was with Hades underground, Demeter refused her gifts to mankind, no crops grew, and no sacrifices could be offered by mortals to the gods in Olympus. But with the restoration, through Zeus' intervention, of Persephone to her mother, i.e. with the first appearance of the green blade above ground, the period of fasting, of sorrow and anxious expectation, was over, reconciliation was effected not only between Zeus and Demeter, but between man and his gods; and the goddess, revealing herself to the Eleusinians as now no longer the Old Woman but as '7. H. v, 306.
2 Ibid. 312.
the case of mortals who
such, subject to whimself could not Demeter, bade them henceforth worship her, with rites commemorative of her sufferings, and with the hope of that future bliss which her daughter had it in her power to bestow upon man after death.
Thus the political union of Eleusis with Athens entailed the admission of all Athenian citizens to the worship of the Eleusinian goddesses. But the Athenians thus admitted imported their own ideas, religious and mythological, into the worship. This widening of the circle of worshippers would under any circumstances have deprived the cult of some of its local narrowness and have expanded its religious significance; for Athenians would not take part in the Eleusinian worship merely to secure the favour of these powerful goddesses to the Eleusinians: the Athenian worshipper resorted to the Eleusinian sanctuary for the blessings, spiritual or material, which he might himself derive thence. It was, however, no part of the original design of the Eleusinian cult to bring blessings on the Athenians, but simply to secure fertility to the Rarian plain. The inclusion, therefore, of Athenians in the Eleusinian circle of worshippers necessarily involved the expansion of the cult from a purely local and agricultural worship into an element of national religion. This development was effected not by any change in the ritual-to alter that would have been to forfeit the favour of the two goddesses—but in the feelings and beliefs with which the new worshippers performed the rites. And this change in feeling and belief found its expression in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which is evidently composed in the attempt to pour new wine into the old bottles, and to show that the new Athenian doctrine as to the real personality of the Corn-Mother and Maiden, so far from being at variance with the Eleusinian tradition, is presupposed by it and gives it a far higher religious significance.
But though the Eleusinian cult in becoming Athenian would have become broader, it would not have attained the