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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2011
  • First published in: 1907

CHAPTER III - CULT-MONUMENTS OF DEMETER-KORE

Summary

The literary records of this cult are in some respects fuller and more explicit than the monuments, and some of the more interesting aspects of the Demeter-Persephone service lack, or almost lack, monumental illustration. The theriomorphic conception, of which we detected a glimpse in the Phigalean legend, can scarcely be said to have left a direct impress upon art; and it is doubtful if even the later aniconic period has left us any representation or ἄγαλμα to which we may with certainty attach Demeter's name. On a few late coins of certain Asia Minor states, of which the earliest is one struck under Demetrius III of Syria in the first century b. c., we find a very rude semblance of a goddess with corn-stalks but with only faint indication of human form. But in spite of the emblems we cannot say that this is a genuine Demeter; it may very probably be merely one of the many forms of the great mother-goddess of Asia Minor, the divine power of fertility and fruits; and it may descend from the same stratum of cult as that to which the type of the Ephesian Artemis belongs, to which it bears an obvious resemblance. Only when Demetrius took it as his badge, he and his people may have regarded it as Demeter's image for his name's sake.

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