Thursday, November 18, 2010

Demeter & Persephone

Deméter_tipo_Madrid-Capitolio_(Museo_del_Prado)_01 Demeter was the Greek goddess of the harvest, and Persephone, her beautiful daughter, the goddess of the seasons (who Pluto famously “took to wife”).

In a pre-scientific culture intimately dependent on the vagaries of the harvest, where a bad crop could mean famine and death, the manner in which the gods or goddesses responsible for the life-giving harvest is personified tells you a lot about the culture.hades450

In most cultures, the god was a violent, unpredictable god requiring placation. (A personification in mythic form of the malevolent universe premise.) But in the Hellenic Greek culture, the life-giving divinities were depicted not as monsters or ogres with the arbitrary power of life or blod-curdling death, but as beautiful women who must be seduced—a a depiction in stone and ceramics of the sunlit, benevolent universe premise that would inform and eventually permeate the life-affirming pagan Greek philosophy to come.

And artists today still use the myths to tell a tale that Homer told

demeter

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