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Il I I) EME TER AND PROSERP/WE 169
Thus, as modern scholars have recognised,' Demeter and Proserpine are merely a mythical reduplication of the same natural phenomenon. Proserpine, so ran the Greek myth,” was gathering flowers when the earth gaped, and Pluto, lord of the Dead, issuing from the abyss, carried her off on his golden car to be his bride in the gloomy subterranean world. Her sorrowing mother Demeter sought her over land and sea, and learning from the Sun her daughter's fate, she suffered not the seed to grow, but kept it hidden in the ground, so that the whole race of men would have died of hunger if Zeus had not sent and fetched Proserpine from the nether world. Finally it was agreed that Proserpine should spend a third, or according to others a half” of each year with Pluto underground, but should come forth in spring to dwell with her mother and the gods in the upper world. Her annual death and resurrection, that is, her annual descent into the under world and her ascension from
it, appear to have been represented in her rites." With regard to the name Demeter, it has been plausibly argued by Mannhardt" that the first part of the word is derived from drai, a Cretan word for “barley”;" and that thus Demeter means the Barley-mother or the Corn-mother; for the root of the word seems to have been applied to different kinds of grain by different branches of the Aryans, and even of the Greeks themselves." As Crete appears to have been one of the most ancient seats of the worship of Demeter,” it is not surprising that her name should be of Cretan origin. This explanation of the name Demeter is supported by a host of analogies which the diligence of Mannhardt has collected from modern European folk-lore, and of which the following are specimens. In Germany the corn is very commonly personified under the name of the Corn-mother. Thus in spring, when the corn waves in the wind, the peasants say, “There comes the Corn-mother,” or “The Corn-mother is running over the field,” or “The Corn-mother is going through the corn.” When children wish to go into the fields to pull the blue corn-flowers or the red poppies, they are told not to do so, because the Corn-mother is sitting in the corn and will catch them.” Or again she is called, according to the crop, the Ryemother or the Pea-mother, and children are warned against straying in the rye or among the peas by threats of the Rye-mother or the Pea-mother. In Norway also the Peamother is said to sit among the peas.” Similar expressions are current among the Slavs. The Poles and Czechs warn children against the Corn-mother who sits in the corn. Or they call her the old Corn-woman, and say that she sits in the corn and strangles the children who tread it down." The Lithuanians say, “The Old Rye-woman sits in the corn.” Again the Corn-mother is believed to make the crop grow. Thus in the neighbourhood of Magdeburg it is sometimes said, “It will be a good year for flax ; the Flaxmother has been seen.” At Dinkelsbühl, in Bavaria, down
(Refus. omn. haeres. v. 8, p. 162, ed. Duncker and Schneidewin) that at the initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries (the most famous of all the rites of Demeter) the central mystery revealed to the initiated was a reaped ear of corn.
1 Welcker, Griechische Götterlehre, ii. 532 ; Preller, in Pauly's RealAncyclopädie für class. Alterthumswiss. vi. Io; ; Lenormant in Daremberg et Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités grecques et romaines, i. pt. ii. 1047 sq/. Compare Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 370, note 13.
* Homer, Hymn to Demeter; Apollodorus, i. 5; Ovid, Fasti, iv. 425 sqq.; id., ..]/etam. v. 385 sqq.
* A third, according to Homer, H. to Demeter, 399, and Apollodorus, i. 5. 3; a hals, according to Ovid, Fasti, iv. 614; id., Metam. v. 567; Hyginus, Aub. 146.
* Schömann, Griech. Alterthimer,” ii. 393; Preller, Griech. Mythologie,” i. 628 sq., 644 sq., 650 sq. The evidence of the ancients on this head, though not sull and definite, seems sufficient. See Diodorus, v. 4; Firmicus Maternus, De err. pros. relig. 7, 27; Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, 69 ; Apuleius, J/et. vi. 2; Clemens Alex. Arotrept. ii. §§ 12, 17; Hesychius, s.v. kopayev; S. Reinach, Traité d'Epigraphie Grecque (Paris, 1885), p. 141 syq.; W. Immerwahr, Die Äulte und J/ythen Arkadiens (Leipsic, 1891), p. 1oo sqq. (inscriptions found at Mantinea). In a Greek calendar of Asia Minor “the ascent of the goddess” is dated the seventh day of the month Dius, and the “descent of the goddess” the fourth day of the month Hephaestius (W. Froehner, Les Inscriptions Grecques du Louvre, No. 33, p. 50 sq.).
* A/ythol. Forschungen, p. 292 sq.g.
* Etymol. Magnum, p. 264. 12 sq.
* O. Schrader, Sprachvergleichung p. 296. Cp. O. Hartung, “Zur
und Urgeschichte” (Jena, 1890), pp.
Volkskunde aus Anhalt,” Zeitschrift
7 W. Mannhardt, J/y/hol. Forsch. p. 3OO.
to twenty-five or thirty years ago, people believed that when the crops on a particular farm compared unfavourably with those of the neighbourhood, the reason was that the Cornmother had punished the farmer for his sins." In a village of Styria it is said that the Corn-mother, in the shape of a female puppet made out of the last sheaf of corn and dressed in white, may be seen at midnight in the corn-fields, which she fertilises by passing through them ; but if she is angry with a farmer, she withers up all his corn.” Further, the Corn-mother plays an important part in harvest customs. She is believed to be present in the handful of corn which is left standing last on the field; and with the cutting of this last handful she is caught, or driven away, or killed. In the first of these cases, the last sheaf is carried joyfully home and honoured as a divine being. It is placed in the barn, and at threshing the corn-spirit appears again.” In the Hanoverian district of Hadeln the reapers stand round the last sheaf and beat it with sticks in order to drive the Corn-mother out of it. They call to each other, “There she is 1 hit her | Take care she doesn't catch you !” . The beating goes on till the grain is completely threshed out; then the Corn-mother is believed to be driven away." In the neighbourhood of Danzig the person who cuts the last ears of corn makes them into a doll, which is called the Corn-mother or the Old Woman and is brought home on the last waggon.” In some parts of Holstein the last sheaf is dressed in woman's clothes and called the Corn-mother. It is carried home on the last waggon, and then thoroughly drenched with water. The drenching with water is doubtless a rain-charm." In the district of Bruck in Styria the last sheaf, called the Cornmother, is made up into the shape of a woman by the oldest married woman in the village, of an age from fifty to fifty-five years. - The finest cars are plucked out of it and made into a wreath, which, twined with flowers, is carried on her head by the prettiest girl of the village to the farmer or squire, while the Corn-mother is laid down in the barn to keep off the mice." In other villages of the same district the Corn-mother, at the close of harvest, is carried by two lads at the top of a pole. They march behind the girl who wears the wreath to the squire's house, and while he receives the wreath and hangs it up in the hall, the Corn-mother is placed on the top of a pile of wood, where she is the centre of the harvest supper and dance. Afterwards she is hung up in the barn and remains there till the threshing is over. The man who gives the last stroke at threshing is called the son of the Corn-mother; he is tied up in the Corn-mother, beaten, and carried through the village. The wreath is dedicated in church on the following Sunday; and on Easter Eve the grain is rubbed out of it by a seven years' old girl and scattered amongst the young corn. At Christmas the straw of the wreath is placed in the manger to make the cattle thrive.” Here the fertilising power of the Corn-mother is plainly brought out by scattering the seed taken from her body (for the wreath is made out of the Corn-mother) among the new corn; and her influence over animal life is indicated by placing the straw in the manger. At Westerhüsen, in Saxony, the last corn cut is made in the shape of a woman decked with ribbons and cloth. It is fastened to a pole and brought home on the last waggon. One of the people in the waggon keeps waving the pole, so that the figure moves as if alive. It is placed on the threshing-floor, and stays there till the threshing is done.” Amongst the Slavs also the last sheaf is known as the Rye - mother, the Wheat - mother, the Oats - mother, the Barley-mother, and so on, according to the crop. In the district of Tarnow, Galicia, the wreath made out of the last stalks is called the Wheat-mother, Rye-mother, or Peamother. It is placed on a girl's head and kept till spring, when some of the grain is mixed with the seed-corn." Here again the fertilising power of the Corn-mother is indicated. In France, also, in the neighbourhood of Auxerre, the last sheaf goes by the name of the Mother of the Wheat, Mother of the Barley, Mother of the Rye, or Mother of the Oats.
* W. Mannhardt, ..]/rthol. Forsch. * /hid. p. 316.
p. 31 O. .. -
liartung, l.c. * /bid. p. 317. As to such rain
* W. Mannhardt, op. cit. p. 316. charms, see above, p. 12 I soy.
They leave it standing in the field till the last waggon is about to wend homewards. Then they make a puppet out of it, dress it with clothes belonging to the farmer, and adorn it with a crown and a blue or white scarf. A branch of a tree is stuck in the breast of the puppet, which is now called the Ceres. At the dance in the evening the Ceres is set in the middle of the floor, and the reaper who reaped fastest dances round it with the prettiest girl for his partner. After the dance a pyre is made. All the girls, each wearing a wreath, strip the puppet, pull it to pieces, and place it on the pyre, along with the flowers with which it was adorned. Then the girl who was the first to finish reaping sets fire to the pile, and all pray that Ceres may give a fruitful year. Here, as Mannhardt observes, the old custom has remained intact, though the name Ceres is a bit of schoolmaster's learning." In Upper Brittany the last sheaf is always made into human shape; but if the farmer is a married man, it is made double and consists of a little corn-puppet placed inside of a large one. This is called the Mother-sheaf. It is delivered to the farmer's wife, who unties it and gives drink-money in return.” Sometimes the last sheaf is called, not the Corn-mother, but the Harvest - mother or the Great Mother. In the province of Osnabrück, Hanover, it is called the Harvestmother; it is made up in female form, and then the reapers dance about with it. In some part of Westphalia the last sheaf at the rye-harvest is made especially heavy by fastening stones in it. They bring it home on the last waggon and call it the Great Mother, though they do not fashion it into any special shape. In the district of Erfurt a very heavy sheaf, not necessarily the last, is called the Great Mother, and is carried on the last waggon to the barn, where all hands lift it down amid a fire of jokes.” Sometimes again the last sheaf is called the Grandmother, and is adorned with flowers, ribbons, and a woman's apron. In East Prussia, at the rye or wheat harvest, the reapers call out to the woman who binds the last sheaf, “You are getting the Old Grandmother.” In the neigh* W. Mannhardt, oft. cit. p. 318 sy.