Chapter

Gods at Work II: The Growth of Plants and Men

Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.003.0019
Gods at Work II: The Growth of Plants and Men

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According to Solon, black Earth was the greatest mother of the Olympian gods, the source of agricultural wealth and the nurse of children. These two functions are explored in this chapter. Earth was a figure more of thought and of myth than of cult. However, Thucydides mentions her among the deities whose ancient shrines were situated south of the acropolis. Apart from festivals, there were other important forms of private and public cult that had no necessary association with one god of the Panhellenic pantheon rather than another. A clear case is the vow of first fruits or a tithe, the pledge to pay to a god a part of the income from a particular field during the forthcoming year. Among the gods who were associated with agriculture are Earth, Demeter, Kore, Plouton, Zeus, Poseidon, Sun, Seasons, and in some sense Apollo. Gods believed to help in child-nurturing include Artemis, Hera, and Demeter.

Keywords: gods; cults; festivals; heroes; Greece; Athena; Earth; Zeus; Kourotrophos; child-nurturing

Chapter.  18535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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