This Little Piggy Went to the Thesmophoria

Terracotta statuettes of Demeter holding a piglet have been found at archaeological sites throughout the landscapes of ancient Greater Greece. Such statuettes often indicate that at the site where they were found, there was once a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of the earth, agriculture, and fertility. In archaeological museums throughout Sicily you will see…

She was Popular

Sicily’s archaeological museums are full of terracotta statuettes of goddesses, many of which represent Demeter. Like these pictured here, the goddess of the grain, agriculture, and fertility is portrayed sitting on a throne with her cylindrical headdress (called a polos) and rows of pendants upon her breast. These from Agrigento’s museum are dated to the…

Hail Demeter, Hail Kore

Demeter and Kore-Persephone were fervently venerated in Sicily in ancient times. This exhibit from the Regional Archaeological Museum at Aidone features two acroliths (That is, sculptures that have been constructed of stone, such as marble, and other materials, such as, in this case, iron, and draped with fabric) most likely depicting the mother goddess and…

Powerful Pomegranate

“But if [you tasted food], returning beneath [the earth,] you will stay a third part of the seasons [each year] … By what guile did the mighty Host-to-Many deceive you?” the Goddess Demeter asked her daughter Persephone in the The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (As translated by Helene P. Foley). From the featured photo today,…

She’s Finally Home

At Aidone, finally, is one of the most magnificent statues of a goddess from the ancient Greek era. Dated to be from 410 BC, the figure’s torso was carved using limestone from a quarry near Ragusa and her head and arms from imported Parian marbel. It was produced using a pseudo-acrolithic technique, giving her chiton…

Mother’s Grain

The Feast of Santa Lucia is celebrated on December 13, which until 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was instated, was the winter solstice. To celebrate the saint, who is the Christian translation of the Greek goddess Demeter, goddess of grain, agriculture, and fertility, Sicilians eat cuccìa, a pudding made of farro (barley), milk (in this…

An Offering to the Goddess

This terracotta figure from Siracusa’s archaeological museum is one of hundreds of examples of statuettes found around the island of Ortigia that is attributed to the cult of Demeter and Kore (Persephone). I find this divine figure especially interesting because more recent images of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of Siracusa who is celebrated in…