Ancient Origins

In ancient Greek times in Sicily, especially in the eastern coastal cities such as Catania and Siracusa, extending to Enna, in the island’s center, Demeter and her daughter Persephone were venerated with fervor. Pictured here on this krater (a cistern used for mixing water with fermented grapes to make wine) from 425-400 BCE, now in…

Persephone’s Guidance 

As the seasons change where I live in the northeastern United States, and the days are darker longer, I turn to Persephone for assistance during the transition to winter. Part of the “Queen of the Underworld’s” responsibilities, once she descends into Hades each autumn, is the role of psychopomp–a guide for new souls crossing over;…

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…