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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Ovid, Fasti, 4.393-4.622

Hinc Cereris ludi. non est opus indice causae;Next, the Games of Ceres, there’s no need to say why:

sponte deae munus promeritumque patet.Obvious: the bounteous promise and gifts of the goddess.

panis erat primis virides mortalibus herbaeThe bread of primitive humans was made of plants

quas tellus nullo sollicitante dabat;That the earth produced without being asked:

et modo carpebant vivax e cespite gramenThey sometimes plucked wild grasses from the turf

nunc epulae tenera fronde cacumen erantSometimes tender leaves from the treetops made a meal.

postmodo glans nata est: bene erat iam glande repertaLater the acorn was known: its discovery was fine

duraque magnificas quercus habebat opes.Since the sturdy oak offered a rich horde.

prima Ceres homine ad meliora alimenta vocatoCeres was first to summon men to a better diet

mutavit glandes utiliore cibo.Replacing their acorns with more nourishing food.

illa iugo tauros collum praebere coegit:She forced bulls to bow their necks to the yoke:

tunc primum soles eruta vidit humus.So the deep-ploughed soil first saw the light.

aes erat in pretio, chalybeia massa latebat:Copper was prized then, iron was still hidden:

eheu! perpetuo debuit illa tegi.Ah! If only it could have been hidden forever.

pace Ceres laeta est; et vos orate, coloniCeres delights in peace: pray, you farmers

perpetuam pacem pacificumque ducemPray for endless peace and a peace-loving leader.

farra deae micaeque licet salientis honoremHonour the goddess with wheat, and dancing salt grains

detis et in veteres turea grana focosAnd grains of incense offered on the ancient hearths

et, si tura aberunt, unctas accendite taedas:And if there’s no incense, burn your resinous torches:

parva bonae Cereri, sint modo casta, placentCeres is pleased with little, if it’s pure in kind.

a bove succincti cultros removete ministri:You girded attendants lift those knives from the ox:

bos aret; ignavam sacrificate suem.Let the ox plough, while you sacrifice the lazy sow

apta iugo cervix non est ferienda securi:It’s not fitting for an axe to strike a neck that’s yoked:

vivat et in dura saepe laboret humo.Let the ox live, and toil through the stubborn soil.

Exigit ipse locus, raptus ut virginis edam:Now, this part requires me to tell of a virgin’s rape:

plura recognosces, pauca docendus eris.You’ll recognise much you know, but part is new.

terra tribus scopulis vastum procurrit in aequorThe Trinacrian land took its name from its shape:

Trinacris, a positu nomen adepta lociIt runs out in three rocky capes to the vast ocean.

grata domus Cereri, multas ea possidet urbesIt’s a place dear to Ceres. She owns, there, many cities

in quibus est culto fertilis Henna solo.Among them fertile Enna, with its well-ploughed soul.

frigida caelestum matres Arethusa vocarat:Cool Arethusa gathered together the mothers of the gods:

venerat ad sacras et dea flava dapes.And the yellow-haired goddess came to the sacred feast.

filia, consuetis ut erat comitata puellisHer daughter, Persephone, attended by girls, as ever

errabat nudo per sua prata pede.Wandered barefoot through Enna’s meadows.

valle sub umbrosa locus est aspergine multaIn a shadow-filled valley there’s a place

uvidus ex alto desilientis aquae.Wet by the copious spray from a high fall.

tot fuerant illic, quot habet natura, coloresAll the colours of nature were displayed there

pictaque dissimili flore nitebat humus.And the earth was bright with hues of various flowers.

quam simul aspexit, comites, accedite dixitOn seeing it she cried: ‘Come here to me, my friends

et mecum plenos flore referte sinus.And each carry back, with me, a lapful of flowers.’

praeda puellares animos prolectat inanisThe foolish prize enticed their girlish spirits

et non sentitur sedulitate labor.And they were too busy to feel weary.

haec implet lento calathos e vimine nexosOne filled baskets woven from supple willow

haec gremium, laxos degravat illa sinus:Another her lap, the next loose folds of her robe:

illa legit calthas, huic sunt violaria curaeOne picked marigolds: another loved violets

illa papavereas subsecat ungue comas:And one nipped the poppy-heads with her nails:

has, hyacinthe, tenes; illas, amarante, moraris:Some you tempt, hyacinth: others, amaranth, you delay:

pars thyma, pars rorem, pars meliloton amat.Others desire thyme, cornflowers or clover.

plurima lecta rosa est, sunt et sine nomine flores;Many a rose was taken, and flowers without name:

ipsa crocos tenues liliaque alba legitProserpine herself plucked fragile crocuses and white lilies.

carpendi studio paulatim longius iturIntent on gathering them, she gradually strayed

et dominam casu nulla secuta comes.And none of her friends chanced to follow their lady.

hanc videt et visam patruus velociter aufertDis, her uncle saw her, and swiftly carried her off

regnaque caeruleis in sua portat equisAnd bore her on shadowy horses to his realm.

illa quidem clamabat ‘io, carissima materShe called out: ‘Oh, dearest Mother, I’m being

auferor!’ ipsa suos abscideratque sinus:Carried away!’ and tore at the breast of her robe:

panditur interea Diti via, namque diurnumMeanwhile a path opened for Dis, since his horse

lumen inadsueti vix patiuntur equi.Can scarcely endure the unaccustomed daylight.

at chorus aequalis, cumulatis flore canistrisWhen her crowd of friends had gathered their flowers

Persephone, clamant ad tua dona veni!They shouted: ‘Persephone, come for your gifts!’

ut clamata silet, montes ululatibus implentBut silence met their call: they filled the hills with their cries

et feriunt maesta pectora nuda manu.And sadly beat their naked breasts with their hands.

attonita est plangore Ceres (modo venerat Hennam)Ceres was startled by their grief (she’d just now come from Enna)

nec mora, me miseram! filia, dixit ubi es?And cried instantly ‘Ah me! Daughter, where are you?’

mentis inops rapitur, quales audire solemusShe rushed about, distracted, as we’ve heard

Threicias fusis maenadas ire comisThe Thracian Maenads run with flowing hair.

ut vitulo mugit sua mater ab ubere raptoAs a cow bellows, when her calf’s torn from her udder

et quaerit fetus per nemus omne suos:And goes searching for her child, through the woods

sic dea nec retinet gemitus et concita cursuSo the goddess groaned freely, and ran quickly

fertur et a campis incipit, Henna, tuis.As she made her way, Enna, from your plains.

inde puellaris nacta est vestigia plantaeThere she found marks of the girlish feet, and saw

et pressam noto pondere vidit humum;Where her familiar form had printed the ground:

forsitan illa dies erroris summa fuissetPerhaps her wandering would have ended that day

si non turbassent signa reperta sues.If wild pigs hadn’t muddied the trail she found.

iamque Leontinos Amenanaque flumina cursuShe’d already passed Leontini, the river Amenanas

praeterit et ripas, herbifer Aci, tuas;And your grassy banks, Acis, on her way:

praeterit et Cyanen et fontes lenis AnapiShe’d passed Cyane, the founts of slow Anapus

et te, verticibus non adeunde Gela.And you, Gelas, with whirlpools to be shunned.

liquerat Ortygien Megareaque PantagienqueShe’d left Ortygia, Megara and the Pantagias

quaque Symaetheas accipit aequor aquasAnd the place where the sea receives Symaethus’ waves

antraque Cyclopum positis exusta caminisAnd the caves of Cyclopes, scorched by their forges

quique locus curvae nomina falcis habetAnd the place who’s name’s derived from a curving sickle

Himeraque et Didymen Acragantaque TauromenumqueAnd Himera, Didyme, Acragas and Tauromenium

sacrarumque Melan pascua laeta boum.And the Mylae, that rich pasture for sacred cattle.

hinc Camerinan adit Thapsonque et Heloria Tempe.Next she reached Camerina, Thapsus, and Helorus’ Tempe

quaque iacet Zephyro semper apertus Eryx.And where Eryx stands, ever open to the Western winds.

iamque Peloriadem Lilybaeaque, iamque PachynonShe’d crossed Pelorias, Lilybaeum and Pachynum

lustrarat, terrae cornua trina suae.Those three projecting horns of her land.

quacumque ingreditur, miseris loca cuncta querellisWherever she set foot, she filled the place with sad cries

implet, ut amissum cum gemit ales ItynLike the bird mourning for her lost Itys.

perque vices modo Persephone! modo filia! clamatAlternately she cried: ‘Persephone!’ and ‘My daughter’

clamat et alternis nomen utrumque ciet.Calling and shouting both the names in turn

sed neque Persephone Cererem nec filia matremBut Persephone heard not Ceres, nor the daughter

audit, et alternis nomen utrumque perit;Her mother, and both names by turns died away:

unaque, pastorem vidisset an arva colentemIf she spied a shepherd or farmer at work

vox erat hac gressus ecqua puella tufit?Her cry was: ‘Has a girl passed this way?’

iam color unus inest rebus, tenebrisque tegunturNow the colours faded, and the darkness hid

omnia, iam vigiles conticuere canes:Everything. Now the wakeful dogs fell silent.

alta iacet vasti super ora Typhoeos AetneHigh Etna stands above vast Typhoeus’ mouth

cuius anhelatis ignibus ardet humus;Who scorches the earth with his fiery breath:

illic accendit geminas pro lampade pinus:There the goddess lit twin pine branches as torches:

hinc Cereris sacris nunc quoque taeda datur.And since then there are torches handed out at her rites.

est specus exesi structura pumicis asperThere’s a cave, its interior carved from sharp pumice

non homini regio, non adeunda ferae:A place not to be approached by man or beast:

quo simul ac venit, frenatos curribus anguesReaching it she yoked serpents to her chariot

iungit et aequoreas sicca pererrat aquasAnd roamed the ocean waves above the spray.

effugit et Syrtes et te, Zanclaea CharybdisShe shunned the Syrtes and Zanclaean Charybdis

et vos, Nisaei, naufraga monstra, canesAnd you, hounds of Scylla, wrecking monsters

Hadriacumque patens late bimaremque Corinthum:Shunned the wide Adriatic, and Corinth between two seas:

sic venit ad portus, Attica terra, tuos.And so came to your harbour, country of Attica.

hic primum sedit gelido maestissima saxo:Here she sat for the first time, mournfully, on cold stone:

illud Cecropidae nunc quoque triste vocant.That stone the Athenians named the Sorrowful.

sub Iove duravit multis inmota diebusShe lingered many days under the open sky

et lunae patiens et pluvialis aquaeEnduring both the moonlight and the rain.

fors sua cuique loco est: quod nunc Cerialis EleusinEvery place has its destiny: What’s now called

dicitur, hoc Celei rura fuere senis.Ceres’ Eleusis was then old Celeus’ farm.

ille domum glandes excussaque mora rubetisHe was bringing acorns home, and berries he’d picked

portat et arsuris arida ligna focis.From the briars, and dry wood for the blazing hearth.

filia parva duas redigebat monte capellasHis little daughter was driving two she-goats from the hill

et tener in cunis filius aeger erat.While confined in his cradle was a sickly son.

mater! ait virgo (mota est dea nomine matris)‘Mother!’ the girl said (the goddess was moved

quid facis in solis incomitata locis?By that word mother) ‘Why are you alone in the wilderness?’

restitit et senior, quamvis onus urget, et oratThe old man stopped too, despite his heavy load

tecta suae subeat quantulacumque casae.And begged her to shelter under his insignificant roof.

illa negat, simularat anum mitraque capillosShe refused. She was disguised as an old woman, her hair

presserat. instanti talia dicta refert:Covered with a cap. When he urged her she replied:

‘sospes eas semperque parens! mihi filia rapta est.‘Be happy, and always a father! My daughter’s been

heu, melior quanto sors tua sorte mea est!’Stolen from me. Ah, how much better your fate than mine!’

dixit, et ut lacrimae (neque enim lacrimare deorum est)She spoke, and a crystal drop (though goddesses cannot weep)

decidit in tepidos lucida gutta sinusLike a tear, fell on her warm breast. Those tender hearts

flent pariter molles animis virgoque senexque;The old man and the virgin girl, wept with her:

e quibus haec iusti verba fuere senis:And these were the righteous old man’s words:

‘sic tibi, quam raptam quaeris, sit filia sospes‘Rise, and don’t scorn the shelter of my humble hut

surge nec exiguae despice tecta casae.’And may the lost daughter you mourn be safe and sound.’

cui dea duc! inquit scisti, qua cogere possesThe goddess said: ‘Lead on! You’ve found what could persuade me’

seque levat saxo subsequiturque senemAnd she rose from the stone and followed the old man.

dux comiti narrat, quam sit sibi filius aegerLeading, he told his follower, how his son was sick

nec capiat somnos invigiletque malis.Lying there sleepless, kept awake by his illness.

illa soporiferum, parvos initura penatesAbout to enter the humble house, she plucked

colligit agresti lene papaver humo;A tender, sleep-inducing, poppy from the bare ground:

dum legit, oblito fertur gustasse palatoAnd as she picked it, they say, unthinkingly, she tasted it

longamque imprudens exsoluisse famem.And so, unwittingly, eased her long starvation.

quae quia principio posuit ieiunia noctisAnd because she first broke her fast at nightfall

tempus habent mystae sidera visa cibi.Her priests of the Mysteries eat once the stars appear.

limen ut intravit, luctus videt omnia plena:When she crossed the threshold, she saw all were grieving:

iam spes in puero nulla salutis erat.Since they’d lost hope of the child’s recovery.

matre salutata (mater Metanira vocatur)Greeting the mother (who was called Metanira)

iungere dignata est os puerile suo.The goddess deigned to join her lips to the child’s.

pallor abit, subitasque vident in corpore vires:His pallor fled, his body suddenly seemed healthier:

tantus caelesti venit ab ore vigor.Such power flowed out of the goddess’ mouth.

tota domus laeta est, hoc est materque paterqueThere was joy in the house, in the father, mother

nataque: tres illi tota fuere domus.And daughter: those three were the whole house.

mox epulas ponunt, liquefacta coagula lacteThey soon set out a meal, curds in whey

pomaque et in ceris aurea mella suis.Apples, and golden honey on the comb.

abstinet alma Ceres somnique papavera causasKind Ceres abstained, and gave to the boy

dat tibi cum tepido lacte bibenda, puer.Poppy seeds in warm milk to make him sleep.

noctis erat medium placidique silentia somni:It was midnight: silent in peaceful slumber

Triptolemum gremio sustulit illa suoThe goddess took Triptolemus on her lap

terque manu permulsit eum, tria carmina dixitCaressed him with her hand three times, and spoke

carmina mortali non referenda sonoThree spells, not to be sounded by mortal tongue

inque foco corpus pueri vivente favillaAnd she covered the boy’s body with live ember

obruit, humanum purget ut ignis onus.On the hearth, so the fire would purge his mortal burden.

excutitur somno stulte pia mater et amensHis good, fond, foolish mother, waking from sleep

quid facis? exclamat membraque ab igne rapit.Crying: ‘What are you doing?’ snatched him from the coals

cui dea dum non es dixit ‘scelerata, fuisti:To her the goddess said: ‘Though sinless, you’ve sinned:

inrita materno sunt mea dona metu.My gift’s been thwarted by a mother’s fear.

iste quidem mortalis erit, sed primus arabitHe will still be mortal, but first to plough

et seret et culta praemia tollet humo.’And sow, and reap a harvest from the soil.’

dixit et egrediens nubem trahit inque draconesCeres spoke, and left the house, trailing mist, and crossed

transit et alifero tollitur axe Ceres.To her dragons, and was carried away in her winged chariot.

Sunion expositum Piraeaque tuta recessuShe left Sunium’s exposed cape behind, and Piraeus’ safe harbour

linquit et in dextrum quae iacet ora latus.And all that coast that lies towards the west.

hinc init Aegaeum, quo Cycladas aspicit omnesFrom there she crossed the Aegean, saw all the Cyclades

Ioniumque rapax Icariumque legitSkimmed the wild Ionian, and the Icarian Sea

perque urbes Asiae longum petit HellespontumAnd, passing through Asia’s cities, sought the long Hellespont

diversumque locis alta pererrat iter.And wandered her course, on high, among diverse regions.

nam modo turilegos Arabas, modo despicit IndosNow she gazed at incense-gathering Arabs, now Ethiopians

hinc Libys, hinc Meroe siccaque terra subest;Beneath her Libya now, now Meroe and the desert lands:

nunc adit Hesperios Rhenum Rhodanumque PadumqueThen she saw the western rivers, Rhine, Rhone, Po

teque, future parens, Thybri, potentis aquaeAnd you, Tiber, parent of a stream full of future power.

quo feror? inmensum est erratas dicere terras:Where, now? Too long to tell of the lands she wandered:

praeteritus Cereri nullus in orbe locus.No place on earth remained unvisited by Ceres.

errat et in caelo liquidique inmunia pontiShe wandered the sky too, and spoke to the constellation

adloquitur gelido proxima signa polo:Those near the chilly pole, free of the ocean waves:

‘Parrhasides stellae (namque omnia nosse potestis‘You Arcadian stars (since you can see all things

aequoreas numquam cum subeatis aquas)Never plunging beneath the watery wastes)

Persephonen natam miserae monstrate parenti!’Show this wretched mother, her daughter, Proserpine!’

dixerat, huic Helice talia verba refert:She spoke, and Helice answered her in this way:

‘crimine nox vacua est; Solem de virgine rapta‘Night’s free of blame: Ask the Light about your

consule, qui late facta diurna videt.’Stolen daughter: the Sun views, widely, things done by day.’

Sol aditus quam quaeris, ait ‘ne vana laboresThe Sun, asked, said: ‘To save you grief, she whom you seek

nupta Iovis fratri tertia regna tenet.’Is married to Jupiter’s brother, and rules the third realm.’

questa diu secum, sic est adfata TonantemAfter grieving a while, she addressed the Thunderer:

maximaque in voltu signa dolentis erant:And there were deep marks of sorrow in her face:

‘si memor es, de quo mihi sit Proserpina nata‘If you remember by whom I conceived Persephone

dimidium curae debet habere tuae.Half of the care she ought to be shown is yours.

orbe pererrato sola est iniuria factiWandering the world I’ve learnt only of her wrong:

cognita: commissi praemia raptor habet.While her ravisher is rewarded for his crime.

at neque Persephone digna est praedone maritoBut Persephone didn’t deserve a thief as husband:

nec gener hoc nobis more parandus erat.It’s not right to have found a son-in-law this way.

quid gravius victore Gyge captiva tulissemHow could I have suffered more, as captive to a conquering

quam nunc te caeli sceptra tenente tuli?Gyges, than now, while you hold the sceptre of the heavens?

verum impune ferat, nos haec patiemur inultae;Well, let him escape unpunished, I’ll suffer it, un-avenged

reddat et emendet facta priora novis.’If he returns her, amending his old actions by the new.’

Iuppiter hanc lenit factumque excusat amoreJupiter soothed her, excusing it as an act of love

nec gener est nobis ille pudendus ait.‘He’s not a son-in-law who’ll shames us,’ he said

‘non ego nobilior: posita est mihi regia caelo‘I’m no nobler than him: my kingdom’s in the sky

possidet alter aquas, alter inane chaosAnother owns the waters, another the empty void.

sed si forte tibi non est mutabile pectusBut if your mind is really so set against alteration

statque semel iuncti rumpere vincla toriAnd you’re determined to break firm marriage bonds

hoc quoque temptemus, siquidem ieiuna remansit;Let’s make the attempt, but only if she’s kept her fast:

si minus, inferni coniugis uxor erit.’If not, she’ll remain the wife of her infernal spouse.’

Tartara iussus adit sumptis Caducifer alisThe Messenger God had his orders, and took flight for Tartarus

speque redit citius visaque certa refert:And, back sooner than expected, told what he’d clearly seen:

rapta tribus dixit ‘solvit ieiunia granis‘The ravished girl,’ he said ‘broke her fast with three seed

Punica quae lento cortice poma tegunt.’Concealed in the tough rind of a pomegranate.’

non secus indoluit, quam si modo rapta fuissetHer gloomy mother grieved, no less than if her daughter

maesta parens, longa vixque refecta mora estHad just been taken, and was a long time recovering even a little.

atque ita nec nobis caelum est habitabile dixit;Then she said: ‘Heaven’s no place for me to be, either:

Taenaria recipi me quoque valle iube.Order that I too may be received by the Taenarian vale.’

et factura fuit, pactus nisi Iuppiter essetAnd so it would have been, if Jupiter hadn’t promised

bis tribus ut caelo mensibus illa foret.That Persephone should spend six months each year in heaven.

tum demum voltumque Ceres animumque recepitThen, at last, Ceres recovered her countenance and spirits

imposuitque suae spicea serta comae;And set garlands, woven from ears of corn, on her hair:

largaque provenit cessatis messis in arvisAnd the tardy fields delivered a copious harvest

et vix congestas area cepit opes.And the threshing-floor barely held the heaped sheaves.

alba decent Cererem: vestis Cerialibus albasWhite is fitting for Ceres: dress in white clothes for Ceres’

sumite; nunc pulli velleris usus abest.Festival: on this day no one wears dark-coloured thread.

Occupat Aprilis Idus cognomine VictorJupiter, titled the Victor, keeps the Ides of April:

Iuppiter: hac illi sunt data templa die.A temple was dedicated to him on this day.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

5 results
1. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 5.2-5.4 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5.2. 2.  Its circumference is some four thousand three hundred and sixty stades; for of its three sides, that extending from Pelorias to Lilybaeum is one thousand seven hundred stades, that from Lilybaeum to Pachynus in the territory of Syracuse is a thousand five hundred, and the remaining side is one thousand one hundred and forty stades.,3.  The Siceliotae who dwell in the island have received the tradition from their ancestors, the report having ever been handed down successively from earliest time by one generation to the next, that the island is sacred to Demeter and Corê; although there are certain poets who recount the myth that at the marriage of Pluton and Persephonê Zeus gave this island as a wedding present to the bride.,4.  That the ancient inhabitants of Sicily, the Sicani, were indigenous, is stated by the best authorities among historians, also that the goddesses we have mentioned first made their appearance on this island, and that it was the first, because of the fertility of the soil, to bring forth the fruit of the corn, facts to which the most renowned of the poets also bears witness when he writes: But all these things grow there for them unsown And e'en untilled, both wheat and barley, yea, And vines, which yield such wine as fine grapes give, And rain of Zeus gives increase unto them. Indeed, in the plain of Leontini, we are told, and throughout many other parts of Sicily the wheat men call "wild" grows even to this day.,5.  And, speaking generally, before the corn was discovered, if one were to raise the question, what manner of land it was of the inhabited earth where the fruits we have mentioned appeared for the first time, the meed of honour may reasonably be accorded to the richest land; and in keeping with what we have stated, it is also to be observed that the goddesses who made this discovery are those who receive the highest honours among the Siceliotae. 5.3. 1.  Again, the fact that the Rape of Corê took place in Sicily is, men say, proof most evident that the goddesses made this island their favourite retreat because it was cherished by them before all others.,2.  And the Rape of Corê, the myth relates, took place in the meadows in the territory of Enna. The spot lies near the city, a place of striking beauty for its violets and every other kind of flower and worthy of the goddess. And the story is told that, because of the sweet odour of the flowers growing there, trained hunting dogs are unable to hold the trail, because their natural sense of smell is balked. And the meadow we have mentioned is level in the centre and well watered throughout, but on its periphery it rises high and falls off with precipitous cliffs on every side. And it is conceived of as lying in the very centre of the island, which is the reason why certain writers call it the navel of Sicily.,3.  Near to it also are sacred groves, surrounded by marshy flats, and a huge grotto which contains a chasm which leads down into the earth and opens to the north, and through it, the myth relates, Pluton, coming out with his chariot, effected the Rape of Corê. And the violets, we are told, and the rest of the flowers which supply the sweet odour continue to bloom, to one's amazement, throughout the entire year, and so the whole aspect of the place is one of flowers and delight.,4.  And both Athena and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Corê and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other, and each one of them received for her portion a territory, Athena receiving hers in the region of Himera, where the Nymphs, to please Athena, caused the springs of warm water to gush forth on the occasion of the visit of Heracles to the island, and the natives consecrated a city to her and a plot of ground which to this day is called Athena's.,5.  And Artemis received from the gods the island at Syracuse which was named after her, by both the oracles and men, Ortygia. On this island likewise these Nymphs, to please Artemis, caused a great fountain to gush forth to which was given the name Arethusa.,6.  And not only in ancient times did this fountain contain large fish in great numbers, but also in our own day we find these fish still there, considered to be holy and not to be touched by men; and on many occasions, when certain men have eaten them amid stress of war, the deity has shown a striking sign, and has visited with great sufferings such as dared to take them for food. of these matters we shall give an exact account in connection with the appropriate period of time. 5.4. 1.  Like the two goddesses whom we have mentioned Corê, we are told, received as her portion the meadows round about Enna; but a great fountain was made sacred to her in the territory of Syracuse and given the name Cyanê or "Azure Fount.",2.  For the myth relates that it was near Syracuse that Pluton effected the Rape of Corê and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Hades, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Cyanê to gush forth, near which the Syracusans each year hold a notable festive gathering; and private individuals offer the lesser victims, but when the ceremony is on behalf of the community, bulls are plunged in the pool, this manner of sacrifice having been commanded by Heracles on the occasion when he made the circuit of all Sicily, while driving off the cattle of Geryones.,3.  After the Rape of Corê, the myth does on to recount, Demeter, being unable to find her daughter, kindled torches in the craters of Mt. Aetna and visited many parts of the inhabited world, and upon the men who received her with the greatest favour she conferred briefs, rewarding them with the gift of the fruit of the wheat.,4.  And since a more kindly welcome was extended the goddess by the Athenians than by any other people, they were the first after the Siceliotae to be given the fruit of the wheat; and in return for this gift the citizens of that city in assembly honoured the goddess above all others with the establishment both of most notable sacrifices and of the mysteries of Eleusis, which, by reason of their very great antiquity and sanctity, have come to be famous among all mankind. From the Athenians many peoples received a portion of the gracious gift of the corn, and they in turn, sharing the gift of the seed with their neighbours, in this way caused all the inhabited world to abound with it.,5.  And the inhabitants of Sicily, since by reason of the intimate relationship of Demeter and Corê with them they were the first to share in the corn after its discovery, instituted to each one of the goddesses sacrifices and festive gatherings, which they named after them, and by the time chosen for these made acknowledgement of the gifts which had been conferred upon them.,6.  In the case of Corê, for instance, they established the celebration of her return at about the time when the fruit of the corn was found to come to maturity, and they celebrate this sacrifice and festive gathering with such strictness of observance and such zeal as we should reasonably expect those men to show who are returning thanks for having been selected before all mankind for the greatest possible gift;,7.  but in the case of Demeter they preferred that time for the sacrifice when the sowing of the corn is first begun, and for a period of ten days they hold a festive gathering which bears the name of this goddess and is most magnificent by reason of the brilliance of their preparation for it, while in the observance of it they imitate the ancient manner of life. And it is their custom during these days to indulge in coarse language as they associate one with another, the reason being that by such coarseness the goddess, grieved though she was at the Rape of Corê, burst into laughter.
2. Ovid, Fasti, 4.179-4.390, 4.394-4.620, 4.623, 4.709 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

4.179. Let the sky turn three times on its axis 4.180. Let the Sun three times yoke and loose his horses 4.181. And the Berecyntian flute will begin sounding 4.182. Its curved horn, it will be the Idaean Mother’s feast. 4.183. Eunuchs will march, and sound the hollow drums 4.184. And cymbal will clash with cymbal, in ringing tones: 4.185. Seated on the soft necks of her servants, she’ll be carried 4.186. With howling, through the midst of the City streets. 4.187. The stage is set: the games are calling. Watch, then 4.188. Quirites, and let those legal wars in the fora cease. 4.189. I’d like to ask many things, but I’m made fearful 4.190. By shrill clash of bronze, and curved flute’s dreadful drone. 4.191. ‘Lend me someone to ask, goddess.’ Cybele spying her learned 4.192. Granddaughters, the Muses, ordered them to take care of me. 4.193. ‘Nurslings of Helicon, mindful of her orders, reveal 4.194. Why the Great Goddess delights in continual din.’ 4.195. So I spoke. And Erato replied (it fell to her to speak about 4.196. Venus’ month, because her name derives from tender love): 4.197. ‘Saturn was granted this prophecy: “Noblest of kings 4.198. You’ll be ousted by your own son’s sceptre.” 4.199. The god, fearful, devoured his children as soon a 4.200. Born, and then retained them deep in his guts. 4.201. often Rhea (Cybele) complained, at being so often pregt 4.202. Yet never a mother, and grieved at her own fruitfulness. 4.203. Then Jupiter was born (ancient testimony is credited 4.204. By most: so please don’t disturb the accepted belief): 4.205. A stone, concealed in clothing, went down Saturn’s throat 4.206. So the great progenitor was deceived by the fates. 4.207. Now steep Ida echoed to a jingling music 4.208. So the child might cry from its infant mouth, in safety. 4.209. Some beat shields with sticks, others empty helmets: 4.210. That was the Curetes’ and the Corybantes’ task. 4.211. The thing was hidden, and the ancient deed’s still acted out: 4.212. The goddess’s servants strike the bronze and sounding skins. 4.213. They beat cymbals for helmets, drums instead of shields: 4.214. The flute plays, as long ago, in the Phrygian mode.’ 4.215. The goddess ceased. I began: ‘Why do fierce lion 4.216. Yield untamed necks to the curving yoke for her?’ 4.217. I ceased. The goddess began: ‘It’s thought their ferocity 4.218. Was first tamed by her: the testament to it’s her chariot.’ 4.219. ‘But why is her head weighed down by a turreted crown? 4.220. Is it because she granted towers to the first cities?’ 4.221. She nodded. I said ‘Where did this urge to cut off 4.222. Their members come from?’ As I ended, the Muse spoke: 4.223. ‘In the woods, a Phrygian boy, Attis, of handsome face 4.224. Won the tower-bearing goddess with his chaste passion. 4.225. She desired him to serve her, and protect her temple 4.226. And said: “Wish, you might be a boy for ever.” 4.227. He promised to be true, and said: “If I’m lying 4.228. May the love I fail in be my last love.” 4.229. He did fail, and in meeting the nymph Sagaritis 4.230. Abandoned what he was: the goddess, angered, avenged it. 4.231. She destroyed the Naiad, by wounding a tree 4.232. Since the tree contained the Naiad’s fate. 4.233. Attis was maddened, and thinking his chamber’s roof 4.234. Was falling, fled for the summit of Mount Dindymus. 4.235. Now he cried: “Remove the torches”, now he cried: 4.236. “Take the whips away”: often swearing he saw the Furies. 4.237. He tore at his body too with a sharp stone 4.238. And dragged his long hair in the filthy dust 4.239. Shouting: “I deserved this! I pay the due penalty 4.240. In blood! Ah! Let the parts that harmed me, perish! 4.241. Let them perish!” cutting away the burden of his groin 4.242. And suddenly bereft of every mark of manhood. 4.243. His madness set a precedent, and his unmanly servant 4.244. Toss their hair, and cut off their members as if worthless.’ 4.245. So the Aonian Muse, eloquently answering the question 4.246. I’d asked her, regarding the causes of their madness. 4.247. ‘Guide of my work, I beg you, teach me also, where She 4.248. Was brought from. Was she always resident in our City? 4.249. ‘The Mother Goddess always loved Dindymus, Cybele 4.250. And Ida, with its pleasant streams, and the Trojan realm: 4.251. And when Aeneas brought Troy to Italian fields, the godde 4.252. Almost followed those ships that carried the sacred relics. 4.253. But she felt that fate didn’t require her powers in Latium 4.254. So she stayed behind in her long-accustomed place. 4.255. Later, when Rome was more than five centuries old 4.256. And had lifted its head above the conquered world 4.257. The priest consulted the fateful words of Euboean prophecy: 4.258. They say that what he found there was as follows: 4.259. ‘The Mother’s absent: Roman, I command you: seek the Mother. 4.260. When she arrives, she must be received in chaste hands.’ 4.261. The dark oracle’s ambiguity set the senators puzzling 4.262. As to who that parent might be, and where to seek her. 4.263. Apollo was consulted, and replied: ‘Fetch the Mother 4.264. of all the Gods, who you’ll find there on Mount Ida.’ 4.265. Noblemen were sent. Attalus at that time held 4.266. The Phrygian sceptre: he refused the Italian lords. 4.267. Marvellous to tell, the earth shook with long murmurs 4.268. And the goddess, from her shrine, spoke as follows: 4.269. ‘I myself wished them to seek me: don’t delay: send me 4.270. Willingly. Rome is a worthy place for all divinities.’ 4.271. Quaking with fear at her words, Attalus, said: ‘Go 4.272. You’ll still be ours: Rome claims Phrygian ancestry.’ 4.273. Immediately countless axes felled the pine-tree 4.274. Those trees pious Aeneas employed for his flight: 4.275. A thousand hands work, and the heavenly Mother 4.276. Soon has a hollow ship, painted in fiery colours. 4.277. She’s carried in perfect safety over her son’s waves 4.278. And reaches the long strait named for Phrixus’ sister 4.279. Passes fierce Rhoetum and the Sigean shore 4.280. And Tenedos and Eetion’s ancient kingdom. 4.281. Leaving Lesbos behind she then steered for the Cyclades 4.282. And the waves that break on Euboea’s Carystian shoals. 4.283. She passed the Icarian Sea, as well, where Icarus shed 4.284. His melting wings, giving his name to a vast tract of water. 4.285. Then leaving Crete to larboard, and the Pelopian wave 4.286. To starboard, she headed for Cythera, sacred to Venus. 4.287. From there to the Sicilian Sea, where Brontes, Sterope 4.288. And Aemonides forge their red-hot iron 4.289. Then, skirting African waters, she saw the Sardinian 4.290. Realm behind to larboard, and reached our Italy. 4.291. She’d arrived at the mouth (ostia) where the Tiber divide 4.292. To meet the deep, and flows with a wider sweep: 4.293. All the Knights, grave Senators, and commoners 4.294. Came to meet her at the mouth of the Tuscan river. 4.295. With them walked mothers, daughters, and brides 4.296. And all those virgins who tend the sacred fires. 4.297. The men wearied their arms hauling hard on the ropes: 4.298. The foreign vessel barely made way against the stream. 4.299. For a long time there’d been a drought: the grass was dry 4.300. And scorched: the boat stuck fast in the muddy shallows. 4.301. Every man, hauling, laboured beyond his strength 4.302. And encouraged their toiling hands with his cries. 4.303. Yet the ship lodged there, like an island fixed in mid-ocean: 4.304. And astonished at the portent, men stood and quaked. 4.305. Claudia Quinta traced her descent from noble Clausus 4.306. And her beauty was in no way unequal to her nobility: 4.307. She was chaste, but not believed so: hostile rumour 4.308. Had wounded her, false charges were levelled at her: 4.309. Her elegance, promenading around in various hairstyles 4.310. And her ready tongue, with stiff old men, counted against her. 4.311. Conscious of virtue, she laughed at the rumoured lies 4.312. But we’re always ready to credit others with faults. 4.313. Now, when she’d stepped from the line of chaste women 4.314. Taking pure river water in her hands, she wetted her head 4.315. Three times, three times lifted her palms to the sky 4.316. (Everyone watching her thought she’d lost her mind) 4.317. Then, kneeling, fixed her eyes on the goddess’s statue 4.318. And, with loosened hair, uttered these words: 4.319. “ Kind and fruitful Mother of the Gods, accept 4.320. A suppliant’s prayers, on this one condition: 4.321. They deny I’m chaste: let me be guilty if you condemn me: 4.322. Convicted by a goddess I’ll pay for it with my life. 4.323. But if I’m free of guilt, grant a pledge of my innocence 4.324. By your action: and, chaste, give way to my chaste hands.” 4.325. She spoke: then gave a slight pull at the rope 4.326. (A wonder, but the sacred drama attests what I say): 4.327. The goddess stirred, followed, and, following, approved her: 4.328. Witness the sound of jubilation carried to the stars. 4.329. They came to a bend in the river (called of old 4.330. The Halls of Tiber): there the stream turns left, ascending. 4.331. Night fell: they tied the rope to an oak stump 4.332. And, having eaten, settled to a tranquil sleep. 4.333. Dawn rose: they loosed the rope from the oak stump 4.334. After first laying a fire and offering incense 4.335. And crowned the stern, and sacrificed a heifer 4.336. Free of blemish, that had never known yoke or bull. 4.337. There’s a place where smooth-flowing Almo joins the Tiber 4.338. And the lesser flow loses its name in the greater: 4.339. There, a white-headed priest in purple robe 4.340. Washed the Lady, and sacred relics, in Almo’s water. 4.341. The attendants howled, and the mad flutes blew 4.342. And soft hands beat at the bull’s-hide drums. 4.343. Claudia walked in front with a joyful face 4.344. Her chastity proven by the goddess’s testimony: 4.345. The goddess herself, sitting in a cart, entered the Capene Gate: 4.346. Fresh flowers were scattered over the yoked oxen. 4.347. Nasica received her. The name of her temple’s founder is lost: 4.348. Augustus has re-dedicated it, and, before him, Metellus.’ 4.349. Here Erato ceased. There was a pause for me to ask more: 4.350. I said: ‘Why does the goddess collect money in small coins?’ 4.351. She said: ‘The people gave coppers, with which Metellu 4.352. Built her shrine, so now there’s a tradition of giving them.’ 4.353. I asked why people entertain each other at feasts 4.354. And invite others to banquets, more than at other times. 4.355. She said: ‘It’s because the Berecynthian goddess by good luck 4.356. Changed her house, and they try for the same luck, by their visits.’ 4.357. I was about to ask why the Megalesia are the first game 4.358. of the City’s year, when the goddess (anticipating) said: 4.359. ‘She gave birth to the gods. They yielded to their mother 4.360. And she was given the honour of precedence.’ 4.361. Why then do we call those who castrate themselves, Galli 4.362. When the Gallic country’s so far from Phrygia?’ 4.363. ‘Between green Cybele and high Celaenae,’ she said 4.364. ‘Runs a river of maddening water, called the Gallus. 4.365. Whoever drinks of it, is crazed: keep far away, all you 4.366. Who desire a sound mind: who drinks of it is crazed.’ 4.367. ‘They consider it no shame to set a dish of salad 4.368. On the Lady’s table. What’s the reason?’ I asked. 4.369. She replied: ‘It’s said the ancients lived on milk 4.370. And on herbs that the earth produced of itself. 4.371. Now they mix cream cheese with pounded herbs 4.372. So the ancient goddess might know the ancient food.’ 4.373. When the stars have vanished, and the Moon unyoke 4.374. Her snowy horses, and the next dawn shines in the sky 4.375. He’ll speak true who says: ‘On this day long ago 4.376. The temple of Public Fortune was dedicated on the Quirinal.’ 4.377. It was the third day of the games (I recall), and a certain 4.378. Elderly man, who was sitting next to me at the show, said: 4.379. ‘This was the day when Julius Caesar crushed proud 4.380. Juba’s treacherous army, on the shores of Libya. 4.381. Caesar was my leader, under whom I’m proud 4.382. To have been a tribune: he ordered me so to serve. 4.383. I won this seat in war, and you in peace 4.384. Because of your role among the Decemvirs.’ 4.385. We were about to speak again when a sudden shower 4.386. Parted us: Libra balanced there shed heavenly waters. 4.387. But before the last day completes the spectacle 4.388. Orion with his sword will have sunk in the sea. 4.389. When the next dawn gazes on victorious Rome 4.390. And the fleeing stars have given way to the Sun 4.413. You girded attendants lift those knives from the ox: 4.414. Let the ox plough, while you sacrifice the lazy sow 4.415. It’s not fitting for an axe to strike a neck that’s yoked: 4.416. Let the ox live, and toil through the stubborn soil. 4.423. Cool Arethusa gathered together the mothers of the gods: 4.424. And the yellow-haired goddess came to the sacred feast. 4.437. One picked marigolds: another loved violets 4.438. And one nipped the poppy-heads with her nails: 4.439. Some you tempt, hyacinth: others, amaranth, you delay: 4.440. Others desire thyme, cornflowers or clover. 4.445. Dis, her uncle saw her, and swiftly carried her off 4.448. Carried away!’ and tore at the breast of her robe: 4.457. She rushed about, distracted, as we’ve heard 4.458. The Thracian Maenads run with flowing hair. 4.516. And begged her to shelter under his insignificant roof. 4.517. She refused. She was disguised as an old woman, her hair 4.518. Covered with a cap. When he urged her she replied: 4.521. She spoke, and a crystal drop (though goddesses cannot weep) 4.584. Is married to Jupiter’s brother, and rules the third realm.’ 4.619. White is fitting for Ceres: dress in white clothes for Ceres’ 4.620. Festival: on this day no one wears dark-coloured thread.
3. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5.341-5.642, 5.657 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

4. Orphic Hymns., Argonautica, 18-31, 17

5. Orphic Hymns., Fragments, 18, 20-22, 26, 31, 17

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
auspices Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
calendar, additions to Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
capitoline hill Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
cerealia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
ceres, and magna mater Pasco-Pranger, Founding the Year: Ovid's Fasti and the Poetics of the Roman Calendar (2006) 160
ceres de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
circus maximus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
claudian de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
demeter de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
eleusis de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
emotions, anger/rage de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
emotions, grief de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
emotions, guilt de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
emotions, maternal de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
festivals Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
food, ritual for magna mater Pasco-Pranger, Founding the Year: Ovid's Fasti and the Poetics of the Roman Calendar (2006) 160
fortuna Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
julius vindex Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
jupiter vindex Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
magna mater, and ceres Pasco-Pranger, Founding the Year: Ovid's Fasti and the Poetics of the Roman Calendar (2006) 160
motherhood de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
odysseus de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
oedipus de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
persephone de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
pisonian conspiracy Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
proserpine de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
salus, temples of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
senate, flattery of emperor by Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
sodalitas titii, sol, temple of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
telemachus de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667
ultio' Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
zeus de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster, Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond (2022) 667