The ancient lexica (Etymologicum Magnum, Photius, Hesychius, Suda) identify Zagreus as a poetic name for Dionysus in a chthonic aspect, χθόνιος Διόνυσος, and he is invoked along with Gē (Earth), in the early, lost epic Alkmaionis (fr. 3 Bernabé). Other early evidence identifies Zagreus as an underworld deity, Plouton or the son of Hades. In the Sisyphos (fr. 228 TrGF), he is the son of Hades, while the fragment from Aeschylus’s Aigyptioi identifies him as the savage Zeus of the deceased (fr. 5 TrGF, cp. Supp. 157). The name “Zagreus” here seems to be understood as the “mighty hunter” (ὁ μεγάλως ἀγρεύων in Etymologicum Gudianum) who snatches away mortals into the kingdom of the dead, hence the application of the euphemistic epithet of the lord of the dead, the “host of many,” πολυξενώτατος.In other sources, Zagreus is chthonic because of his mother, Persephone, queen of the underworld, a genealogy first attested in a fragment of the Hellenistic poet Callimachus (Aetia fr.
The mystery cult of the Eleusinian goddesses Demeter and Persephone was the most important Greek mystery cult. During its very long existence, the Eleusinian Mysteries influenced other cults and attracted and inspired countless ancient humans and gave them better hopes for their afterlife.The Eleusinian Mysteries was an annual Athenian festival celebrated in the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore outside the small city of Eleusis, about twenty-two kilometres northwest of Athens (see figure 1).Its local name, Mystēria, conforms to many other festival names in the Attic-Ionian calendar, such as Plyn-tēria (“Washing Festival”) or Anthes-tēria (“Flower Festival”) (thus the distinction between the festival name with a capital M and the generic noun). The underlying root is visible in the term mýs-tēs, the “initiate,” a noun derived from the verb mýō (that is a sigmatic stem*mýs-o whose /s/ remained preserved before the dental /t/), “to close” (one’s eyes), to which .
Persephone/Kore (Περσεφόνη/ Κόρη) is a goddess, Demeter’s daughter by Zeus, wife of Hades, and queen of the underworld. Her most important myth is that of her abduction by Hades, her father’s brother. In Orphic literature, she is Dionysus’ mother by Zeus. Persephone/Kore is often worshipped in association with Demeter and Hades, but independent cults of the goddess are also attested. Persephone was adopted by the Romans as Proserpina.In Mycenaean, the names Persephone (Περσεφόνη), and Kore (Κόρη), have been proposed without agreement for the lemmas pe-re- *82 in Pylos and ko-wa in Thebes (TH Fq 126.2). The name Persephone (Homeric Persephoneia, Lyric Phersephonā), whose etymology is dark, presents variants as Persephassa or Phersephassa (Tragic), Pherrephatta, Perrephatta, or Pherrophatta, Perophatta, Persōphata (on Attic vases of the 5th century bce). The term Persephone stresses her persona as Hades’ wife, whilst as Demeter’s daughter, she is often called Kore, “the Girl.” Mother and daughter are usually named together in expressions like “the Two Goddesses” (tō theō), “the Thesmophoroi” (tō Thesmoforō) or, sporadically, “the Demeters” (Dēmēteres). Kore is more usual as a formal title of the goddess in many state cults, but Persephone is also found in .
The “Getty Hexameters” represent a “cluster” of verse incantations written on a small, folded piece of lead epigraphically and historically dateable to the end of the 5th century. Found in clandestine operations most probably at Selinous (Σελινοῦς, modern Selinunte), in Sicily, the fragmentary text came to the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu, California) in 1981 as the gift of Dr. Max Gerchik, along with four other lead pieces of certain Selinuntine provenance, including the large Lex Sacra from Selinous (= SEG XLIII.630, c. 475–450 bce) and three early defixiones, or curse tablets (Kotansky and Curbera, 2004).After the lead fragments were joined and restored by Mark B. Kotansky in 1981, Roy D. Kotansky independently transcribed and deciphered the text at that time and eventually published a preliminary edition in 2011 with David R. Jordan, an expert on lead defixiones, who provided his own supplements, notes, and translation (Jordan and Kotansky, 2011).