The goddess who grants growth and prosperity to the fields, a surname of Persephone.
According to a Troezenian legend, there came once during an insurrection at Troezen two Cretan maidens, Auxesia and Damia, who was probably Demeter, and who, in our editions of Pausanias, is called Lamia (perhaps only an incorrect reading for Damia). During the tumult, the two maidens were stoned to death, whereupon the Troezenians paid divine honors to them, and instituted the festival of the Lithobolia.1
According to an Epidaurian and Aeginetan tradition, the country of Epidaurus was visited by a season of scarcity, and the Delphic oracle advised the Epidaurians to erect statues of Auxesia and Damia, which were to be made of olive-wood. The Epidaurians therefore asked permission of the Athenians to cut down an Attic olive-tree. The request was granted, on condition that the Epidaurians should every year offer up sacrifices to Athena Agraulos and Erichthonius. When the condition was complied with, the country of Epidaurus again bore fruit as before.
Now when about B. C. 540 Aegina separated itself from Epidaurus, which had till then been regarded as its metropolis, the Aeginetans, who had had their sacra in common with the Epidaurians, took away the two statues of Auxesia and Damia, and erected them in a part of their own island called Oea, where they offered sacrifices and celebrated mysteries. When the Epidaurians, in consequence of this, ceased to perform the sacrifices at Athens, and the Athenians heard of the statues being carried to Aegina, they demanded their surrender of the Aeginetans. The islanders refused, and the Athenians threw ropes round the sacred statues, to drag them away by force. But thunder and earthquakes ensued, and the Athenians engaged in the work were seized with madness, in which they killed one another. Only one of them escaped to carry back to Athens the sad tidings.
The Aeginetans added to this legend, that the statues, while the Athenians were dragging them down, fell upon their knees, and that they remained in this attitude ever after.2
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 32.3.
- Herodotus. Histories v, 82-86; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 30.5; Homer. Hymn to Demeter, 122.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.