Or Babo (Βαβω), a mythical woman of Eleusis, whom Hesychius calls the nurse of Demeter; but the common story runs thus: — on her wanderings in search of her daughter, Demeter came to Baubo, who received her hospitably, and offered her something to drink; but when the goddess, being too much under the influence of grief, refused to drink, Baubo made an indecent gesture (i.e. displayed her private parts). The goddess smiled and accepted the draft.1
In the fragment of the Orphic hymn, which Clement of Alexandria adds to this account, it is further related, that a boy of the name of Iacchus made an indecent gesture at the grief of Demeter. Arnobius2 repeats the story of Baubo from Clement, but without mentioning the boy Iacchus, who is otherwise unknown, and, if meant for Dionysus, is out of place here.
The different stories concerning the reception of Demeter at Eleusis seem all to be inventions of later times, coined for the purpose of giving a mythical origin to the jokes in which the women used to indulge at the festival of this goddess. See also Ascalabus and Ascalaphus.
- 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.