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Primary Sources

Apollod. 1.5.1-1.5.3: the myth of Homeric Hymn 2, but with variations.
Callim. Hymn 6.
Hdt. 8.65.1-8.65.6: Cloud from Eleusis.
HH 2 Complete.
HH 13 Complete.
Hyg. 7: Antiope and Lycus.
8: Antiope and Lycus.
146: Persephone.
147: Triptolemus.
Ov. Met. 5.341-571: Rape of Persephone.
Paus. 1.14.1-1.14.4: Demeter and Triptolemus.
1.36.3-1.39.2: The Sacred Way and the road from Eleusis to Megara.
2.3.4: Hermes and the Mysteries.
2.14.1-2.14.3: The Mysteries of Demeter at Celeae.
2.35.4-2.35.10: The festival of Demeter, who is called Chthonia.
4.17.1: Sanctuary of Demeter at Aegila.
7.18.2-7.18.3: Triptolemus.
7.21.11-7.21.13: Sanctuary and oracle of Demeter.
7.27.9-7.27.10: Sanctuary of the Mysian Demeter.
8.15.1-8.15.4: The sanctuary of Demeter and the Eleusinian rites celebrated by the people of Pheneus.
8.25.3-8.25.10: Demeter, Poseidon, and the horse Arion.
8.31.1-8.31.8: Enclosure sacred to the Great Goddesses, Demeter, and the Maid.
8.37.1-8.37.10: The sanctuary of the Mistress.
8.42.1-8.42.13: Demeter surnamed Black.
9.23.3-9.23.4: Pindar and Persephone.
9.25.5-9.25.10: Grove and rituals of Cabirean Demeter and the Maid.
Plut. Alc. 18.3-20.1: The mutilation of the Herms and a description of how the mysteries were desecrated.
Alc. 34.1-34.6: Alcibiades enhances the Eleusinian ceremonies.
Strab. 9.1.12: The temple of the Eleusinian Demeter and the mystic chapel.

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Secondary Sources


Atwood, Margaret (1939–). Double Persephone. Toronto: Hawkshead Press, 1961. Poems.

Boisseau, Michelle. “Persephone.” No Private Life. Nashville, TN:  Vanderbilt University Press, 1990, 35.

Dove, Rita. “Persephone, Falling.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 9.

———. “Persephone Abducted.” Mother Love. New York:  Norton, 1995, 13.

———. “Persephone in Hell.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 23-33.

———. “Hades’ Pitch.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 37.

———. “Demeter Mourning.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 48.

———. “Exit.” Mother Love. New York:  Norton, 1995, 49.

———. “Lost Brilliance.” Mother Love. New York:  Norton, 1995, 51.

———. “Demeter Waiting.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 56.

———. “Missing.” Mother Love. New York: Norton, 1995, 62.

Goethe, Johan Wolfgang von (1749–1832). Romische elegien (“Roman Elegies”), no. 12. Poems.

Orlock, Carol (1947–). The Goddess Letters: The Myth of Demeter & Persephone Retold. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987. Novel.


Burkert, Walter. Ancient Mystery Cults. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Dillon, Matthew. Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion. New York: Routledge, 2002. An informative survey that does much to dispel old fashioned concepts about the character and role of women in ancient society.

Foley, Helene P., ed. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. Here is a wealth of material, with contributions by several scholars, on all sorts of subjects related to the Hymn (e.g., religion, psychology, politics, variants of the myth, archetypal themes, female experience) and manifold influences on literature and thought.

Hind, S. The Metamorphosis of Persephone: Ovid and the Self-Conscious Muse. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Deals with Ovid’s treatment of the rape of Persephone in the Metamorphoses 5 and Fasti 4.    

Jung, C. G., and Kerényi, C. Essays on a Science of Mythology: The Myth of the Divine Child and the Mysteries of Eleusis. New York: Princeton University Press, 1963. Jung provides a psychological commentary for Kerényi’s essays on the Divine Child and the Kore (“maiden”).

Kerényi, C. Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter.  New York: Schocken, 1977.

Mylonas, George E. Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961. Spaeth, Barbette Stanley. The Roman Goddess Ceres. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995. This study of the Roman counterpart of Demeter challenges the interpretation of goddesses as archetypes for feminist liberation.

Trager, Philip. Persephone. Wesleyan University Press, 1996, distributed by University Press of New England (Hanover and London). An attractive little book offering a concise synthesis of dance (the ballet by Lemon), photography (by Trager), and poetry (by Eavan Boland and Rita Dove).

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Bengtson, Peter (1961–). ‘Hekas! For symphonic winds. Östgöta Symphonic Wind Ensemble, cond. van Beek. BIS CD-818. “The title alludes to a processional call from the mysteries of Eleusis.”

Bon, André (1946–). The Rape of Persephone. Opera. Vassilieva et al. Orchestre de l’Opéra de Nancy, cond. Kaltenbach. Cybelia (Musique Française) CY 861. The setting is contemporary Agrigento, where Demeter and Persephone are a Sicilian mother and daughter, Pluto, a Sicilian industrialist, with Athena and Artemis as friends of Persephone.

Markopoulos, Yannis. Music and Songs for Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae. MORFI 171. Composed for productions of these plays in Greece. Orchestra, cond. Markopoulos.

Stravinsky, Igor (1882–1971). Perséphone. Madeleine Milhaud. Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin, cond. Stravinsky.  Urania URA 55202.  Also Anthony Rolfe Johnson et al. London Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Nagano. Virgin Classics 4821062; Igor Stravinsky, The Composer, vol. 3. Irene Jacob et al. The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, cond. Craft. Music Masters 01612-67103-2. Stravinsky: Orchestral Works. NicoleTibbels et al. BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Andrew Davis. Warner Classics.2564-61548-2;. Stravinsky.  Stuart Neill et al. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, cond. Michael tilson Thomas. RCA 68898.Text by André Gide from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. A melodrama for speaker, tenor, orchestra, mixed chorus, and boys' chorus. There are three sections: Persephone Abducted, Persephone in the Underworld, and Persephone Restored.

Szymanowski, Karol (1882–1937). Demeter. For contralto soloist, female chorus, and orchestra. Malewicz-Madej. Polish State Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Stryja. The text (not printed in the booklet) is based upon Euripides, and a preliminary for Szymanowski’s opera King Roger. Also includes Penthesilea.

Xenakis, Iannis (1922–2001). Persephassa, for six percussion players. Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, cond. Izquierdo. Mode 58. Persephassa is an archaic name for Persephone. Also included is La Déesse Athéna.

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