|“||I warned you, daughter. This scoundrel Hades is no good. You could've married the god of doctors or the god of lawyers, but noooo. You had to eat that pomegranate.||”|
Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest and agriculture, also the goddess and presiding over grains, the seasons, the fertility, sacred law, nourishment, bread and the earth. Her Roman counterpart is Ceres.
Birth and Rescue
Demeter was the second child of Kronos, the Titan King of Mount Othrys, and his sister-wife, Rhea. Since Demeter was a goddess (a member of a more beautiful and powerful race of immortals than the Titans), Kronos, fearing that Demeter would one day overpower him and his father's prophecy will be true, he quickly proceeded to swallow her whole, to the horror of Rhea. Demeter, thus, spent her childhood undigested in her father's stomach along with four of her other siblings: her older sister, Hestia, her younger sister, Hera, and her younger brothers, Hades and Poseidon, all of whom were also swallowed shortly after their birth. As a result, Kronos became known as "King Cannibal." Rhea pleaded with Kronos to spare their children but with no success. However, Rhea soon gave birth to her final child, Zeus, whom she secretly raised on Crete (this was advised by Gaea), far away from Mount Othrys.
After growing up, Zeus successfully infiltrated Kronos' Palace on Mount Othrys as the Titan King's royal cup bearer. Demeter was finally released during the final drinking competition that Kronos had with his Titanic brothers and nephews. Zeus poured an extremely powerful emetic (made from nectar mixed with mustard) into Kronos' goblet, which caused the Titan King to disgorge all of the contents of his stomach, in reverse order of swallowing: first the boulder, then Poseidon, followed by Hera, Demeter, Hades, and finally Hestia. Zeus also prepared powerful knock out potions to the other titans so they could flee unopposed. Since they were immortal gods, they were unable to die despite being trapped in their father's stomach, and therefore had grown to their maturity undigested.
Zeus quickly introduced himself to his elder siblings, and all of them (including Demeter) promptly escaped Mount Othrys, before their Titanic uncles and cousins came to their senses. Shortly thereafter, Demeter and the other gods accepted Zeus as their leader as he was the one to release them, and reached a unanimous consensus on declaring war against their tyrannical father. Demeter was particularly bitter towards Kronos, and vowed that she would never forgive her father. However, since the Titans were well-armed and the gods still had no weapons, Demeter agreed to help Zeus release their Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheire uncles from Tartarus first.
Rescuing the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires
Demeter's brother, Hades, was very skilled in navigating under the earth, and therefore was able to lead them all into Tartarus (through a network of Underworld tunnels). There, imprisoned in the maximum-security zone, surrounded by huge bronze walls, and a lava moat, guarded fierce demons, were the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires. Their guardian, Kampê, was the most ferocious and fearsome monster in all of Tartarus, and even Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades initially shuddered with horror when they saw the infernal monster for the first time. However, the gods overcame their fear, and were able to sneak in. Zeus managed to talk to the Cyclopes Brontes, and convinced him to forge powerful weapons for him and his siblings behind Kampê's back. The three Elder Cyclopes forged three incredibly powerful weapons: the Master Bolt (for Zeus), the Trident (for Poseidon), and the Helm of Darkness (for Hades). With these new weapons, Zeus killed Kampê using his Master Bolt, and Poseidon shattered the chains of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, releasing them. Afterwards, Hades safely guided his siblings and uncles back out of Tartarus. In return, for their release, all six of Demeter's uncles agreed to fight on her side in the upcoming war with the Titans.
Shortly after their return from Tartarus, Demeter and her siblings officially declared war on Kronos and the other Titans, which resulted in the terrifying 11-year-long Titanomachy. The Elder Cyclopes soon forged a mighty golden sword for Demeter, which she bravely wielded in battle against the Titans. The Titans initially had the upper hand, since they were well-armed and much more experienced and skilled warriors. However, as the years of the war passed, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons, as well as the aid of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires (their huge strength and excellent forging skills proved to be very helpful), the gods finally prevailed.
While preparing for the final battle of the war, Demeter and her siblings ascended to Mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece after Mount Orthys). During the final battle, Zeus used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys, and hurl Kronos from his black throne, defeating the Titan King. Shortly thereafter, the gods invaded the ruins of Mount Orthys, and finally overwhelmed Atlas, Hyperion, Iapetus, Krios, and Koios.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Elder Cyclopes chained up all of the defeated Titans, while the Hekatonkheires forced them to kneel before Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Zeus took his father's Scythe, and sliced Kronos into a thousand pieces, before casting him into Tartarus, along with the rest of his followers (except for Atlas, who was forced to hold the Sky).
After the War
The gods chose Mount Olympus as their official residence, and the Elder Cyclopes build magnificent palaces there for them all. As a result, the gods started to call themselves the Olympians. Shortly thereafter, Demeter's brothers (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) divided the world between themselves: Hades received the Underworld, Poseidon seized the seas, and Zeus claimed the skies as his domain, becoming the King of Mount Olympus as well as the Olympians.
As for Demeter herself, she became the Goddess of Agriculture, Harvest, and Fertility, and would often visit mortals and teach them the necessary skills of agriculture. She traveled in a golden chariot pulled by twin dragons, and she also carried a gleaming gold sword (which she either used to cut wheat or to fight if need be) at her side. Since her older sister, Hestia, chose to remain an eternal virgin, she was the first goddess who caught the romantic attentions of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, especially since she was beautiful in her own right, kind-hearted, and was an excellent cook.
However, Demeter turned down all their proposals of marriage (though she still had children with Zeus and Poseidon), for she preferred to devote herself to her duties as the goddess of the harvest and fertility. She also presided over the foremost of the Mystery Cults, which promised its initiates the path to a blessed afterlife.
Relationship with Zeus
However, there came a time where Zeus (who had just ended his marriage with the Titaness Themis) was determined to court Demeter. Despite a shape-shifting struggle between the two, Zeus successfully seduced Demeter after transforming into a serpent. They enjoyed a relationship that resulted in Demeter's first child: a very beautiful daughter named Persephone. Though the affair later ended, Demeter was still happy, for she loved her daughter dearly.
Persephone grew up without want, always by the side of her mother, who shared some of her power over the earth with her, and she eventually became the Goddess of Springtime and Flowers. In fact, Demeter loved Persephone so dearly that she viewed her as the light of her life, and took to spending all of her time with her.
Relationship with Poseidon
A few years after Persephone's birth, Demeter decided to take a vacation to the beach. As she walked along the beach, she was noticed by her brother, Poseidon.
The god of the sea appeared before her, dressed in his best green robes, with a crown of seashells on his head and his trident in his hand, and tried to court her. Spurning his advances, Demeter tried to hide herself among a nearby herd of wild horses by transforming herself into a white mare. However, Poseidon not only possessed the power of shape-shifting as well, but was also "The Father of Horses", and therefore had perfect knowledge of and divine control over them. He quickly transformed into a strong white stallion himself, and galloped after her. He caught up with the herd, and made the horses part before him and surround Demeter, after which he successfully seduced her.
Shortly thereafter, Demeter gave birth to twins: Despoina (a goddess), and Arion (an immortal stallion who could run faster than anything in the world). Despoina would later become a minor goddess of fertility, and looked after Demeter's temples as a high priestess after reaching maturity. However, her twin brother, Arion, played a far more prominent role in mythology, given how he often come to the aid of demigod heroes (such as Hercules).
Relationship with Iasion
Shortly thereafter, Demeter fell head-over-heels in love with Iasion, a handsome and well-mannered mortal prince of Crete. Iasion had a great respect for agriculture, and always looked out for the local farmers of Crete, which touched Demeter's heart. They enjoyed an intense and passionate love affair which, unfortunately, ended in abrupt tragedy. Upon seeing the mutual love shared between Demeter and Iasion, Zeus was overcome with jealousy, and promptly killed him with a thunderbolt.
A devastated Demeter proceeded to lock herself in her Olympian private chambers for months. By the time that she had chosen to come out again, she had given birth to Ploutos, a minor god who presided over aricultural wealth. Ploutos would often travel all over Greece, and would reward the most hard-working farmers with sacks of money.
Erysichthon, an arrogant Prince of Thessaly, intended to build himself a magnificent mansion. However, the only building materials that he deemed fitting were the massive trees from Demeter's sacred grove. While Erysichthon and fifty of his burly friends set out to chop down the trees, Demeter herself appeared before them, in the guise of a maiden. While she tried to reason with them, Erysichthon completely disregarded her advice, and mocked Demeter. However, before he could chop down a single tree, the infuriated goddess removed her disguise, and grew over 100 feet tall. As the Goddess of Harvest and therefore the Mistress of Food, Demeter inflicted Erysichthon with insatiable hunger and thirst. After a couple of weeks, Erysichthon's hunger induced him to exhaust his riches and even sold his own daughter into slavery. However, the girl was saved by Poseidon, who took her to Atlantis, and made her his housekeeper. Erysichthon himself finally perished in poverty and excruciating pain.
When a proud Athena performed with her newly invented flute before Demeter, Hera, and Aphrodite, the goddesses began giggling and whispering to each other, with Demeter being the one to point out that Athena's facial features comically contort while she plays. An embarrassed Athena fled in humiliation, and hurled the flute off of Olympus, cursing it to give the worst fortune to the next person to play it, which ended up being the satyr Marsyas.
Abduction of Persephone
While Demeter loved all of her children dearly, Persephone remained her favorite child of all, the one whom she took to spending whatever free time she had with. Due to her great beauty, Persephone was often desired by many gods, but Demeter would never allow it.
However, Persephone came to be noticed by Hades himself. Although he was distanced from his Olympian family, Hades was lonely and desired a wife to fill the void. After seeing the beautiful young goddess, Hades fell madly in love with her, to the point that, for the first time, he became sloppy in his duties as Lord of the Dead. However, he knew that Persephone's overprotective mother, Demeter, would refuse to even consider the marriage, so decided to speak with her father instead. Zeus sympathized with his lovesick brother, and agreed to help him kidnap Persephone behind Demeter's back. One day, while Demeter was busy, leaving Persephone in the care of her companion nymphs, Hades managed to abduct her. Persephone's terrified scream was only heard by the minor goddess, Hecate.
Demeter eventually realised that her beloved daughter was missing, and started an epic tale of searching for her. Her search would have been fruitless, had not Helios (who saw everything due to his' being the Titan of the Sun) ultimately told her of what had happened. As a result of this, a grief-stricken and wrathful Demeter commanded the earth to become barren and infertile until her daughter was returned to her (this in turn induced autumn, and then winter). Upon seeing the starvation and anguish of the mortals due to Demeter's curse on the earth, Zeus was forced to order Hades to return Persephone to her mother.
Hades complied with his brother's wish, but before Persephone was taken back up by Hermes (the only god who can go freely to the Underworld), Hades' gardener gave her a pomegranate, and persuaded her to eat six seeds. Hence, Persephone has to stay within the Underworld for six months out of the year. This came at a cost, as Demeter never could accept that her daughter had married Hades, and left her. Demeter's nagging increased with this action, but Persephone got to stay with her husband (with whom she had fallen in love) this way.
Triptolemus, a prince of Eleusis who directed Demeter to Helios (and subsequently, helped her find Persephone), was justly rewarded by the goddess: she gifted him with a beautiful red-and-gold winged chariot (pulled by two pythons), and taught him the arts of agriculture. Afterwards, Demeter sent him on a mission to educate the whole of Greece. When Triptolemus taught Lynkos, king of Scythia (and demigod son of Hades), the arts of agriculture, Lynkos refused to teach it to his people and then tried to murder Triptolemus. As a result, Demeter turned him into a lynx, and made Triptolemus the immortal God of Farming.
Demeter was present at the winter solstice council meeting. Though she had no known speaking role, she was one of the first few, along with Aphrodite, to vouch for Percy Jackson's safety and to prevent his death.
She and Persephone make an appearance in the Underworld as a guest in Hades' realm due to her daughter's presence. She nags Persephone about marrying Hades and said that she had made a bad decision, displaying a character similar to that of elderly mothers in modern Western pop culture. She meets Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo when they go down to talk to Hades before visiting the River Styx, this time curiously displaying no particular affection for either. After Nico convinces Hades to reinforce Olympus at a desperate moment and help his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon with the other Olympian gods, against their Titan father, Kronos, both Demeter and her first daughter joined with him, turning an entire army of giants into a wheat field while in battle and later joining the other gods on Olympus when they reward the heroes after the Battle of Manhattan has ended.
Demeter, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated (with her personality split between her and her Roman form Ceres) after Leo was manipulated by Gaea into shooting upon Camp Jupiter from the Argo II therefore declaring war on them.
When Reyna, with the help of six pegasi finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill, golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods, and curing all of the Olympians (including Demeter) of their split personalities. As a result, Demeter promptly arrives in Athens to participate in the final battle with the Giants, riding in her golden chariot pulled by fearsome twin dragons. She helps defeat several Giants, after which Hades sends their bodies back to Tartarus by opening up abysses under them right after each Giant is killed. Shortly after the battle, Demeter is seen having what Jason thinks is "an intense discussion" with Hera and Poseidon. She watches as Zeus hurls the Argo II all the way back to Camp Half-Blood.
Though she doesn't make a physical appearance in the book, Demeter claims Meg McCaffrey as her daughter. While she is being claimed, someone (Damien White) makes a comment saying that she is a communist, because Demeter's symbol of power is a Sickle, which happens to also be the symbol of communism, whilst being totally unrelated. This does imply that either he was being sarcastic, or ignorant about knowledge on Greek Mythology, despite the fact that he lives in a demigod camp.
Demeter is constantly mentioned throughout the book. Lityerses says that she is his mother, while Apollo tells Meg McCaffrey the stories of her marriage to Karmanor and her child Eubouleus, the god of swineherds, and her awarding Triptolemus for helping her search for Persephone, and her effort to make his brother Demophon immortal. He also tells her about Demeter's benevolence to all, and all this happens while she is unconscious in the cave of the Oracle of Trophonius.
Demeter is mentioned when Meg is being told about her family history.
Demeter is somewhat fussy and has overprotective maternal instincts which could potentially make her an ideal mother, but seems to be absent-minded, which goes far into explaining how Persephone could have been kidnapped by Hades. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Persephone says she is kind and caring. In The Hidden Oracle, Apollo says she is warm and loving. Demeter is also described as being unexpected and temperamental as the seasons.
She is also a stereotypical mother-in-law, never missing an opportunity to chastise and criticize Hades' work and marriage to her daughter. Possessing a very caring nature and an obsession for cereal, Demeter insists upon advising eating healthy and hard work as every mother would (as shown when she talks to Nico). While Demeter always rewards everyone who shows her kindness (like Triptolemus and Metanira), she is extremely severe to those who disrespect her and agriculture (like Erysichthon).
Ceres is Demeter's Roman aspect. she becomes more disciplined, militaristic, and warlike. While Greeks envisioned Demeter as the one who gave mankind the gift of agriculture, Romans believed that the laws and rites of Ceres protected all the activities of the agricultural cycle. She has children or descendants at Camp Jupiter near San Francisco, including Leila
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter is more beautiful than Hestia, though less so compared to Hera: she had long blond hair the color of ripe wheat, and wore a bright green dress with a dark cape, which gave her the appearance of fresh plant shoots breaking through fertile earth whenever she moved. She also wore a crown of woven corn leaves and adornments of poppies, and had a sweet distinctive scent of a rainstorm over a field of jasmine. Wherever she went, Demeter was said to cut a surprisingly warlike figure, given that she rode a golden chariot pulled by twin dragons, and at her side gleamed a curved Imperial Gold sword.
In The Titan's Curse, Demeter was described as a dark-haired woman in green robes.
In The Last Olympian, Demeter was described to be an older and sterner version of her daughter Persephone, with the same lustrous black hair and warm brown eyes, and her golden dress being the color of a wheat field. Demeter's hair was woven with dried grasses, and reminded Percy of a wicker basket.
In The Blood of Olympus, when Demeter arrives in Athens to help the Seven Heroes of Olympus battle the Giants, she is described as wearing green and gold robes.
The differences in Demeter's physical description throughout the novels could be attributed to the fact that, as a goddess, she has the ability to assume any shape she desired, though it must be noted that she retains her stunning beauty and dignity no matter what physical manifestation she adopts.
As an Elder Olympian and the Goddess of Agriculture, Demeter is more powerful than her older sister, Hestia, but less so compared to her younger siblings (Hera and the Big Three). Due to her having divine authority over agriculture and the harvest, she wields tremendous power over the forces of nature, and could weave them to her will: she could command the trees of the forest to grow, vegetation to spring forth from the ground, and even punish those who offend her with famine, hunger, and thirst. Since the seasons also fall under her jurisdiction, she could change the climate and state of the earth as well.
The legendary tale of Hades and Persephone is just one of the numerous instances where Demeter's powers could affect the state of nature itself: when she is with her most beloved daughter, Persephone, the earth is warm and fertile, but when Persephone is away with her husband, Hades, the world is cold, dark, and barren.
- Shapeshifting: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter has the power to transform and reshape the form of her body, though she hardly ever utilizes this ability. She has transformed into an eagle (while escaping from Kronos' palace on Mount Othrys), a bat (while sneaking into Tartarus' maximum-security zone with her siblings), a snake (while trying to escape from Zeus' advances), and a mare (while trying to escape from Poseidon's advances).
- Chlorokinesis: As the Goddess of Agriculture, Demeter has divine authority and absolute control over plants and the harvest. She has the same plant-manipulation powers as her demigod children, only to an infinitely greater extent.
- Fertility Manipulation: As the Goddess of Fertility, Demeter has the power to manipulate fertility, the natural capability for living beings to reproduce (in terms of animals) or grow (in terms of plants). She could either grant or enhance the fertility of the earth, turning barren plains into fertile fields, encourage orchards to bear fruit, and flowers to bloom. She could also render things infertile, making them unable to reproduce or grow.
- Swordsmanship: According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter always wore a curved and menacing Imperial Gold sword (forged for her by the Elder Cyclopes) on her belt. While she usually uses it to cut wheat, it was stated that Demeter was also capable of skillfully wielding it in combat against those who anger her, which reveals her to be an expert swordswoman.
- Body Length Manipulation: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter has the power to manipulate the height of her body - when provoked to breaking point by Erysichthon, she grew to a massive height greater than even the trees of her sacred grove. Percy describes her as "Grainzilla" in this state.
- Nourishment Manipulation: As the Mistress of All Nourishment, Demeter has absolute control and divine authority over nourishment. An example of an ability she derived from this province is:
- Gluttony Inducement: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter had the power to induce excessive eating or gluttony, rendering one unable to focus on anything else than fulfilling their hunger - she cursed Erysichthon to suffer and eventually die an excruciating death from insatiable hunger and thirst.
- Deification: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter has the power to transform whomever she chooses into immortal deities - had it not been for the untimely interference of Metaneira, she would have successfully made Demophoon an immortal god. Later on, she made Triptolemus her immortal lieutenant as the God of Farming after he helped her find her daughter.
- Geokinesis: As the Goddess of the Earth, Demeter has absolute control and divine authority over the earth, presumably more than her siblings (Hera and Hades), though less so compared to her grandmother, Gaea. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she permitted the crops of Eleusis to continue growing even as she rendered the rest of the earth barren and infertile.
- Thermokinesis: As the Goddess of Agriculture, Demeter has divine authority and absolute control over the temperatures of the atmosphere, which is also the basis of her control over the seasons. Examples of other abilities she derived from this province are:
- Seasons Control: As the Goddess of the Seasons, Demeter has divine authority and absolute control over the seasons, such as annually transforming spring into winter (when her daughter Persephone is with Hades), and vice versa (when her daughter returns).
- Atmokinesis: As the Goddess of the Seasons, Demeter has the power to create, shape, and manipulate the weather to a certain extent, such as causing rain or snow, though her ability to do so is inferior to that of her brother, Zeus.
- Cursing: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter has the power to place a curse on anyone or anything - upon learning of how Askalaphos had helped Hades to trick Persephone, she furiously sent a powerful curse straight into the Underworld, transforming him into a gecko.
- Culinary Arts: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter was said to be an excellent cook, knowing how to bake delicious bread and cookies.
- Transfiguration: As demonstrated in the Battle of Manhattan, Demeter has the power to transform, or alter, or transmute objects or beings into anything else - she transformed numerous Dracaenae into barley.
- Ant Manipulation: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Demeter has the power to summon and control ants - she sent numerous ants to help Psyche sort out the grains spilled all over Aphrodite's kitchen.
The goddess Demeter's symbols are the following:
- Her general symbols are the cornucopia, (sheaves of) wheat, bread, torch, acorns, honey.
- Her sacred animals are the cats and dogs (all domestic pets), lions, snakes, lizards, pigs and the crane.
- Her sacred plants are the poppies, the sunflower, the cypress, the foxglove, the daisy, the columbine, the ash and the oak trees.
- Her sacred colors are the green (which represent the florescence of the spring), dark brown (which represents the soil and the earth) and gold (which represents wheat and fields of grain).
|Poseidon||Arion and Despoina|
|Iasion||Philomelus and Korybas|
|Eli Whitney I||Eli Whitney II|
|Mr. Gardner||Katie Gardner|
|Mr. Gardiner||Miranda Gardiner|
|Phillip McCaffrey||Meg McCaffrey|
|Mr. Ng||Billie Ng|
- After Hestia stepped down from the Olympian Council, Demeter is the oldest Olympian to have a throne in Olympus.
- She is the only Olympain female to have blonde hair (Apollo is the only male Olympain with blonde hair)
- Out of her and her sisters (Hestia and Hera), she is the only one to have demigod children.
- Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt (located between Mars and Jupiter), is named after Demeter's Roman aspect.
- Demeter is one of the twelve Olympians who doesn't make a major appearance in a book, aside from her minor role in The Last Olympian. However, Demeter does have a much larger role in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods.
- As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Demeter (who was distraught about her daughter, Persephone), was the only one to touch the food prepared for the Olympians by Tantalus. Hence, Demeter unknowingly ate Pelops' shoulder. However, when Zeus brought him back to life, Hephaestus was able to make a replacement shoulder for Pelops out of ivory.
- In The Last Olympian, Demeter kept on telling Persephone to eat more cereal, which is named after her Roman counterpart, Ceres.
- She appears to have chosen her lovers for humorous reasons as two of her known children — Miranda Gardiner and Katie Gardner — have names that sound like gardener, for she is goddess of agriculture and farming.
- Due to her curved Imperial Gold sword, Demeter is sometimes referred to as Demeter Chrysaoros, or "Demeter of the golden sword".
- 1108 Demeter, a main belt asteroid 26km in diameter, is named after her.
- Hades, her own brother, is also her son-in-law.
- Some stories say that her weapon was actually molded from Kronos' scythe to her own choice of a weapon.
- Her Norse equivalent would be Sif.
- Her name possibly means "Mother-Earth" or "Earth-Mother".
- In the film version of The Lightning Thief the actress who performs her is the more similar to the real appearance in the books, despite almost all others actors.