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Author Topic: Textbook is wrong  (Read 5803 times)
Sperran
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« Topic Start: November 19, 2007, 09:30:56 am »

So I was a little frustrated when I looked at the footnotes for the poem "The Garden of Proserpine" and saw the following:

"The garden is the land of the dead, the domain of Proserpina, queen of the underworld and daughter of Ceres (or Demeter) the Earth Mother." (emphasis mine)  I wonder if it is worth my time to check later editions and see if it has been corrected, and if not, try to get someone to correct it.  Or should I just grind my teeth in silence?  Smiley

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« Reply #1: November 19, 2007, 09:37:04 am »

So I was a little frustrated when I looked at the footnotes for the poem "The Garden of Proserpine" and saw the following:
"The garden is the land of the dead, the domain of Proserpina, queen of the underworld and daughter of Ceres (or Demeter) the Earth Mother." (emphasis mine)  I wonder if it is worth my time to check later editions and see if it has been corrected, and if not, try to get someone to correct it.  Or should I just grind my teeth in silence?  Smiley
Sperran

If this is something that bothers you, you can contact the publisher. Textbooks do sometimes contain mistakes.
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« Reply #2: November 19, 2007, 10:09:36 am »

If this is something that bothers you, you can contact the publisher. Textbooks do sometimes contain mistakes.


Kind of a problem is that this is an older edition.  Thus, before I contact the publisher, I would have to find the latest edition to see if any changes have been made.  If this footnote has been corrected or removed, I would be complaining about nothing.  That seems like a lot of work, and well, I'm lazy.   Tongue

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« Reply #3: November 19, 2007, 02:06:08 pm »

So I was a little frustrated when I looked at the footnotes for the poem "The Garden of Proserpine" and saw the following:

"The garden is the land of the dead, the domain of Proserpina, queen of the underworld and daughter of Ceres (or Demeter) the Earth Mother." (emphasis mine)  I wonder if it is worth my time to check later editions and see if it has been corrected, and if not, try to get someone to correct it.  Or should I just grind my teeth in silence?  Smiley

Sperran

Hmmm...you know, I've seen Demeter referred to as "Earth Mother" from a few trusted sources (I was rather surprised to find this myself) I don't really agree with it, I do believe that Demeter and Ceres are more "grain mother" but I can see where it comes from. I also want to say that I stumbled upon a line from one of the many ancient Greek texts recently referring to Demeter as Earth Mother- this only would stand out in my mind because it surprised me so much, either that or I'm delusional. I am not a follower of Demeter or Ceres so I don't have a bajillion memorized references as I might for a certain other deity or two. I'll try to dig up those references and post them here. Alternately, if I reach a conclusion that I was hallucinating (which is entirely possible) I'll post that here also.

But as you said below, it would probably be a good idea to check newer editions of the book if you can to see if it's been corrected(what book is this, by the way?)
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« Reply #4: November 19, 2007, 02:13:56 pm »

I'll try to dig up those references and post them here. Alternately, if I reach a conclusion that I was hallucinating (which is entirely possible) I'll post that here also.

Well, here is this referring to her as the goddess of the earth with ancient references (all, or at least most of the referenced texts are available on the linked website in the "library" section)  It's not a big stretch to take "earth mother" from this:

Quote
Demeter was the goddess of the earth (Eurip. Bacch. 276), and more especially of the earth as producing fruit, and consequently of agriculture, whence human food or bread is called by Homer Il. xiii. 322) the gift of Demeter. The notion of her being the author of the earth's fertility was extended to that of fertility in general, and she accordingly was looked upon also as the goddess of marriage (Serv. ad Aen. iv. 58), and was worshipped especially by women. Her priestess also initiated young married people into the duties of their new situation. (Plut. de Off. conj. 1.) As the goddess of the earth she was like the other theoi chthonioi, a subterraneous divinity, who worked in the regions inaccessible to the rays of Helios. As agriculture is the basis of a well-regulated social condition, Demeter is represented also as the friend of peace and as a law-giving goddess. (thesmophoros, Callim. Hymn. in Cer. 138; Orph. Hymn. 39. 4; Virg. Aen. iv. 58; Hom. Il. v. 500; Ov. Met. v. 341; Paus. viii. 15. ยง 1.)

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Demeter.html
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« Reply #5: November 19, 2007, 03:26:50 pm »

Hmmm...you know, I've seen Demeter referred to as "Earth Mother" from a few trusted sources (I was rather surprised to find this myself) I don't really agree with it, I do believe that Demeter and Ceres are more "grain mother" but I can see where it comes from.
<snip>
But as you said below, it would probably be a good idea to check newer editions of the book if you can to see if it's been corrected(what book is this, by the way?)

I can't agree with it much at all since I think that would be a title much better taken by Gaia.  It isn't a *horrible* mistake, but it bugs me anyway.  The text is Victorian Poetry and Poetics.

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« Reply #6: November 19, 2007, 03:36:59 pm »

I can't agree with it much at all since I think that would be a title much better taken by Gaia.  It isn't a *horrible* mistake, but it bugs me anyway.  The text is Victorian Poetry and Poetics.

Sperran

Oh, I definitely agree that Gaia is the Hellenic Earth Mother . However, I do not dispute ancient sources- if the Greeks didn't know who or what Demeter was to them, no one knows- and can definitely see where that would lead to the idea of Demeter as an earth mother deity.

Victorian poetry...that makes a lot of sense. The Victorians did some painful things to Greek mythology.
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« Reply #7: November 19, 2007, 06:14:45 pm »

Oh, I definitely agree that Gaia is the Hellenic Earth Mother.

Only in a very abstract sense. I don't believe there is much evidence of any cult for Gaia in ancient Greece. Like many of the "forebearer deities," Gaia doesn't appear much except in as ancestor of the current Gods as a part of the mythic origin of the world.
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« Reply #8: November 19, 2007, 08:25:53 pm »

Only in a very abstract sense. I don't believe there is much evidence of any cult for Gaia in ancient Greece. Like many of the "forebearer deities," Gaia doesn't appear much except in as ancestor of the current Gods as a part of the mythic origin of the world.

True. I wasn't actually referring to religious cult. Though there are a number of references to a minor cult of Gaia in several locales, written about by Pausanias. http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Gaia3.html  One paragraph does indicate that it was inextricably tied to the worship of Demeter:

Quote
The Earth was usually worshipped in the guise of the Olympian goddess Demeter (Mother Earth). Gaia herself had little cult, and that which did exist was for the most part inseperable from that of Demeter. Black animals were sacrificed to Gaia and other chthonian gods.

However, if you read over the references, some of them have no mention of Demeter.
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« Reply #9: November 19, 2007, 08:55:15 pm »

However, if you read over the references, some of them have no mention of Demeter.

References in myth, yes -- and some from later than the classical era, but there just isn't much evidence for an active cult of Gaia in Classical Greece.
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« Reply #10: November 19, 2007, 09:05:03 pm »

References in myth, yes -- and some from later than the classical era, but there just isn't much evidence for an active cult of Gaia in Classical Greece.


Hmm, well that's interesting. I never realized that Pausanias was so late in the game...

(For the record, I have no particular motive or agenda for digging up references to Gaia and any cult which she may or may not have received, and quite frankly have never understood how "Gaia" has come to be such a widely-used name in modern times in reference to Earth and worship of Earth. Oh, and I've all but had thigns thrown at me for expressing the thought that I find the Millenium Gaia statue to be one of the creepiest-looking things I've ever seen.)

Just sayin'. :-P
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« Reply #11: November 19, 2007, 10:01:04 pm »

....and quite frankly have never understood how "Gaia" has come to be such a widely-used name in modern times in reference to Earth and worship of Earth.

James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis -- misinterpreted as saying Earth was a living being.
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« Reply #12: November 19, 2007, 11:03:23 pm »

James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis -- misinterpreted as saying Earth was a living being.

Ah, ok
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« Reply #13: November 19, 2007, 11:14:24 pm »

Oh, and I've all but had thigns thrown at me for expressing the thought that I find the Millenium Gaia statue to be one of the creepiest-looking things I've ever seen.

You're not the only one, that statue is disturbing to say the least, but I cant put my finger on why it is.
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« Reply #14: November 20, 2007, 02:31:32 pm »

So I was a little frustrated when I looked at the footnotes for the poem "The Garden of Proserpine" and saw the following:

"The garden is the land of the dead, the domain of Proserpina, queen of the underworld and daughter of Ceres (or Demeter) the Earth Mother." (emphasis mine)  I wonder if it is worth my time to check later editions and see if it has been corrected, and if not, try to get someone to correct it.  Or should I just grind my teeth in silence?  Smiley

Sperran

Dude, you're reading Swinburne!  he's one of my favorites!  Cheesy

Re the Earth Mother thing:  I am totally not surprised that the editor of an anthology of Victorian lit wouldn't necessarily be au fait with the intricacies of classical mythology, and would be using somewhat archetypal language -- scholars have a hard enough time keeping up with their own fields to be constantly aware of accepted terminology in others.  That said, if you find out it hasn't been corrected in later editions, absolutely write to them!
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