Demeter in Greece

Throughout the Near East, this mother goddess was variously known as Astarte, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Cybele, Demeter, Ceres, Aphrodite, Venus, and Freya.

She had a special lover (sometimes called her son; and, in one case, her daughter). Thus, for example, we have Isis and Horus, the sun god (Osiris was the son), in Egypt (in later Egypt, Osiris was called Serapis); Ishtar and Tammuz, in Babylon and Sumeria; Cybele and Attis, in Phrygia; Aphrodite and Adonis, in Syria; Atys and Bendis, in Asia; and Anaita and Haoma (later called Mithra), in Persia.

She also had a special son (who was sometimes the same as his father). So we have Isis and Osiris, in Egypt; Ishtar and Tammuz, in Babylonia; Astarte and Adonis, in Syria; Demeter and Persephone (and daughter), in Greece; and Cybele and Attis, in Phrygia.

In Greece, she is called Demeter; and she obtained the yearly resurrection, each spring, of her daugher (not a son in this instance), Persephone.

“Essentially it [the myth of Demeter and Persephone] was the same myth as that of Isis and Osiris, in Egypt; Tammuz and Ishtar, in Babylonia; Astarte and Adonis, in Syria; Cybele and Attis, in Phrygia. The cult of motherhood survived through classical times to take new life in the worship of Mary, the mother of God.”— Will Durant, History of Civilization, Vol. 2, 178.

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