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Relief from Eleusis of Demeter, Triptolemos and Persephone

Eleusis is a short distance west of Athens and was the home of the sanctuary and cult of Demeter and her daughter Persephone known as the Eleusinian Mysteries.

To the left Demeter, goddess of the earth and fertility, is shown giving corn to the young Triptolemos, who will pass on the knowledge of agriculture to humankind. On the right stands Persephone with her torch, who having returned from the underworld symbolises the turning of the seasons that enables agriculture to flourish.

Details such as the ears of corn and the crown that Persephone is placing on the head of Triptolemos are not shown in the shallow carving as they would have been painted in

Pentelic marble
Location of Original: 

Athens, National Museum 126

2.20 x 1.52m

Given by Mr Oscar Browning in October 1876 to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Transferred to the Museum in 1884. Originally from Martinelli of Athens


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 160 (n.4), pl. 58.3
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 169, fig.481
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 54, no.246
Lawrence: Classical Sculpture (1928), 182
Richter: Three Critical Periods in Greek Sculpture, 42, fig.76; fig.75 for copy in New York
Papspiridi: Guide du Musée Nationale d’Athènes (1927), 45, pl. 1
Harrison: Hesperia Vol.69 No.3 (2000), 267

c.440 BCE

Found at Eleusis in 1859

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