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“…guarding our city’s coif of towers by their wisdom and true judgments: there is wise Triptolemus and Dioclus and Polyxeinus and blameless Eumolpus and Dolichus and our own brave father.” – Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Who is Triptolemus?

According to Greek mythology, Triptolemus (or Triptolemos)  was either a mortal prince, the eldest son of King Celeus of Eleusis or, according to Pseudo-Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca (I.V.2), a god, the son of Gaia and Oceanus. He is connected to the Eleusinian mysteries and he presided over the sowing of grain-seed and the milling of wheat.

In art Triptolemus is usually depicted seated on his winged chariot in the company of the goddesses Demeter, Persephone and Hekate.

The myth of Prometheus and Pandora

The myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades

The myth of Pentheus and Dionysus

The myth of Aphrodite and Anchises

The myth of Demeter and Triptolemus

The myth of Demeter and Triptolemus

Demeter was searching all over Greece for her Pershephone (who was abducted by Hades) when she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus who didn’t know who she was as she had taken form of an old woman called Doso. Celeus then asked as a favour from Demeter to nurse his sons Demophon and Triptolemus. Demeter noticed that Triptolemus was sick and fed him her breast milk. Triptolemus not only recover his strength but he instantly became an adult.

Demeter also taught Triptolemus the art of agriculture. Triptolemos then flew across Greece on a winged chariot to complete his mission of educating the whole of Greece, and the whole world, on the art of agriculture.

In the later myths, Triptolemus became  the judge in the underworld, after his death. According to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (7th century BC), Triptolemus was one of the men who had great power and honor in Eleusis and was one of the chiefs among the people, protecting the city by their wisdom and true judgments. The Hymn also tells us that Triptolemus together with Diocles, Eumolpos, Keleus, and Polyxeinus learned the mysteries and rites of the goddess Demeter.

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