Real Name: Demeter

Identity/Class: Olympian Goddess

Occupation: Goddess of the grain and harvest

Group Membership: The Gods of Olympus

Affiliations: Clea (possibly)

Enemies: Ascalaphus, Pluto, Typhon

Known Relatives: Cronus (father), Rhea (mother), Tethys, Themis, Phoebe, Mnemosyne, Dione (aunts), Oceanus, Japet, Hyperion, Coeus, Crius, Ophion (uncles), Zeus, Neptune, Pluto (brothers), Vesta, Hera (sisters), Chiron (half-brother), Plute (half-sister), Persephone, Despoena (daughters), Arion, Plutus, Philomelas (sons), Hercules, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus (nephews), Artemis, Athena, Venus, Eileithyia, Hebe, Helen, Discord (nieces), Helios, Eos, Selene, Leto, Asteria, Pallas, Perses, Astraeus, Metis, Calypso, Prometheus, Eprimetheus, Menoetius (cousins)

Aliases: Ceres (Roman Name), Meter, Doso (mortal incarnation)

Base of Operations: Olympus, also Mobile

First Appearance: (Unidentified) Avengers I#50 (March, 1968)
    (Invoked) Avengers West Coast#61 (August, 1990);
    (behind-the-scenes) Fantastic Four III#21 (September, 1999)

Powers/Abilities: Demeter possesses the conventional attributes of the Olympian gods including superhuman strength (Class 25), stamina and vitality. She also has various mystical power primarily to control the harvesting of plants especially, but not limited, to grain. It has been theorized that her emotions are in tune to the harvest and that they are bountiful when she is happy, and that drought occurs when she unhappy. She can also cross dimensional barriers between worlds and alter her form to appear as an elderly old woman. She can invoke curses as when she cursed King Erysichthon in ancient times with insatiable hunger and endow mystical ability in sorcerers and mystics that know how to call upon her such as Clea.

History: (Greek-Roman Myth) - Demeter is the daughter of Cronus, Ruler of the first generation of the Olympian Gods who were known as the Titans, and his wife, the Titaness Rhea. Fearing that he would be overthrown by one of his children, just as he himself had overthrown his father, Ouranus, Cronus imprisoned his own children in the deepest regions of Tartarus as soon as they were born. (Later legends claimed that he swallowed them and that they remained alive within him until freed by Zeus). Upset, Rhea concealed her last pregnancy and hid the birth of her last son Zeus upon Earth.

Zeus wound up growing among mortals and as an adult set out to conquer Olympus. He freed his siblings from Tartarus and ended up seducing many of the female gods of Olympus to make them allies in his cause, including Demeter who bore him a daughter, Persephone. Although she became one of his first wives, it was Hera who became Queen of The Gods. Zeus was successful in claiming Olympus as he and his brothers cast lots for the rest of creation. Zeus gained the heavens, Poseidon the seas and Hades (later known as Pluto) the underworld. Pluto, however, desired companionship in the Underworld and fell in love with Persephone. He bribed Zeus for the right to court her and actually followed through in abducting her from Earth.

Unwary of the truth, Demeter pined unaware of what had happened to her daughter or knowing where she was. She allowed herself to be seduced by Poseidon and gave birth to Arion the horse-god and Despoena, the fruit goddess who later became Pomona to the Romans. At the marriage of the Theban King Cadmus to Harmonia, the daughter of Aphrodite, she was seduced by the demi-god, Iasion, a son of Zeus. She gave birth to Plutus, who became Consus, the Roman god of wealth, and Philomelas, who became Vertumnus, the Roman god of farming. Iasion had his godhood stripped from him by Zeus for violating Demeter.

Demeter wandered the world under the name Doso looking for her daughter. She became friends of King Celeus of Eleusis and tried to make his son, Demophon, immortal in return for his kindness, but was frightened by a nurse before she could burn off the child's mortality. She revealed her true existence as Demeter to them as Celeus founded the Eleusian Mysteries to honor her ever after.

Demeter eventually cursed Ascalaphus, the son of the river-god, Acheron, for taunting her by exiling him to the Underworld. Demeter eventually learned from Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, and the sun god, Helios, that Pluto had abducted Persephone and that Zeus had given him permission to do so. She retreated into self-imposed exile into a cave on Mount Elaeus near Phigalia. Zeus sent Pan to locate her and then had the Fates try to talk her into accepting the marriage, but she refused. Meanwhile, drought and famine was occurring on Earth as a result of her emotions.

Zeus finally sent Hermes to retrieve Persephone from the Underworld, but in her own misery, Persephone had eaten three pomegranate seeds given to her by Ascalaphus as revenge on Demeter for being exiled to the underworld. Because Persephone had been treated kindly in the Underworld, she had to remain bound to her marriage and had to spend equal amounts of time in Hades and on Olympus with her mother. Demeter further punished Ascalaphus by transforming him into and owl.

Demeter particularly favored the Trojans during the Trojan War because they were descendants of Iasion's brother, Dardanus. Their descendants who founded Rome called her Ceres, but as Zeus allowed the worship of the Olympian Gods to die out, Demeter broke off many of her ties to mortals.

(Avengers I#50) - Demeter and other Olympians celebrated the defeat of Typhon at the Avengers' hands.

(Avengers West Coast#61 - BTS)- Demeter was invoked by the witch Agatha Harkness as part of a spell which she used to force Immortus to reveal to her his plan for the Scarlet Witch.

(Fantastic Four III#21 - BTS)- During one of her visits with Persephone on earth, the two of them adopted mortal clothing and went shopping, but their reunion was cut short when Hercules informed them that Pluto was holding friends of the Fantastic Four kidnapped in Hades. Persephone departed to confront Pluto.

(Order#4 - BTS) - Clea invoked the name of Apalla to drain power from the Silver Surfer to create a feminine counterpart to oppose him: Ardina.

"Umar and Hecate, Demeter, Jord, Blazing Apalla guide my reach forward...
on the edge of a knifeblade, at the crest of the storm...
by moontide and lifesblood...
come forth...and take form!

(Hercules III#4 - BTS) - Demeter was presumably present with the Olympian pantheon as they convened a board meeting on Earth at the Olympus Group, assuming the appearances of mortal businessmen in an attempt to maintain some connection with humanity. Zeus had gathered them to confront Hera for manipulating Hercules into appearing on a reality television show as part of an attempt to gain revenge upon him, but he wound up being jeered at by his own family for his many infidelities. They finally voted against interfering with Hercules' labors.

(Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1 - BTS) - Athena led the Olympus Group including Demeter to the funeral of Hercules.

(Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1) - Demeter was present when Athena laid claim to the throne of Olympus. She didn't oppose her decision despite being Zeus' sister because she never wanted to rule anyway.

Comments: Adapted by Roy Thomas & John Buscema.

Demeter has not been identified except by name in the Marvel Universe, but she has obviously been behind the scenes. In the Fantastic Four issue, Persephone implies that she and her mother have been shopping because a figure behind her in shadow is holding packages.

Like Demeter, the sun god Helios has not been seen in the Marvel Universe, but it is likely he does exist because of his important part in the stories of the other Olympian Gods. He is not to be confused with the Eternal Helios, the father of Sersi, who probably impersonated him in Ancient Greece.

Clea's spell also invokes Hecate, the Olympian Goddess of Witchcraft who was impersonated by the alleged Eternal Hecate and by the Deviant Erishkegal in ancient times. While it is logical for sorceresses to call upon the powers of gods and goddess, it is uncertain why Clea would call upon Apalla in the same spell unless that female entity has some connection to the Olympians (Apalla could be the female form of Apollo, a known Olympian God). It could be assumed that Clea was calling upon other inter-dimensional beings with those names, but there is no basis to that theory. -Actually, I'm rather certain Clea was invoking Apalla, the living embodiment of earth's sun from Dr. Strange II#22 --Prime Ed-ternal

by Will U

Demeter should not be confused with:

Avengers I#50, p19, pan3

Avengers I#50 (March, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Avengers West Coast#61 (August, 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Paul Ryan (pencils), Dan Bulanadi (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Fantastic Four III#21 (September, 1999) - Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Order#4 (July, 2002) - Jo Duffy, Kurt Busiek (writers), Dan Jurgens (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Hercules III#4 (September, 2005) - Frank Tieri (writer), Mark Texeira (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1-2 (May-June) - Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Ariel Olivetti (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)

Last updated: 08/23/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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