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[2] But for Triptolemus, the elder of Metanira's children, she made a chariot of winged dragons, and gave him wheat, with which, wafted through the sky, he sowed the whole inhabited earth.1 But Panyasis affirms that Triptolemus was a son of Eleusis, for he says that Demeter came to him. Pherecydes, however, says that he was a son of Ocean and Earth.2


1 Compare Cornutus, Theologiae Graecae Compendium 28, pp. 53ff. ed. C. Lang; Ovid, Fasti iv.559ff.; Ovid, Tristia iii.8. (9) 1ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 147; Hyginus, Ast. ii.14; Serv. Verg. G. 1.19, 163; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. ii.382; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 3, 107 (First Vatican Mythographer 8; Second Vatican Mythographer 97). The dragon-car of Triptolemus was mentioned by Sophocles in his lost tragedy Triptolemus. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), p. 262, frag. 539; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, ii.243, frag. 596. In Greek vase-paintings Triptolemus is often represented in his dragon-car. As to the representations of the car in ancient art, see Stephani, in Compte Rendu (St. Petersburg) for 1859, pp. 82ff.; Frazer, note on Paus. vii.18.3 (vol. iv. pp. 142ff.); and especially A. B. Cook, Zeus, i. (Cambridge, 1914), pp. 211ff., who shows that on the earlier monuments Triptolemus is represented sitting on a simple wheel, which probably represents the sun. Apparently he was a mythical embodiment of the first sower. See Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, i.72ff.

2 The accounts given of the parentage of Triptolemus were very various (Paus. 1.14.2ff.), which we need not wonder at when we remember that he was probably a purely mythical personage. As to Eleusis, the equally mythical hero who is said to have given his name to Eleusis, see Paus. 8.38.7. He is called Eleusinus by Hyginus, Fab. 147 and Serv. Verg. G. 1.19.

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