), may mean the subterraucous, or the goddess of the earth, that is, the protectress of the fields, whence it is used as a surname of infernal divinities, such as Hecate (Apollon. 4.148
; Orph. Hymn.
35. 9), Nyx (Orph. Hymn.
2. 8), and Melinoe (Orph. Hymn.
70. 1), but especially of Demeter. (herod. 2.123; Orph. Hymn.
39. 12; Artemid. 2.35; Apollon. 4.987
.) Although the name, in the case of Demeter, scarcely requires explanation, yet mythology relates two stories to account for it.
According to one of them, Clymenus and Chthonia, the children of Phoroneus, founded at Hermione a sanctuary of Demeter, and called her Chthonia from the name of one of the founders. (Paus. 18.104.22.168
According to an Argive legend, Demeter on her wanderings came to Argolis, where she was ill-received by Colontas. Chthonia, his daughter, was dissatisfied with her father's conduct, and, when Colontas and his house were burnt by the goddess, Chthonia was carried off by her to Hermione, where she built a sanctuary to Demeter Chthonia, and instituted the festival of the Chthonia in her honour. (Paus. 2.35.3
; Dict. of Ant. s. v. Χθόνια
A third mythical personage of this name occurs in Apollodorus (3.15.1