Virtual Tour


The word "cereal" comes from the name for an ancient Roman goddess, Ceres (seer-ease), who was the goddess of agriculture. The ancient Greeks believed in her, too, but they called her Demeter (duh-me-tur). This is a statue of the goddess Demeter, or Ceres. It was given to the Arboretum in memory of a special volunteer. Since the Arboretum is part of the Department of Agriculture, don't you think a statue of this goddess was a good choice?

Bonus fact:
There are many stories connected with the ancient goddess Demeter (or Ceres). One of them helps explain why she was the goddess of agriculture. The story is about Demeter's daughter, Persephone (per-sef-o-knee). Demeter loved her daughter very much. One day, the mean god of the underworld, Hades, stole Persephone and forced her to live in the underworld with him. Demeter was grief stricken. She wandered the earth disguised as an old lady, not eating or drinking anything. Finally, Zeus, the king of all the gods and goddesses, intervened and forced Hades to give Persephone back. But Persephone had to return to Hades for 3 months every year. The Greeks and Romans believed that when Persephone returns to Hades, the earth experiences winter. When she returns to her mother, spring comes. This is why Demeter is associated with the seasons and with growing things.

Where to find the statue of Demeter at the Arboretum:
Find her in the Friendship Garden, which surrounds Arbor House, a small grayish building located to the south of the R Street Gate.

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Last Updated   July 10, 2009 9:44 AM