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Deo

Post  AgathonZante on Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:20 am

In Orpheus' hymn to Eleusinian Demeter, Deo is the first word that appears. What does that mean?
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Re: Deo

Post  Erodius on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:31 am

It is a very ancient name for Δημήτηρ/Ceres. At times it is spelled Δηω [Dēō] and other times Δηιω [Dēiō]. The meaning is not completely certain, however, it is most likely a derivation from the same root ῾Δη᾽ being an archaic Greek form of the word 'γη' ( 'the earth'), that begins the goddess' usual Greek name 'Δημήτηρ' – which is simply 'Δη' (earth) + 'μήτηρ' (mother) - that is, 'mother earth'. Thus, Δηω most likely means 'earth' in a poetic, nominal form. The omega added to the end is a suffix that appears in a handful of very old Greek feminine proper names, like Λήτω [Lḗtō], Σαπφώ [Sapphṓ] and Ἰνώ [Inṓ]. 

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Deo

Post  AgathonZante on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:41 pm

I'm asking because I've seen other cultures use it, such as "Deo Vindice," which to them means "God Will Prevail." And I wanted to know if they are unknowingly using an evocation to old Gods such as Demeter.
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Re: Deo

Post  Erodius on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:24 pm

No, actually – the two are unrelated. There are, nevertheless, a scattering of terms, names (and even some practices) that are still used in the Catholic and, especially, Eastern Orthodox churches that are holdovers from Classical religion. The Greek hymn Ἁγνὴ Παρθένε 'O Holy Virgin', for instance, sings praises of the Virgin Mary under a variety of names and titles of Δημήτηρ  Wink  . It is also an absolutely beautiful hymn.



Deo vindice, the motto of the Confederate States of America, if you weren't specifically aware, means 'with God as avenger'. It's Latin, not Greek, and is in a particular grammatical construction called an ablative absolute; 'deo' is the ablative form of 'deus' ("god") and 'vindice' is the ablative of 'vindex' ("avenger"). It really does not mean 'God will prevail', that would be 'Deus vincet' or 'Deus superabit'. 

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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