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Iambe Goddess Myths


Greek Goddess of Humor and Poetry

Homer called her Iambe, but she is best known as Baubo, the elderly servant of the King of Eleusis, whose bawdy jests roused the grieving Demeter from her profound depression during her search for her daughter, Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades*.

Other than her appearance as Baubo in the myths of Demeter and the abduction of  Persephone, little is known of the goddess Iambe.

Basthet, Egyptian goddess

Iambe was the daughter of the union of Pan and Echo, it is said. Some scholars, however, believe that she was actually a regional goddess from much earlier, pre-agricultural times.

Her identity was shared with those of earlier goddesses, such mother/vegetation goddesses as Atargatis, a goddess originating in northern Syria, and Kybele (Cybele), a goddess from Asia Minor.

Iambe :: Baubo 
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     Indeed Iambe's name has survived even though her legends have not fared so well.

We recognize her name, for it is 'She of Iambic Pentameter Fame', the da Dum, da Dum,da Dum rhythm that we hear in some of the world's most popular poetry and song, not to mention the works of William Shakespeare.

"To be, or not to be" is a good example.

Iambe was married to a swineherder. Perhaps that doesn't sound very fancy today, but it may have been quite a lucrative occupation when acorns were in abundance as a free source of feed for the livestock of the region!

Her sons all rose to prominence. One was a famous warrior and another the high priest of the religion of the followers of Demeter.

Iambe's Greek Goddess Festivals

Iambe was worshipped in many of her guises, long before the goddess Demeter taught humans how to grow grain, a time when the magnificent goddesses of vegetation fed their subjects with the berries, acorns and fish, not the fruits of the harvest.

*Learn more about this amusing episode in the story of Demeter and Baubo.

References/sources can be found at Baubo :: Iambe Sources.

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Read about the Goddess Baubo.

Read the other goddesses' myths.

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