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
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,
Her identity was shared with those of earlier
mother/vegetation goddesses as Atargatis, a goddess originating
in northern Syria, and Kybele (Cybele), a goddess from Asia
Iambe :: Baubo
Iambe's name has survived even though her legends have
not fared so well.
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.
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
Her sons all rose to prominence.
One was a famous warrior and another
the high priest of the religion of the followers of
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
*Learn more about this amusing episode
in the story of
Demeter and Baubo.
References/sources can be found at
Baubo :: Iambe Sources.