According to Maass, he was a chthonian deity, the counterpart of Dionysus, with whom he is closely connected; J.
Various interpretations have been given of the horse-headed form of the Black Demeter: (I) that the horse was one of the forms of the corn-spirit in ancient Greece; (2) that it was an animal " devoted " to the chthonian goddess; (3) that it is totemistic; (4) that the form was adopted from Poseidon Hippios, who is frequently associated with the earth-goddess and is said to have received the name Hippios first at Thelpusa, in order that Demeter might figure as the mother of Areion (for a discussion of the whole subject see Farnell, Cults, iii.
As a chthonian divinity she is accompanied by a snake; the myrtle, asphodel and narcissus (which Persephone was gathering when carried off by Hades) also are sacred to her.
The cult of the heroes exhibits points of resemblance with that of the chthonian divinities and of the dead, but differs from that of the ordinary gods, a further indication that they were not " depotentiated " gods.
The chthonian aspect of the hero is further shown by his attribute the snake, and in many cases he appears under that form himself.