In Greek mythology, Daeira (Ancient Greek: Δάειρα or Δαείρας) or Daira (Δαῖρα) was a divinity connected with the Eleusinian mysteries. Her name means the "knowing one" from daô knowing which links well to the inside knowledge of the initiate.[1]


Daeira was a daughter of the Titan Oceanus[2] possibly by his sister-wife Tethys, thus one of the 3,000 Oceanids.[3] Others called her simply as the sister of Styx[4] (also an Oceanid).

By Hermes, Daira became the mother of Eleusis,[2] eponym of the town of Eleusis. Otherwise, their son was called the child of Ogygus, the primeval king of Attica. In some myths, she borne Immarados to Eumolpos.[5] Aristophanes said that Daeira was the mother of Semele.[6]


According to Aischylos, Daeira was the same as Persephone.[7][8][9] Others said she was Persephone's nurse; Persephone's gaoler; identical with Aphrodite; identical with Demeter;[10] identical with Hera;[11] identical with Hekate;[12] an enemy of Demeter, so that the latter's priestess avoided her rites.[13][14]

The Eleusinian link is clearly fundamental, and confirmed by offerings to Daeira in an Eleusinian context in two if not three fifth- and fourth-century sacrificial calendars.[15] The chaos in the myths even in the fifth century must be due in part to the secrecy of the Mysteries, but perhaps also to the unimportance of this particular kind of accuracy in ritual matters.[16] An Attic religious official δαειρίης (Δαειρίης?) is attested by Pollux[17] of whose ritual activity Daeira may have been a projection.[18]


  1. ^ Or people may have heard 'torch', cf. Homeric Hymn to Demeter 48 with Richardson; or 'sister-in-law' (Phot. 5), Pausanias the Atticist and Ailios Dionysios 1 Erbse ap. Eustathius loc. cit. = FGrHist 369 F 1 (cf. Phot. 25) referred to ύγρά ούοία, which they say was called δαίρα in the mysteries.
  2. ^ a b Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.38.7
  3. ^ Bane, Theresa (2013). Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 9780786471119.
  4. ^ Pherecydes, fr. 45 = Fowler, p. 16
  5. ^ Clement of Alexandria, Exhortations 45.1
  6. ^ Pherecydes, fr. 804
  7. ^ Pherecydes, fr. 277
  8. ^ Lycophron, Alexandra 710 with scholia
  9. ^ Etymologicum Magnum 244.34
  10. ^ Phanodemos FGrHi5t 325 F is, also for Aphrodite
  11. ^ Photius, 5
  12. ^ Scholia on Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 3.847
  13. ^ Eustathius on Homer's Iliad 648.37
  14. ^ Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 4.58
  15. ^ IG P 250 A 16 (Paiania); SEG 50.168; possibly also NGSL i.5 (Thorikos), as supplemented by N. Robertson, GRBS 37 (1996) 349; IG II 1496 = SIG 1029 where see Hiller von Gaertringen (his n. 19).
  16. ^ Fowler, 1.7.7
  17. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.35
  18. ^ For discussion of Daeira see R. Parker, Polytheism and Society 340; Clinton, Sacred Officials 98. Pamias on fr. 45 wonders whether when Pausanias refers to οί παλαιοί he was thinking rather of Pherekydes of Syros; cf. app. crit. to fr. 177


  • Lycophron, The Alexandra translated by Alexander William Mair. Loeb Classical Library Volume 129. London: William Heinemann, 1921. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • Lycophron, Alexandra translated by A.W. Mair. London: William Heinemann; New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1921. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. ISBN 0-674-99328-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
  • Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio. 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Maurus Servius Honoratus, In Vergilii carmina comentarii. Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii; recensuerunt Georgius Thilo et Hermannus Hagen. Georgius Thilo. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1881. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Titus Flavius Clemens, Exhortation against the Pagans translated by Butterworth, G W. Loeb Classical Library Volume 92. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. 1919. Online version at theio.com