Interesting fact: many of the cities of Magna Graecia had a double foundation. First by a god or hero and later by a mortal, who was like their living shadow. As an example, Tarentum was originally settled by Taras, the son of Poseidon and Satyra the swamp-nymph and then later, after the Messenian war Phalanthos led the Spartan Virgins’ sons there. Phalanthos was eighth in descent from Herakles, which I found significant since eight is a number with obvious arachnid associations. Speaking of which, did you know that Tarentum was famed for it’s wool and murex in antiquity?
The most esteemed wool of all is that of Apulia, and that which in Italy is called Grecian wool, in other countries Italian. The fleeces of Miletus hold the third rank. The Apulian wool is shorter in the hair, and only owes its high character to the cloaks that are made of it. That which comes from the vicinity of Tarentum and Canusium is the most celebrated. (Pliny, Natural History 8.73)
I find it interesting that Tarentum was colonized by the Partheniae since the constellation Virgo is the asterized Erigone. Though that story is set in Athens, the Spartans had their version of it too:
Opposite is what is called the Knoll, with a temple of Dionysos of the Knoll, by which is a precinct of the hero who they say guided Dionysos on the way to Sparta. To this hero sacrifices are offered before they are offered to the god by the daughters of Dionysos and the daughters of Leucippus. For the other eleven ladies who are named daughters of Dionysos there is held a footrace; this custom came to Sparta from Delphi. (Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.13.7)
But in this version Ikarios is a king:
The image of Modesty, some thirty stades distant from the city, they say was dedicated by Ikarios, the following being the reason for making it. When Ikarios gave Penelope in marriage to Odysseus, he tried to make Odysseus himself settle in Lacedaemon, but failing in the attempt, he next besought his daughter to remain behind, and when she was setting forth to Ithaca he followed the chariot, begging her to stay. Odysseus endured it for a time, but at last he bade Penelope either to accompany him willingly, or else, if she preferred her father, to go back to Lacedaemon. They say that she made no reply, but covered her face with a veil in reply to the question, so that Ikarios, realizing that she wished to depart with Odysseus, let her go, and dedicated an image of Modesty; for Penelope, they say, had reached this point of the road when she veiled herself. (ibid 3.20.10-11)
Gee, what was it Penelope was famed for again?
This was her latest masterpiece of guile: she set up a great loom in the royal halls and she began to weave, and the weaving finespun, the yarns endless … So by day she’d weave at her great and growing web –. by night, by the light of torches set beside her, she would unravel all she’d done. (Homer, Odyssey 2.93-95)
Nearby the spot where Ikarios’ maiden daughter was abducted rites of Kore were celebrated:
The sanctuary of Demeter surnamed Eleusinian is where, according to the Lacedaemonian story, Herakles was hidden by Asklepios while he was being healed of a wound. In the sanctuary is a wooden image of Orpheus, a work, they say, of Pelasgians. From Helos they bring up to the sanctuary of the Eleusinian a wooden image of the Maid, daughter of Demeter. (Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.5-7)
This is not the only time we find an overlap of Erigone and Persephone. As you know, Erigone was honored during the Aiora on the 12th or 13th of Anthesterion. During that same month the Lesser Mysteries of Eleusis were carried out:
Great and Lesser Mysteries used to be celebrated at Eleusis in Attica. Previously the Lesser did not exist, but when Herakles came and wanted to be initiated. It was not lawful for the Athenians to initiate any foreigner, but as they respected his outstanding qualities and because he was a friend of the city and a son of Zeus, they created the Lesser Mysteries into which they initiated him. The Great Mysteries belong to Demeter, the Lesser to Persephone her daughter. (Scholiast on Aristophanes, Ploutos 845)
The inventor of these mysteries was Mousaios, according to Diodoros Sikeliotes:
Herakles, having completed the tenth Labour, received an order from Eurystheus to bring Cerberus from Hades up to the light. For this Labour, supposing this would benefit him, he went along to Athens and took part in the Mysteries at Eleusis. Mousaios, son of Orpheus, was at that stage in charge of the rite. (4.25.1)
Mysteries which had a Dionysiac tenor:
Agra and Agrai: place, singular and plural, in Attica in front of the city; there the Lesser Mysteries are celebrated, which are an imitation of matters concerning Dionysos. (Stephanos of Byzantium, Lexikon s.v. Agrai)
You find this same constellation during the Haloa:
Haloa is a festival at Athens including secret rites of Demeter and Kore and Dionysos, celebrated by the Athenians at the pruning of the vine and the tasting of the stored-up wine. In these rites images of male organs are displayed, concerning which they say that they are performed as a symbol of the procreation of men, since Dionysos, who gave the wine, made it a potion which stimulates one to intercourse. He gave it to Ikarios, whom the shepherds killed, in ignorance that drinking wine had such consequence. Then they were driven mad, because of their outrageous actions against Dionysos, and they had remained in the state of shame. The oracle, to stop their madness, ordered them to make and dedicate clay sexual organs. When the evil had passed, they established this festival as a memorial of the incident. In this festival, an initiation is given in Eleusis by women, and many games and jokes are told. Since only women are present, they have freedom to say what they want. And they say the most shameful things to each other then; the priestesses stealthily draw near to the women and discuss illicit love, whispering, as it is something unspeakable. All the women shout shameful and irreverent things to each other, holding up indecent representations of male and female organs. Here much wine is set out, and tables full of all the foods of earth and sea, except the things forbidden in the mystery, namely: pomegranates, apples, domestic fowl, eggs, seal-mullet, erythinos, black-fish, crayfish, dogfish. The archons furnish the tables, and leaving the inside to the women they go outside and remain there, expounding to all the inhabitants that cultivated foods were discovered among them and made common to all men by them. Sexual organs of both sexes, made from pastry, are set out on the tables. The Haloa are named on account of the fruit of Dionysos. The aloai are the vineyards. (Scholia to Lucian 279)
A maiden is abducted by death; the land is cursed with madness so that the girls swing from trees and the boys rage with lust. Deliverance comes through dance, music and feasting at the marriage of the bull-leading hero and the divine daughter. This is the stuff of mysteries.
Oh, and incidentally – Satyra the swamp-nymph? She wasn’t always a nymph.
Originally Satyra was the sister of the hero Iapyx, famed for his healing powers and knowledge of drugs, after whom the Iapygians were named, a population that had settled in Italy at an early period and were displaced by the Spartan colonists who arrived with Phalanthos. But here’s where things get really interesting. The Iapygians were Cretans who had either arrived in Italy when Theseus was blown ashore there on his return voyage to Athens or else they came with Minos in pursuit of Daidalos, who had taken up residence with the Sicilian king Kokalos. Iapyx and Satyra were children of Minos. Which, of course, makes Taras the nephew of Ariadne.