Iambe (Greek: Ἰάμβη) in Greek mythology was a Thracian woman, daughter of Pan and Echo, granddaughter of Hermes, and a servant of Metaneira, the wife of Hippothoon. Others call her a slave of Celeus, king of Eleusis. The extravagant hilarity displayed at the festivals of Demeter in Attica was traced to her, for it is said that when Demeter, in her wanderings in search of her daughter, arrived in Attica, Iambe cheered the mournful goddess with her jokes (Horn. Hymn, in Cer. 202; Apollod. i. 5. § 1; Diod. v. 4; Phot. BibL Cod. 239. p. 319, ed. Bekker; Schol. ad Nicand. Aleodph, 134.) She was believed to have given the name to iambic poetry, for some said that she hanged herself in consequence of the cutting speeches in which she had indulged, and others that she had cheered Demeter by a dance in the Iambic metre. (Eustath. ad Horn. p. 1684.) [L. S.]
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). . Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.