Persephone, in Greek mythology, daughter of Zeus, father of the gods, and of Demeter, goddess of the earth and of agriculture. Hades, god of the underworld, was lonely and Aphrodite didnít like people who resort to loneliness and ordered his son Cupid to arrange Hades to fall in love with Persephone and in turn, made him wish to marry her. Although Zeus gave his consent, Demeter was unwilling. Hades, therefore, seized the maiden as she was gathering flowers and carried her off to his realm. As Demeter wandered in search of her lost daughter, the earth grew desolate. All vegetation died, and famine devastated the land. Finally Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of the gods, to bring Persephone back to her mother.

Meanwhile, Persephone was sad at her abduction and thus Hades was frustrated to see his queen become very lonely, no amount of wealth or entertainment the underworld was capable of, Persephone wouldnít budge. Hermes arrived and gave them the message and Persephone was overjoyed but before Hades would let her go, he asked her to eat a pomegranate seed, the food of the dead. She was thus compelled to return to the underworld for one-third of the year. This marked the winter and autumn seasons of the year since it is said all of the life of the earth mourn for the departure of his mistress. As both the goddess of the dead and the goddess of the fertility of the earth, Persephone was a personification of the revival of nature in spring. The Eleusinian Mysteries were held in honor of her and her mother. Proserpine was the Latin counterpart of Persephone.

Posted 2011-01-24 and updated on Jan 24, 2011 8:01am by crisd

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