Who is Persephone?
- She is well known as the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, although there is an account telling us that her mother is Styx (Apollodorus 1.13)
- Also known as the Spring goddess, her presence staying with us brought forth the warmth Spring, her disappearance brought forth the cold winter and fall.
- She is abducted by Hades, the god of the dead, but not Death himself. In his realm the dead found their place, only the dead could enter, and at the entrance the three-headed dog Cerberus guarded it, allowing those to enter, but harsh to those who wanted to go outside.
- It all started when Persephone is picking flowers with a band of lovely nymphs to accompany her. It so happens that a lovely flower blooms, it’s so beautiful Persephone can’t take her eyes off it, so she decided to go ahead and pick it. Upon doing so, the earth trembles and opens, and there goes Hades in his chariot, abducted Persephone and hurried back to his realm. Her companions are too shocked they didn’t able to help the poor lady.
- Prior to her abduction, Hades asked Zeus if he could marry Persephone. Zeus agreed and gave his approval, although he knew that Demeter won’t agree. A certain account I’ve known tells that it was Zeus responsible for Persephone’s attraction to the flower. It says that Zeus asked the help of Gaea, who in turn make the flower bloom.
- Persephone screamed so hard, begging Hades to let her go, and at the same time, calling her mother for help. But Hades paid no attention, he wanted her.
- When Demeter returned, she looked for her daughter but didn’t found her. Being a mother, she sought everywhere to find her beloved daughter. With a torch in hand, she sought the earth calling her daughter’s name, she was so occupied she forgot her duties as an earth goddess.
- Alas, Hecate (goddess of the crossroads) and Helios (a Sun-god) helped her. Demeter knows nothing, who her daughter’s abductor is, where they gone. Helios told the grieving goddess what happened. Furious, Demeter asked Zeus’ help to bring back her daughter. Without her daughter, she won’t allow any crop to grow, surely would bring famine to the mortals.
- Zeus tried to talk with Demeter but it won’t help. In some versions, he had Rhea, their mother, comforted Demeter. While Hermes went down to Hades to fetch Persephone.
- Hades, knew that it will happen, persuades the lonely and shocked Persephone to eat the pomegranate seeds.
- Hermes succeeds in bringing Persephone to her mother, as mother and daughter embraced each other, Demeter learned that her daughter had eaten seeds of Pomegranate; which means that she couldn’t spend the whole year with her beloved daughter.
- It is stated that Persephone would spend 1/3 of the year in Hades and the remaining 2/3 with the gods above. (There are some variations, though, some say it’s 1/2 of the year with Hades, and the remaining with the gods)
- Persephone’s disappearance and stay at the Underworld marked the winter and autumn, cold and with no crops at all. Her return marked the beginning of Spring.
So, there she is. If you happen to know other facts about Persephone, feel free to share. 🙂