Image by Tamal Mukhopadhyay

Persephone

Welcome to your crash course of Greek Mythology! If you've ever been fascinated about the ancients and wanted to know more but didn't have the time, never fear! Mythology Made has made the myths super simple so you can read on the go and learn something new.

Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld

Persephone, the young maiden is the child of the Olympian Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest) and Zeus (king of the Gods). Persephone's story is not a happy one, and there have been many interpretations of it.

Origin Story

 

Demeter was very protective of her daughter. Hades however, had other ideas. ​Some believed that Hades went to Zeus to grant permission for himself to marry Persephone. The more popular (and most widely believed) version was that Persephone was in fact kidnapped.

 

It is believed that Persephone was playing in a field one day when she caught the eye of Hades. Besotted by her beauty, he opened the grown suddenly swallowing her with it. There, Persephone found herself in the land of the dead, with Hades instructing her that she would be his bride. 

One of the most famous artworks of this story is the baroque statue by famous italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Winter is coming

Demeter frantically searched the earth for her daughter but no one had seen anything. The Goddess was overcome with grief. However, there happened to be a shepherd boy who was in the field the same day the Goddess was taken. He informed Demeter that he hadn't really seen anything but heard the cries of a young maiden before the ground began to shake. Demeter instantly knew what had happened and marched straight to Zeus. She declared that the world would not bear fruit or grain and that she would starve the planet until her daughter was returned to her. It became cold, nothing grew and humanity began to despair.

The Pomegranate

Hades had been told that he must deliver Persephone back to the land of the living. Hades then informed the Olympians that it simply wasn't possible. In her absentmindedness, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds, the food of the dead. Anyone who consumed the food of dead was forced to remain in the underworld.

With the real threat of another extinction of mankind, the Olympians settled on a compromise. Persephone would remain in the underworld one month, for every seed she had eaten.

The Seasons

If you haven't yet guessed, this is how we get our seasons. When Demeter is separated from her daughter, the earth is cold and barren. Nothing will grow and man is forced to prepare for the seasons without sun. This would be winter. But as soon as Demeter can her the footsteps of her daughter returning to the land of the living, the earth once again comes into bloom.

Literature

In recent years, there has been an increase of mythological retellings. Some of them you can find on your Books page!