Persephone in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（Περσεφόνη), in Latin Proserpina, the daughter of Zeus and
Demeter. (Hom. Il. 14.326, Od. 11.216; Hes. Theog. 912, &c.
; Apollod. 1.5.1.) Her name is commonly derived from φερειν
φόνον, "to bring" or "cause death," and the form Persephone
occurs first in Hesiod (Hes. Th. 913; comp. Horn. Hymm. in
Cer. 56), the Homeric form being Persephoneia. But besides
these forms of the name, we also find Persephassa,
Phersephassa, Persephatta, Phersephatta. Pherrephassa,
Pherephatta, and Phersephoneia, for which various
etymologies have been proposed. The Latin Proserpina, which
is probably only a corruption of the Greek, was erroneously
derived by the Romans from proscrpere,"to shoot forth."
(Cic. de Nat. Deor. 2.26.) Beingthe infernal goddess of
death, she is also called a daughter of Zeus and Styx
(Apollod. 1.3.1 ); in Arcadia she was worshipped under the
name of Despoena, and was called a daughter of Poseidon,
Hippius, and Demeter, and said to have been brought up by
the Titan Anytus. (Paus. 8.37.3, 6, 25.5.) Homer describes
her as the wife of llades, and the formidable, venerable,
and majestic queen of the Shades, who exercises her power,
and carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of
the dead, along with her husband. (Hom. Od. 10.494, 11.226,
385, (134, Il. 9.457, 569; comp. Apollod. 1.9.15.) Hence she
is called by later writers Juno Inferna, Auerna, and Stygia
(Verg. A. 6.138; Ov. Met. 14.114), and the Erinnyes are said
to have been daughters of her by Pluto. (Orph. Hymn. 29. 6,
6, 70. 3.) Groves sacred to her are said by Homer to be in
the western extremity of the earth, on the frontiers of the
lower world, which is itself called the house of Persephone.
(Od. 10.491, 509.)
The story of her being carried off by Pluto, against her
will, is not mentioned by Homer, who simply describes her as
his wife and queen; and her abduction is first mentioned by
Hesiod (Hes. Th. 914). Zeus, it is said, advised Pluto, who
was in love with the beautiful Persephone, to carry her off,
as her mother, Demeter, was not likely to allow her daughter
to go down to Hades. (Comp. Hyg. Fab. 146.) Pluto
accordingly carried her off while she was gathering flowers
with Artemis and Athena. (Comp. Diod. 5.3.) Demeter, when
she found her daughter had disappeared, searched for her all
over the earth with torches, until at length she discovered
the place of her abode. Her anger at the abduction obliged
Zeus to request Pluto to send Persephone (or Cora, i. e. the
maiden or daughter) back. Pluto indeed complied with the
request. but first gave her a kernel of a pomegranate to
eat, whereby she became doomed to the lower world, and an
agreement was made that Persephone should spend one third
(later writers say one half) of every year in Hades with
Pluto, and the remaining two thirds with the gods above.
(Apollod. 1.5. 1, &c,; Or. Met. 5.565; comp. DEMETER.) The
place where Persephone was said to have been carried off, is
different in the various local traditions. The Sicilians,
among whom her worship was probably introduced by the
Corinthian and Megarian colonists, believed that Pluto found
her in the meadows near Enna, and that the well Cyane arose
on the spot where he descended with her into the lower
world. (Diod. 5.3, &c.; comp. Lydus, De Mens. p. 286; Ov.
Fast. 4.422.) The Cretans thought that their own island had
been the scene of the rape (Schol. ad Hes. Theog. 913), and
the Eleusinians mentioned the Nysaean plain in Boeotia, and
said that Persephone had descended with Pluto into the lower
world at the entrance of the western Oceanus. Later accounts
place the rape in Attica, near Athens (Schol. ad Soph. Oed.
Col. 1590) or at Erineos near Eleusis (Paus. 1.38.5), or in
the neighbourhood of Lerna (2.36.7 ; respecting other
localities see Conon, Narr. 15 ; Orph. Argon. 1192;
Spanheim, ad Callim. Hymn. in Cer. 9).
The story according to which Persephone spent one part of
the year in the lower world, and another with the gods
above, made her, even with the ancients, the symbol of
vegetation which shoots forth in spring, and the power of
which withdraws into the earth at other seasons of the year.
(Schol. ad Theocrit. 3.48.) Hence Plutarch identifies her
with spring, and Cicero De Nat. Deor. 2.26) calls her the
seed of the fruits of the field. (Comp. Lydus, De Mes. pp.
90, 284; Porphyr. De Ant. Nymph. p. 118. ed. Barnes.) In the
mysteries of Eleusis, the return of Cora from the lower
world was regarded as the symbol of immortality, and hence
she was frequently represented on sarcophagi. In the
mystical theories of the Orphics, and what are called the
Platonists, Cora is described as the all-pervading goddess
of nature, who both produces and destroys every thing (Orph.
Hymn. 29. 16), and she is therefore mentioned along, or
identified with, other mystic divinities, such as Isis,
Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, Hecate. (Tzetz. ad Lyc.
708, 1176; Schol. ad Apollon. Rlod. 3.467; Schol. ad
Theocrit. 2.12 ; Serv. ad Aen. 4.609.) This mystic
Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the
another of Dionysus, Iacchus, Zagreus or Sabazius. (Hesych.
sub voce Ζαγρεύς; Schol. ad Eurip. Or. 952 ; Aristopll. Ran.
326; Diod. 4.4; Arrian. Exped. Al. 2.16; Lydus De Mens. p.
198; Cic. de Nat. Deor. 3.23.) The surnames which are given
to her by the poets, refer to her character as queen of the
lower world and of the dead, or to her symbolic meaning
which we have pointed out above. She was commonly worshipped
along with Demeter, and with the same mysteries, as for
example, with Demeter Cabeiria in Boeotia. (Paus. 9.25.5.)
Her worship further is mentioned at Thebes, which Zeus is
said to have given to her as an acknowledgment for a favour
she had bestowed on him (Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 687): in
like manner Sicily was said to have been given to her at her
wedding (Pind. N. 1.17; Diod. 5.2; Schol. ad Theocrit.
15.14), and two festivals were celebrated in her honour in
the island, the one at the time of sowing, and the other at
the time of harvest. (Diod. 5.4; Athen. 14.647.) The
Eleusinian mysteries belonged to Demeter and Cora in common,
and to her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at
Athens in the month of Anthesterion. (Comp. Paus. 1.31.1,
&c.) Temples of Persephone are mentioned at Corinth, Megara,
Sparta, and at Locri in the south of Italy. (Paus. 3.13.2;
Liv. 29.8, 18; Appian, 3.12.) In works of art Persephone is
seen very frequently: she bears the grave and severe
character of an infernal Juno, or she appears as a mystical
divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly
represented in the act of being carried off by Pluto. (Paus.
8.37.2; corn p. Hirt. Mythol. Bilderb. i. p. 72, &c.;
Welcker, Zeitschrift fur die alte Kunst, p. 20, &c.)
Another mythical personage of the name of Persephione, is
called a daughter of Minyas, and the mother of Chloris by
Aniphion. (Schol. ad Hom. Od. 11.281.) - A Dictionary of
Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.
Persephone in Wikipedia
In Greek mythology, Persephone (usually pronounced /pər
ˈsɛfəniː/ in modern English; also called Kore) was the
Queen of the Underworld, the korē (or young maiden), and a
daughter of Demeter and Zeus. In the Olympian version, she
also becomes the consort of Hades when he becomes the deity
that governs the underworld.
The figure of Persephone is well-known today. Her story has
great emotional power: an innocent maiden, a mother's grief
over her abduction, and great joy after her daughter is
returned. It is also cited frequently as a paradigm of myths
that explain natural processes, with the descent and return of
the goddess bringing about the change of seasons...