Persephone at a Glance
name | Persephone (Persefonh
role | goddess of the Underworld; wife of Hades
symbols | pomegranate (in later art)
Persephone in Greek Mythology
Sources for Greek mythology usually claim that Persephone was the daughter of two Olympian gods, Zeus
. This is an interesting ancestry for a goddess who was destined to be the Queen of the Underworld, but in ancient myth, almost anything is possible. And although her parents were powerful and well known deities, Persephone remains somewhat elusive and shadowy, like the realm over which she co-rules. This may be due to the fact that she is overshadowed by her mother. In the Hymn to Demeter
, we find the most important myth about Persephone, and yet the majority of the poem is dedicated to Demeter (as the title suggests).
Marriage of Persephone
Most of the Hymn to Demeter
is concerned with the details of Demeter's search for her lost daughter, because the poem is in many respects more about Demeter and her reactions to the loss of Persephone than about the abduction of Persephone itself. Be this as it may, the young goddess who is enamored of flowers and cavorting with her friends is transformed into the wife of the stern and imperious Hades
in the Hymn. This is accomplished through one significant event: once in the Underworld, Hades offers Persephone the seeds of the pomegranate, which she accepts. The act of ingesting pomegranate seeds symbolizes the consummation of their relationship, which is a beautiful poetic touch. Hereafter, Persephone, who was previously known as Kore ("the maiden") is regarded as the spouse of Hades, and she inhabits the Underworld with him for part of the year.
The goddess Persephone was known as Proserpina in Roman mythology.
Persephone in Art
Gallery | For pictures and information about Persephone in art, visit the Mythography gallery!
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Persephone...played with the full bosomed daughters of Okeanos, gathering flowers, roses, crocuses, and beautiful violets all over a soft meadow...
- Homeric Hymn to Demeter
Who's Who in Classical Mythology
This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.