The myth of Persephone and Hades

myth of demeter and persephone, hades and persephone, the origin of the seasons in Greek mythology

The myth of Demetra (Demeter) and Persephone is one of the most interesting in Greek mythology, showing the strong bond between mothers and daughters. It's also an effort to explain, through mythology, the origin of the seasons. At its core, this is a rather dark mythological story involving an abduction and most likely a rape.

Who is Persephone?

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the earth. Persephone, as a vegetation goddess, and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death.

Who is Hades?

Hades is the brother of Zeus and god of the underworld.

What did Hades do to Pershephone?

Hades abducted the young goddess Pershephone one day as she was gathering flowers by a stream. Demeter went in search of her daughter, but she was unable to find her. Demeter's grief causes the earth to die - crops fail, and famine comes upon the land. Zeus intervenes and commands Hades to return Persephone. Reluctant to release her, Hades forces Persephone to eat a pomegranate seed, food of the dead. As a result, she can spend only six months out of the year with her mother; the other six months she is destined to spend in the realm of Hades.

To the Greeks, the return of Persephone from the underworld symbolized the return of life in the spring. Each spring, as the earth returned to life, some Greeks observed a sacred ritual in which the story of Demeter and Persephone was enacted.

Who is the child of Hades and Pershephone? Who are the kids of Pershephone?

Melinoe is the daughter of Persephone and was fathered by both Zeus and Hades in their Orphic dual-god role. A major contributory factor surrounding Melinoe's birth is the fact that Hades and Zeus were, at times, syncretised with each other. The Orphics in particular believed that Zeus and Hades were the same deity and portrayed them as such. Zeus was portrayed as having an incarnation in the underworld identifying him as literally being Hades and leading to Zeus and Hades essentially being two representations and different facets of the same god and extended divine power. Although some Greek myths deal with themes of incest, in Orphic genealogies lines of kinship express theological and cosmogonical concepts, not the realities of human family relations.

Zagreus was the son of Zeus and Persephone. Again, similar to the myth of Melinoe, Zagreus in some myths, is fathered by both Zeus and Hades.