Nov 30, 2015

Posted by in Gods and Godesses, Mythological Characters, Paganism | 0 Comments

Persephone: Queen Of The Underworld

Persephone: Queen Of The Underworld
Pinax of Persephone and Hades on the throne. F...

Pinax of Persephone and Hades.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Greek mythology, Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Demeter, the harvest goddess, and Zeus, the mighty king of the gods. She is sometimes referred to as Kore or Cora, which means “the maiden”. In most classical Greek art, Persephone is seen wearing a robe and carrying a sheaf of grain. She is said to have mothered Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus with her father, Zeus. However, Persephone plays another important role in Greek Mythology. She was known as the Queen of the Underworld and wife of Hades. The story of how she came to be Hades’ wife is an interesting one, often referred to as the “Rape of Persephone”.

It began one sunny afternoon when Persephone was out in the meadow gathering flowers with a few of her friends. Although several gods had attempted to woo Persephone in the past, her mother Demeter had always rejected them. She was known to be very protective of her daughter. So, when Hades fell in love with the young maiden, he devised a plan to make her his wife and approached Zeus for approval. Zeus did not object, never expecting the consequences to be so dire.

As Persephone happily collected flowers, she was disturbed by a rumbling in the earth below her. Suddenly, the ground cracked open and up from the underworld sprang Hades’ golden chariot, pulled by four black horses. Hades quickly grabbed Persephone and pulled her into the chariot. Then, just as abruptly as he had appeared, they disappeared into the crack in the earth and Persephone found herself in the dark, foreboding realm of the dead. Hades is said to have taken her virginity and claimed her as his wife, much to Persephone’s dismay. Persephone, feeling distraught from her abduction and missing her mother, refused to eat.

When Demeter realized that her daughter was missing she searched every corner of the Earth looking for her. As she relentlessly pursued her lost child, she began to neglect her duties and vegetation all over the world withered and died. As people began to starve, Zeus was forced to reveal to Demeter that Persephone had been taken into the underworld. Furious, Demeter demanded that Zeus return her daughter. Zeus agreed that Persephone could be returned to her mother, provided that she had not eaten anything while she was in Hades.

Persephone had held out for as long as she could, but was finally tricked by Hades into eating a single pomegranate seed. This simple act sealed her fate and she was doomed to remain in the underworld as Hades’ wife. When Demeter found out, she was hysterical and refused to let any vegetation grow on the Earth. Finally, Rhea, mother of the Olympians, proposed a compromise. Persephone would spend half of the year in the underworld with Hades and the other half of the year on Olympus with her mother. Demeter hesitantly agreed, but still refused to allow plants to grow during the time Persephone was in the underworld.

This story is how the Greeks explained the seasons. They reasoned that during the spring and summer growing seasons Persephone was with her mother, and during the fall and winter she resided in the underworld. Persephone would eventually become accustomed to her role as Queen of Hades and aid in the transition of souls from the realm of the living into the world of the dead when they died.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!