Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Greek Goddess Persephone: Queen of the underworld

Statue of Isis-Persephone, the queen of  the underworld, holding a sistrum, in the  Archaeological Museum in Herakleion.
Statue of Isis-Persephone, the queen of
the underworld, holding a sistrum, in the
Archaeological Museum in Heraklion.
Persephone (or Proserpina) is the Queen of the Underworld, daughter of the Greek goddess of harvest Demeter and Greek God Zeus, the ruler of the gods. She is Greek goddess of spring time. Her symbols include the pomegranate, Deer, Seeds of Grain, willow tree, waterfalls, rivers, and springs. She sometimes included in the Greek pantheon, however because of his bind with the underworld, she had to stay six months there.

Personal life and abduction from Hades


Persephone used to live away from the other gods, and she was used to planting seeds and nurturing plants. Demeter, her mother, rejected all the presents offered by the gods Apollo and Hermes and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian gods. Persephone was gathering flowers with the Oceanids along with Artemis and Athena in a field when Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth.

Her mother Demeter was searching for them, but she could not find her. She forbidden the earth to produce and she caused nothing to grow. The seasons halted and all living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Eventually, Helios (the sun in Greek), who sees everything, told Demeter about the abduction of Persephone from god Hades. Zeus forced Hades to return Persephone and he sent the messenger of the Greek gods Hermes, to bring Persephone back from the underworld. Hades agreed to release her if she is able to resist and not eating anything during her stay in the underworld. Unfortunately, Persephone ate some seeds, bounding her to Hades. Thus, she from now on she has to stay for some months every year to the underworld with Hades, transforming her into the queen of the Underworld.  According to later mythological stories, she is spending six months (or a third of each year in other variations) in the underworld each year, bringing the winter to earth.

Epithets


Persephone had many friendly names, although some of them are hard to track them down. The main reason behind this is that the people were worshiping her as a goddess of the underworld. Before people named her Persephone, she was known as "Despoina" - the mistress of the house. She was also known as Hange (Αγνή - Pure) and Melindia (Μέλι - honey). In the Orphic Hymn, she was also known as Praxidike.