Persephone was the queen of the Underworld and also the goddess of spring growth.

Residence: The Underworld and Mount Olympus
Symbols: Pomegranate, torch and flowers
Parents: Zeus and Demeter
Siblings: Aeacus, Angelos, AphroditeApolloAres, Arion, ArtemisAthena, Chrysothemis, Despoina, Dionysus, Ilithyia, EnyoEris, Ersa, Eubuleus, Hebe, Helen of Troy, HephaestusHeraclesHermes, Minos, Pandia, Philomelus, Plutus, Perseus, Rhadamanthus, the Graces, the Horae, the Litae, the Muses, the Moirae
Consort: Hades
Roman equivalent: Proserpina

AMI - Isis-Persephone.jpg
Statue of Persephone with a sistrum, 2nd c. AD. Heraklion Archaeological Museum. (c) Wolfgang Sauber

Abduction of Persephone

Persephone was seized by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her mother Demeter despaired at her disappearance and searched for her the throughout the world. When she learned that Zeus had conspired in her daughter’s abduction she was furious, and refused to let the plants of the world grow until Persephone was returned. Zeus consented, but because the girl had tasted of the food of Hades, a handful of pomegranate seeds, she was forced to forever spend a part of the year with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter, conversely, saw the dying down of plants and the halting of growth.

Hades abducting Persephone. Fresco in the small Macedonian royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, c. 340 BC.
Cinerary altar with tabula representing the abduction of Persephone. 2nd c. AD. Baths of Diocletian, Rome.
Roman statue of Persephone, 2nd c. AD. Hermitage Museum. (c)
Detail of an Apulian red-figure krater, c. 330-310 BC, depicting an enthroned Hades next to Persephone.

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