Abduction of Persephone
Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and her uncle Hades had fallen in love with her. Hades had asked Zeus for his blessing and Zeus agreed, although he forgot to inform the said woman and mother. Hades then kidnapped her by either having the ground swallow her or using his chariot to snatch her away into his realm.
Meanwhile, Demeter learned of her daughter's fate from a river nymph, who witnessed the abduction, and went into mourning. The Earth experienced severe starvation due to the fact Demeter refused to let anything grow. Zeus begged Demeter to allow agriculture to flourish again, but she refused until Persephone was returned. He then ordered Hades to return Persephone.
In a last ditch effort to keep his new bride he gave Persephone a pomegranate grown in the Underworld . If she took she ate any of it, she would become bound to the Underworld. Persephone, growing tired of evading his unwelcome hospitality, relented and ate six seeds. She was then informed by Hermes, she was trapped in the Underworld. However, Zeus knew he had to return his daughter to Demeter so Persephone was to spend a month in the Underworld for each seed (winter and autumn). The remaining six months were to be spent with Demeter (summer and spring).
This story was meant to explain the seasons; as for spring and summer Persephone was with her mother, and so in her joy let everything grow, but when Persephone was returned to the Underworld everything died and autumn and winter arrived on Earth.
|Classical Olympians||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysus • Hephaestus • Hera • Hermes • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Other deities||Asclepius • Eros • Hades • Hebe • Heracles • Hestia • Pan • Persephone|