God of the week : Persephone

 

Persephone was the Greek goddess of the harvest. She was the Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Persephone is sometimes referred to as the princesses of the underworld. This comes from the Homeric hymn to Demeter, where Homer tells the story of how Hades carried her away to the underworld to make her his bride.

 

Homer also  tells of  Zeus’  attempts to calm his brother by setting a trap for Persephone.  He placed a radiant narcissus(daffodil) to lure her to the trap with its beauty. Hades waited by the trap set to snare Persephone. When she reached out to grab it Hades rode in on his chariot drawn by immortal horses. He then snatched her up from the trap,and carried her down into his realm, the underworld.

 

Upon hearing what had happened her mother ,Demeter, was struck with grief and anger. In her rage she caused all of the vegetation on the earth to stop growing. The people began to grow weary and hungry. Their pain and suffering at the wrath of Demeter caused them to begin to cry out to the gods. Their  cries  grew so great that the other gods persuaded Zeus to send word to Hades to release Persephone.

 

Zeus agreed so long as she had not eaten anything while she was in the underworld.Hades agreed to release her, but before doing so he tricked her into tasting the pomegranate fruit. In doing this, he had cursed her into being bound to him in the underworld for half the year. The story of the abduction of Persephone is often called the rape of Persephone as she was forced to to be the bride of Hades, and then later to bound to him half the year.

 

Ovid gives her Roman name Proserpine. In the version told in the Metamorphoses it was Jupiter that decided she would spend half the year in the underworld. He did this to console Ceres (the name given to Demeter by Ovid).

 

This was because Jupiter had said he would only rescue Proserpine provided she hadn’t eaten anything in the underworld. So when Ceres had learned that Proserpine had eaten the pomegranate she was devastated at the loss, and Jupiter offered consolation by allowing her to return for six months out of the year.