Skip to main content

Persephone

Persephone (pərsĕf´ənē) or Proserpine (prōsûr´pənē), in Greek and Roman religion and mythology, goddess of fertility and queen of the underworld. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. When she was still a beautiful maiden, Pluto seized her and held her captive in his underworld. Though Demeter eventually persuaded the gods to let her daughter return to her, Persephone was required to remain in the underworld for four months because Pluto had tricked her into eating a pomegranate (food of the dead) there. When Persephone left the earth, the flowers withered and the grain died, but when she returned, life blossomed anew. This story, which symbolizes the annual vegetation cycle, was celebrated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Persephone appeared under the name Kore.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Persephone." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Persephone." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/persephone

"Persephone." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/persephone

Persephone

Persephone

In Greek mythology, Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. Persephone became queen of the underworld when she married Hades. The Romans knew her as Proserpina.

As a young girl, Persephone traveled around the world with her mother, who ruled over the earth and everything that grew from it.

Hades, the god of the underworld, wanted her for his wife. He spoke to his brother Zeus, who agreed to help him. One day Zeus caused a beautiful flower to grow in a place where Persephone was walking. The girl stooped to admire the flower. At that moment, Hades rode out of the underworld on a chariot, seized Persephone, and took her back to his kingdom.

Unaware of these events, Demeter searched everywhere for her missing daughter. For days she wandered the earth with a flaming torch in each hand and in her distress caused all crops to wither and die. Famine threatened. Zeus feared that humankind would perish, leaving no one to perform sacrifices to the gods. He begged Demeter to restore life to the earth, but she refused to do so unless Persephone was returned to her.

underworld land of the dead

Zeus sent Mercury, messenger of the gods, to fetch Persephone from the underworld. As she was leaving, Hades gave her a sweet pomegranate, and she ate several of its seeds. Persephone did not realize that eating food from the underworld meant that she could not leave it. As a result, Zeus declared that Persephone

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

would have to spend part of each year in the underworld with Hades and the remainder of the year on earth with her mother.

The story of Persephone was used to explain the cycle of the seasons. For most of the year, the earth is alive and covered with growing plants. However, during the barren months, when Persephone is with Hades, Demeter mourns her daughter's absence, and the earth lies bare and lifeless.

See also Demeter; Hades.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Persephone." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Persephone." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/persephone

"Persephone." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/persephone

Persephone

Persephone in Greek mythology, a goddess, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was carried off by Hades and made queen of the underworld. Demeter, vainly seeking her, refused to let the earth produce its fruits until her daughter was restored to her, but because Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds in the other world, she was obliged to spend part of every year there. Her story symbolizes the return of spring and the life and growth of corn. Her Roman name is Proserpina.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Persephone." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Persephone." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone

"Persephone." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone

Perséphone

Perséphone. Melodrama in 3 scenes by Stravinsky to lib. by André Gide, choreog. Jooss, for narr., ten., ch., children's ch., and orch. Comp. 1933–4. Prod. Paris 1934, London (concert) 1934, London (stage) CG 1961, Santa Fe (stage) 1961. In ballet version, performer of Perséphone must recite and dance, but the role is now often divided between 2 performers, on Stravinsky's suggestion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Perséphone." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Perséphone." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone

"Perséphone." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone

Persephone

Persephone In Greek mythology, goddess of spring. She was the daughter of Zeus and the Earth goddess Demeter. When Hades, king of the underworld, abducted Persephone to be his wife, famine spread over the Earth. To prevent catastrophe, Zeus commanded Hades to release her. He did so, and thus, each year, spring returns to the Earth. Persephone was known as Proserpine to the Romans.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Persephone." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Persephone." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/persephone

"Persephone." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/persephone

Persephone

PersephoneLéonie, peony •Tierney •Briony, bryony, Hermione •tourney • ebony • Albany •chalcedony • Alderney •Persephone, Stephanie, telephony •antiphony, epiphany, polyphony, tiffany •symphony •cacophony, homophony, theophany, Zoffany •euphony • agony • garganey •Antigone •cosmogony, mahogany, theogony •balcony • Gascony • Tuscany •calumny •felony, Melanie, miscellany •villainy • colony •Chamonix, salmony, scammony, Tammany •harmony •anemone, Emeny, hegemony, lemony, Yemeni •alimony, palimony •agrimony • acrimony •matrimony, patrimony •ceremony • parsimony • antimony •sanctimony • testimony • simony •Romany • Germany • threepenny •timpani • sixpenny • tuppenny •accompany, company •barony • saffrony • tyranny •synchrony • irony • saxony • cushiony •Anthony • betony •Brittany, dittany, litany •botany, cottony, monotony •gluttony, muttony •Bethany • oniony • raisiny •attorney, Burney, Czerny, Ernie, ferny, gurney, journey, Verny

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Persephone." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Persephone." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone-0

"Persephone." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/persephone-0