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Persephone
Persephone
Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, walking amidst a forest.
Details
Country Greece
Gender Female
Parents Zeus and Demeter
Siblings Arion (half-brother)
Consorts Zeus and Hades
Children Zagreus and Melinoe by Zeus, the Furies by Hades
Major cult center Eleusis
Symbols Any flower, sheaf of grain, a flaming torch and a pomegranate.
Abode Olympus
Greek Ζεύς
Roman equivalent Prosperina
Pronunciation Per-SEH-foh-nee

Persephone was the goddess of spring, flowers and the seasons. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and the wife of Hades, which made her the Queen of the Underworld. She was the personification of the earth's fruitfulness. Her Roman counterpart was called Prosperina.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon, and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. The mystic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. Apollodorus, in his list of Zeus' divine children, curiously calls Persephone a daughter of Zeus and Styx. Elsewhere he gives the usual account where her mother is Demeter.


Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter, and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed; often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a scepter and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades.