Persephone

Kore, daughter of Demeter, between 500 and 525 B.C., now in Acropolis Museum, Athens
Kore, daughter of Demeter, between 500 and 525 B.C., now in Acropolis Museum, Athens

We learned some Greek mythology at our library event this morning. I regret that I never studied mythology. There are so many references to it in classical literature. My son loves it. He has listened to a Jim Weiss CD about Greek myths. He knew what was going on today at the library. And then we picked up some great books. One is about Persephone, the goddess who is abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld to be queen. She is very sad. Her mother, Demeter, searches all over for her and is finally informed of the abduction. She curses the earth so nothing will grow on it. Zeus sends down Hermes to help get Persephone back so the earth will grow again. He succeeds, but Persephone eats three pomegranate seeds which Hades offers her, which means she will spend three months of the year with him in the underworld (and above ground, those months are the season of winter). But when she returns to her mother, Spring also returns and the earth flowers.

The statue above is Persephone, also known as Kore. I like this story for the strong mother-daughter tie, and also the tensions between Hades and Persephone. They are, in a sense, opposites, and although Persephone is very sad the entire time she sits on the throne in the underworld, she does light up the place and make it beautiful. And Hades appreciates that. He also lets her go without much of a fight when Hermes comes for her. He tricks her into eating the fruit, which is sneaky. Even though winter can be long and cold, I don’t really want to live someplace without winter. I feel the same way about Persephone being underground. It is not something she enjoys, but I like how she returns to Hades and her throne for part of the year.

Greek myths are great stories! I feel like a whole new avenue of story-world has been opened up to me.

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