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1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

Demeter and Persephone are personifications of nature

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Greek mythology is very rich and diverse, the result of the own Greek genius and also of the confluence of ancient Asian, Mediterranean, African beliefs (Mesopotamia, Egypt ...)

Many myths are today difficult for us to be understood and interpreted. Others are more obvious. Among this diversity, some of them that specially highlight or outstand are clearly referred to the phenomena of Nature, for which an explanation is sought, explanation that is redundant "mythical", fabulous, yet unscientific.

Among them one of the most evocative and of easier interpretation in outline is that of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter (Δημήτηρ, mother goddess”,   ἡ Μητὴρ hê Mêtềr = the mother)  (mother of the ground, of  vegetation, agriculture and cereals, protector of marriage and much more) is an ancient goddess. Persephone is her daughter, also known as Kore (Greek word meaning "the maiden, the girl").

Hades (Pluto to the Romans), god of the Underworld, kidnapped Persephone (Proserpina to the Romans), who was playing with some nymphs, and raped and carried her off  down into hell.

Her mother looked for her desperately and, meanwhile, she prevented the Earth from giving fruits and new life. Zeus had to interfere, who forced Hades to return her back to her mother, but not before cheating her to eat a few pomegranate seeds. The fact of eating the pomegranate seeds forced her to return to Hell or Hades during a time of year.

When the girl, Persephone, was with her mother, Demeter, the Earth flourished and gave fruit; but when Persephone lives in Hell with Hades, the land withers, dries and becomes infertile.

This myth was celebrated throughout Greece with the holidays called "Thesmophoria" in which only women were involved, being forbidden to men.

The myth, of course, refers to the succession of the seasons: the ground, the whole nature, dies and becomes sterile during a season and, during another, it greens and offers its fruits.

These myths about death and resurrection, about the cycle of life that is consistently restarted, had a far-reaching importance in the ancient mind and still have among us moderns.

This cycle of death and resurrection is evident in the plant world in which, beings, dead in winter, rise in spring. Myths relating to the world of vegetation are innumerable; that of Persephone is one of the most beautiful and clear.

Moreover, the success of many religions was to relate, to identify the cycle of nature with the life cycle of the persons, who also died as evident, but are called to resuscitate.


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