Death Of Persephone (2 of 4) Picture

Persephone was gathering flowers with the Oceanids along with Artemis and Athena—theHomeric Hymn says—in a field when Hades came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth.[68] Demeter, when she found her daughter had disappeared, searched for her all over the earth with torches. In most versions she forbids the earth to produce, or she neglects the earth and in the depth of her despair she causes nothing to grow. Helios, the sun, who sees everything, eventually told Demeter what had happened and at length she discovered the place of her abode. Finally, Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return Persephone.[69]

Oil painting of Hades abducting Persephone. Oil on wood with gilt background. 18th century. Property of Missing Link Antiques.
Hades abducting Persephone, wall painting in the small royal tomb atVergina. Macedonia, Greece

Hades indeed complied with the request, but first he tricked her, giving her some pomegranate seeds to eat. Persephone was released byHermes, who had been sent to retrieve her, but because she had tasted food in the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above.[70] With the later writers Ovid and Hyginus, Persephone's time in the underworld becomes half the year.[71]


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