The myth of Hades and Persephone is one of the well known Greek myths.
Hades was the brother of Zeus and the god of the underworld.
Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the Goddess of nature.
The myth of Hades and Persephone is one more myth of love and abduction in the Greek mythology.
Hades and Persephone: the beginning of the myth
Hades fell in love with Persephone and decided to kidnap her. The myth says that in one of the rare times he left the Underworld, he traveled above ground to pursue her, while she was gathering flowers in a field.
One day Hades, God of the Underworld, saw Persephone and instantly fell in love with her.
Adis (Hades) confided his secret in his brother Zeus, asking for help, so the two of them concocted a plan to trap her.
As the girl (Persephone) played with her companions, they caused the ground to split underneath her.
Persephone slipped beneath the Earth and Hades stole her to the Underworld where he made her his wife.
The myth says that Persephone was very unhappy, but after much time, she came to love the cold-blooded Hades and lived happily with him
Goddess Demeter trying to find Persephone
Demeter rushed back to where she had left her daughter and found only the Cyane river there with the other nymphs weeping. Worried as she was, she asked all as to the whereabouts of her beloved daughter.
Nobody could tell her anything at all and furious that they couldn’t protect her child, she cursed all the nymphs into becoming heinous women with plumed bodies and scaly feet, called the sirens.
It was only the river Cyane who helped her by washing over the belt of Persephone, indicating that something gravely wrong had happened.
Demeter went mad and hunted for her daughter everywhere. The myth says that she even disguised herself as an aged lady and with lighted torched in her hands roamed the Earth for nine long days and nine long nights.
Finally, she met Hekate, the deity of magic, witchcraft, spirits and crossroads, at the dawn of the 10th day who had pity at her dismal condition and asked
her to seek help from the all seeing Helios, the sun god. Helios told Demeter all about how Hades had dragged Persephone into the underworld.
Persephone in the Underworld
Persephone’s mother, Demeter, begged her brother Hades to allow Persephone to come back to the livings, denoting that the young Persephone was not supposed to live in the underworld.
Hades consulted with Zeus and they both decided to allow Persephone to live on earth for six months each year, while the rest of the time she would be on his side in the Underworld.
Before leaving the underworld, Persephone had been persuaded to eat four seeds of a pomegranate. In ancient mythology, to eat the fruit of one’s captor meant that one would have to return to that captor or country, so Persephone was doomed to return to the underworld for four months of the year.
But she was allowed to spend the remaining two-thirds of the year with her Earth Mother, Demeter.
The myth of Hades and Persephone is associated with the coming of Spring and Winter: When Persephone comes to the Earth, it’s springtime. When she descends to Hades, it is winter.
Celebrating the myth of Persephone
The disappearance and the return of Persephone were the occasions of great festivals in ancient Greece, among them the Elefsinian rites, whose secrets were so closely guarded that little is known about them today.
Some experts believe the rites or mysteries fostered the idea of a more perfect life after death, and thus helped to lay the groundwork for the coming of Christianity, which upholds the idea of everlasting life.
Perseus’ Slaying of Medusa
There are many great myths about the legendary hero Perseus, but the most famous would have to be the slaying of Medusa.
King Polydectes of Seriphos wished to marry Danae, Perseus’ mother. Perseus did not approve of this, and it caused a rift between the two men,
so Polydectes plotted to send Perseus away in disgrace. At a lavish dinner party, Polydectes asked every guest to bring a horse as a gift, and since Perseus did not have any gift to give,
he asked Polydectes what he wanted. In an attempt to do away with Perseus for good, Polydectes asked him to bring him the head of Medusa, whose gaze turned people to stone.
After receiving a polished shield, a knapsack for Medusa’s head, an adamantine sword, and Hade’s helm of darkness (giving him invisibility),
Perseus headed out to slay Medusa. Using his polished shield to view Medusa’s reflection as he approached, he was able to safely cut off her head and put it in the knapsack.
Orpheus’ Attempted Rescue of Eurydice
Orpheus was known as a great musician, and it was said that trees would bend to listen to his music. Eventually, he fell in love with and married Eurydice, but on their wedding day, she was bitten by a snake and died.
Orpheus was so sad that he only played mournful music, which was itself so sad that it touched the Gods, who felt sorry that he had lost his wife.
Eventually, Hermes arrived and advised Orpheus to travel to the underworld and convince Hades and Persephone to let Eurydice come back to the world of the living.
Through his music, Orpheus was able to charm Hades and Persephone to allow Eurydice to come back with him.
However, they gave him a stipulation—Orpheus would have to walk ahead of Eurydice as they left the underworld, and he could not turn and look back at her until they had returned to the world of the living.
Sadly, Orpheus could not overcome his anxiety, and he turned to look back at Eurydice just as he cleared the doorway to the underworld, causing Eurydice to fade away instantly
Oedipus and the Oracle’s Prophecy
The story of Oedipus is one of the most tragic Greek tales. Oedipus was an unfortunate hero who ended up fulfilling an oracle’s prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother.
Oedipus was the son of King Laius of Thebes and Jocasta, and the oracle prophesied that he would kill Laius. Upon hearing this,
Laius tethered Oedipus’ ankles together and had his servant leave him to die on a nearby mountaintop.
His servant did not do as he told, instead giving the baby to a shepherd. Eventually, young Oedipus was adopted by King Polybus of Corinth.
Once Oedipus became a man, he heard that he was a bastard and not the biological son of Polybus. In order to confirm this,
he went to the oracle at Delphi, who told him that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Fearing this, he decided to not return to Corinth,
instead stopping in Thebes. Before he got to Thebes, he came into conflict with Laius, killing him when he attempted to run him over with his chariot.
Eventually, Oedipus arrived at Thebes and answered the riddle of the Sphinx. Jocasta’s brother, Creon, had promised the kingdom of Thebes
to anyone who could solve the riddle, thus Oedipus became the ruler of Thebes and married Jocasta.
Eventually, a plague fell upon Thebes, and after consulting with the oracle, Oedipus realized that justice must be brought to the killer of Laius.
After angrily arguing with the blind prophet Tiresias, Oedipus realized that he was the one who killed Laius and that he was not the biological son of Polybus.
Jocasta discovered this fact and hung herself in disgust. Oedipus, upon realizing what he had done and seeing Jocasta’s dead body, stabbed his eyes out and was exiled
A different version of the myth of Hades and Persephone
The myth of Hades and Persephone also has a different version; in this one Demeter was present when Persephone was kidnapped by God Hades but was tricked by Zeus and Hades.
That morning when Demeter descended on Earth with her daughter Persephone , she left her to play with the sea nymphs called Nereids and the Naiads who were the freshwater nymphs of the lakes, springs and rivers.
Persephone and flower Narcissus
Demeter went to supervise her bountiful crops. As Persephone engaged in play and with the rest of the group, her attention fell upon the potently fragrant valley nearby and she couldn’t take her eyes of the yellow flower narcissus.
She called upon her playmates to accompany her, but they couldn’t possibly go with her as leaving the side of their water bodies would result in their death.
The flower Narcissus was planted there by Gaia, who was following the orders of Zeus. The goal was to enchant Persephone and attract her, away from her guides.
Hades Kidnapping Persephone
Persephone danced her way to the garden alone and tried to pluck the narcissus from the bosom of Gaia. It drained her energies as the narcissus only came out after a lot of pulling.
But suddenly, to her utter fright, she saw the tiny hole from which she had drawn out the flower shaft, began to rapid grow in size until it started to resemble a mighty enormous chasm.
From this came the vigorous galloping sounds of multiple horses and such sudden happenings only froze the frail
Out of all her friends only the naiad Cyane tried to rescue the crying Persephone but she was no match for the powerful Hades.
Bereaving her friend’s kidnap, Cyane melted into a pool of tears and formed the river Cyane at the spot
Prometheus and the Theft of Fire
Prometheus was one of the original Titans who was overthrown by Zeus and the other Olympians. He was also one of the few to survive being banished to Tartarus.
Prometheus constantly came into conflict with Zeus, and after Zeus withdrew the use of fire from mortals, Prometheus famously stole the fire and gave it back to humanity.
As punishment for his transgressions, he was chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains for eternity.
Every day, an eagle (the symbol of Zeus) would fly to the rock and eat Prometheus’ liver. Since he was immortal, his liver would regenerate, only for the cycle to repeat the next day. Eventually, Heracles freed Prometheus from his prison.
Narcissus and Echo
Narcissus was known far and wide for his amazing beauty, and one day in the forest, the mountain nymph Echo saw him and fell in love with him.
Narcissus felt that someone was following him and called out to Echo, shouting “who’s there?” again and again, only to have Echo repeat his words.
Eventually, Echo showed herself and tried to embrace Narcissus, only to have him reject her and send her away, leaving her heartbroken.
This angered Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, who then lead Narcissus to a pool deep in the woods where he gazed upon a reflection of himself as a young man.
He did not realize it was his own reflection, and he fell in love with it, unable to leave.
Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra, and he was known for his massive ego and cunning. He defied the gods on many occasions, cheating death through means of trickery and deceit.
This angered Zeus, who forced Sisyphus to roll an immense boulder up a hill. Just when the boulder got to the top of the hill, it would roll back down to the bottom,
consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of unending frustration. This punishment was devised by Zeus as retribution for Sisyphus’ hubris against the gods in thinking that he, a mortal, could be more clever and cunning than they
Theseus and the Labyrinth
Theseus was a legendary hero and one of the founders of Athens. One of the most famous stories of his heroism was his slaying of the Minotaur and escape from the labyrinth.
Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos of Crete, had an illegitimate son with a Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull. Instead of killing the monster,
King Minos put him in a maze called a labyrinth in which he would also imprison his enemies, who were typically unable to escape and would become food for the Minotaur.
The Athenians were forced to send seven men every year as a sacrifice to the Minotaur, which greatly distressed Theseus.
Eventually, against his father’s wishes, Theseus went to Crete to slay the Minotaur and end the cycle of violence.
There, he met Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, who fell in love with him and decided to help him. She gave him a long thread and told him to unravel it in the labyrinth so that he could find his way out after killing the Minotaur.
Theseus was able to slay the beast, escape the labyrinth, and return to Athens with Ariadne.
Daedalus, who had constructed the labyrinth, was imprisoned in a tower on Crete with his son Icarus by King Minos so that he would not divulge the true nature of the Minotaur.
Eventually, Daedalus devised a brilliant plan to escape the tower. He would collect feathers and use wax to glue them together to create wings.
Eventually, he made two sets of wings—one for himself and one for Icarus. Daedalus warned his son to not fly to close to the sun,
lest the wax melt from the heat and cause the wings to fall apartIcarus did not listen to his father,
as he was too consumed by the wonder of being able to fly. He flew too close to the sun, his wings broke apart, and he plummeted into the sea