Persephone (Roman Proserpina)

Persephone rising, with Hermes. Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 460 BC. New York, Metropolitan Museum 28.57.23.Persephone and Hades relief. Reggio, Museo NazionaleDemeter and Kore (Persephone). Detail from Athenian lekythos c. 450-425 BC. Athens, National Museum

Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Wife of Hades, the King of the Underworld, who carried her off because of her beauty. Her mother begged Zeus to allow her to return to earth, a request he granted on condition that Persephone had not eaten any food in the Underworld. She had eaten, but only a few pomegranate seeds, so Zeus took pity on Demeter, and decreed that Persephone should spend part of each year on earth, and part in the Underworld. Also sometimes depicted being carried off by Hades, often in a chariot, and with her mother, often carrying sheafs of corn or a torch.

Above left: Persephone rising, with Hermes. Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 460 BC. New York, Metropolitan Museum 28.57.23. © Metropolitan Museum, New York Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 189

Above middle: Persephone and Hades relief. Reggio, Museo Nazionale © Museo Nazionale, Reggio

Above right: Demeter and Kore (Persephone). Detail from Athenian lekythos c. 450-425 BC. Athens, National Museum © National Museum, Athens