Proserpina
Overview
Proserpina or Proserpine (ˈ) is an ancient Roman goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 whose story is the basis of a myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of Springtime
Spring (season)
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and...

. Her Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 goddess' equivalent is Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

.
The probable origin of her name comes from the Latin, "proserpere" or "to emerge," in respect to the growing of grain. Proserpina was subsumed by the cult of Libera
Libera (mythology)
Libera is a fertility goddess in ancient Roman religion. Her origins are unknown; she may have been a fertility goddess of archaic or pre-Roman Magna Graecia. Her Latin name is the feminine form of Liber,...

, an ancient fertility goddess
Fertility goddess
A fertility deity is a god or goddess in mythology associated with fertility, pregnancy, and birth. In some cases these deities are directly associated with sex, and in others they simply embody related attributes...

, wife of Liber
Liber
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber , also known as Liber Pater was a god of viticulture and wine, fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia became associated with free speech and the rights...

 and is also considered a life–death–rebirth deity
Life-death-rebirth deity
A dying god, also known as a dying-and-rising or resurrection deity, is a god who dies and is resurrected or reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern and Greek deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Attis Tammuz, Asclepius, Orpheus, as well as...

.

She was the daughter of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and crops and Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

, the god of sky and thunder.
Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

, in order to bring love to Pluto
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

, sent her son Amor also known as Cupid
Cupid
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of the goddess Venus and the god Mars. His Greek counterpart is Eros...

 to hit Pluto with one of his arrows.
Encyclopedia
Proserpina or Proserpine (ˈ) is an ancient Roman goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 whose story is the basis of a myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of Springtime
Spring (season)
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and...

. Her Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 goddess' equivalent is Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

.
The probable origin of her name comes from the Latin, "proserpere" or "to emerge," in respect to the growing of grain. Proserpina was subsumed by the cult of Libera
Libera (mythology)
Libera is a fertility goddess in ancient Roman religion. Her origins are unknown; she may have been a fertility goddess of archaic or pre-Roman Magna Graecia. Her Latin name is the feminine form of Liber,...

, an ancient fertility goddess
Fertility goddess
A fertility deity is a god or goddess in mythology associated with fertility, pregnancy, and birth. In some cases these deities are directly associated with sex, and in others they simply embody related attributes...

, wife of Liber
Liber
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber , also known as Liber Pater was a god of viticulture and wine, fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia became associated with free speech and the rights...

 and is also considered a life–death–rebirth deity
Life-death-rebirth deity
A dying god, also known as a dying-and-rising or resurrection deity, is a god who dies and is resurrected or reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern and Greek deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Attis Tammuz, Asclepius, Orpheus, as well as...

.

She was the daughter of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and crops and Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

, the god of sky and thunder.

Springtime

Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

, in order to bring love to Pluto
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

, sent her son Amor also known as Cupid
Cupid
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of the goddess Venus and the god Mars. His Greek counterpart is Eros...

 to hit Pluto with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, at the Pergusa Lake
Pergusa Lake
Lake Pergusa is a lake in Sicily, set between a group of mountains in the Erean Mountains chain 5 km from Enna, Italy. It is a vital place in the migratory current of lots of birds. In addition to birds, which are certainly the protagonists of the Pergusa nature reserve, here there are also...

 near Enna
Enna
Enna is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily, southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside...

, where she was playing with some nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

s and collecting flowers, when Pluto came out from the volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 Etna with four black horses named Orphnaeus, Aethon, Nycteus and Alastor. He abducted her in order to marry her and live with her in the underworld of which he was the ruler.

Her mother Ceres
Ceres (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres"...

, the goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 of agriculture or of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, went looking for her in vain to every corner of the earth, but was not able to find anything but a small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of the nymphs). In her desperation Ceres angrily stopped the growth of fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s and vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s, bestowing a malediction
Curse
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object...

 on Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 at every step.

Worried, Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 sent Mercury
Mercury (mythology)
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is related to the Latin word merx , mercari , and merces...

 to order Pluto (Jupiter's brother) to free Proserpina. Pluto obeyed, but before letting her go he made her eat six pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 seeds, because those who have eaten the food of the dead could not return to the world of the living. This meant that she would have to live six months of each year with him, and stay the rest with her mother. This story was undoubtedly meant to illustrate the changing of the seasons: when Ceres welcomes her daughter back in the spring the earth blossoms, and when Proserpina must be returned to her husband it withers.

In another version of the story, Proserpina ate only four pomegranate seeds, and she did so of her own accord. When Jupiter ordered her return, Pluto struck a deal with Jupiter, saying that since she had stolen his pomegranate seeds, she must stay with him four months of the year in return. For this reason, in spring when Ceres receives her daughter back, the crops blossom, and in summer they flourish. In the autumn Ceres changes the leaves to shades of brown and orange (her favorite colors) as a gift to Proserpina before she has to return to the underworld. During the time that Proserpina resides with Pluto, the world goes through winter, a time when the earth is barren.

Orpheus and Eurydice

The myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of Proserpina, the most extensive Latin version of which is by Claudian
Claudian
Claudian was a Roman poet, who worked for Emperor Honorius and the latter's general Stilicho.A Greek-speaking citizen of Alexandria and probably not a Christian convert, Claudian arrived in Rome before 395. He made his mark with a eulogy of his two young patrons, Probinus and Olybrius, thereby...

 (4th century AD), is closely connected with that of Orpheus
Orpheus
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who...

 and Eurydice
Eurydice
Eurydice in Greek mythology, was an oak nymph or one of the daughters of Apollo . She was the wife of Orpheus, who loved her dearly; on their wedding day, he played joyful songs as his bride danced through the meadow. One day, a satyr saw and pursued Eurydice, who stepped on a venomous snake,...

. In Virgil's writings; it is Proserpina, as Queen of Hades, who allows Orpheus to enter and bring back to life his wife Eurydice after she is killed by a venomous snake. Proserpina played her cetra
Cetra
Cetra Records was an Italian company which produced opera recordings from the 1930s onwards. Its roster of artists included Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Lina Pagliughi, Ebe Stignani, Carlo Bergonzi, Galliano Masini, Giovanni Malipiero, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Carlo Tagliabue, Rolando Panerai,...

 to quiet Cerberus
Cerberus
Cerberus , or Kerberos, in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed hound which guards the gates of the Underworld, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping...

, but Orpheus did not respect her order never to look back, and Eurydice was lost.

In artwork

Proserpina's figure inspired many art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

istic compositions, eminently in sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 (Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect...

, see The Rape of Proserpina (Bernini)
The Rape of Proserpina (Bernini)
The Rape of Proserpina is a large baroque marble sculptural group by Bernini executed between 1621 and 1622. Bernini was only 23 years old at its completion...

 ) in painting (D.G.Rossetti, Pomarancio, J.Heintz, P.P. Rubens, A.Durer, Dell'Abbate, M.Parrish) and in literature (Goethe's
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 Proserpina and Swinburne's
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He invented the roundel form, wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica...

 Hymn to Proserpine
Hymn to Proserpine
"Hymn to Proserpine" is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1866. The poem is addressed to the goddess Proserpina, the Roman equivalent of Persephone....

and The Garden of Proserpine
The Garden of Proserpine
The Garden of Proserpine is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, written in 1866.Proserpine is the Latin spelling of Persephone, married to Hades, god of the underworld. According to some accounts, she had a garden of ever blooming flowers in the underworld...

) The statue of the Rape of Prosepina by Pluto that stands in the Great Garden (more correctly, Großer Garten) of Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Germany is also referred to as "Time Ravages Beauty". Kate McGarrigle
Kate McGarrigle
Kate McGarrigle, CM was a Canadian folk music singer-songwriter, who wrote and performed as a duo with her sister Anna McGarrigle....

's song about the legend was one of the last things she wrote prior to her death, and received its only performance at her last concert at Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 in December 2009.

In astronomy

26 Proserpina
26 Proserpina
26 Proserpina is a main-belt asteroid.It was discovered by R. Luther on May 5, 1853.It is named after the Roman goddess Proserpina, the daughter of Ceres and the Queen of the Underworld.-References:...

  is a Main belt asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 95.1 kilometres (59.1 mi) in diameter, which was discovered by Robert Luther
Karl Theodor Robert Luther
Karl Theodor Robert Luther , normally published as Robert Luther, was a German astronomer who searched for asteroids while working in Düsseldorf....

 in 1853.

See also

  • Anthesphoria
    Anthesphoria
    Anthesphoria, in antiquity, was a flower-festival celebrated in Sicily, and to a lesser extent Peloponnesus, in honor of Proserpine ....

    , festival honoring Proserpina
  • Pluto (mythology)
    Pluto (mythology)
    In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...


Further reading

  • John Ruskin
    John Ruskin
    John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political...

     (1886). Proserpina: Studies of Wayside Flowers while the Air was Yet Pure among the Alps and in the Scotland and England Which My Father Knew.

External links

  • Claudian
    Claudian
    Claudian was a Roman poet, who worked for Emperor Honorius and the latter's general Stilicho.A Greek-speaking citizen of Alexandria and probably not a Christian convert, Claudian arrived in Rome before 395. He made his mark with a eulogy of his two young patrons, Probinus and Olybrius, thereby...

    , De raptu Proserpinae ("The Rape of Proserpine"), three books, in Latin and English, Bill Thayer's edition of the Loeb Classical Library
    Loeb Classical Library
    The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

     text at LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius is a website specializing in ancient Rome, currently hosted on a server at the University of Chicago. It went online on August 26, 1997; in January 2008 it had "2786 pages, 690 photos, 675 drawings & engravings, 118 plans, 66 maps." The site is the...

  • The Pomegranate Seeds adapted as a children's tale by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

    , in Tanglewood Tales
    Tanglewood Tales
    Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls is a book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a sequel to A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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