The story of Hades and Persephone is one of the most popular and famous romance found in the Greek Mythology. But over the years there seems to be a handful of variations in the story.
Occasionally Hades left the underworld. He left his shrine and he ventured upon the ground. One fine day during his venture he met Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.
Hades instantly fell in love with the dazzling and magnificent beauty of Persephone. Zeus had previously promised Hades the choice of any of his daughters, for the hand of marriage.
Demeter, Zeus’s wife would not abide by this request. She didn’t want her daughter to marry the King of the Underworld.
Hades was heartbroken by the idea of not being able to be with Persephone. The two brothers Hades and Zeus, hereafter came up with a plan which would allow Hades to make Persephone his wife.
The next morning Demeter and her daughter descended upon the earth. Persephone was left alone with the Nymph of the Sea. She was left with the nymphs to guide her and watch upon her while Demeter tended to the earth.
Demeter knew that the Nymphs would not let Persephone wonder alone as they feared her wrath. But Zeus had a plan of his own.
He had planted a Narcissus flower in the nearby garden. Wondering in the garden alone, Persephone came upon the flower.
She was immediately drawn towards the flowers beauty. She stooped down to pick up the flower. Suddenly she found the earth beneath her began to quake.
The gaping chasm soon appeared. From that chasm emerged Hades along with his chariot of black horses.
Before she could scream for help, he grabbed Persephone. The nymphs were left wondering where Persephone had gone. One of the nymph named Sion had seen the abduction.
She tried her best to rescue Persephone from the clutches of Hades but she was of no match for him. Seeing Persephone being taken forcefully to the underworld, she began to cry.
She cried until she melted into a pool out of her own tears which formed the river Sion.
When Demeter returned her daughter was nowhere to be found. When she asked the nymphs where her daughter had disappeared they had no answer.
Demeter was furious and her wrath could be seen. She cursed the nymphs with plumped bodily scaly feet and wings. These nymphs would be now called Siren.
When Sion washed off the bells of Persephone , she knew something terrible had happened to her daughter.
Demeter was driven mad at her daughter’s disappearance. Neglecting her duty as the Goddess of harvest and fertility, she was looking for her daughter on earth, day and night.
The earth slowing started to dry and harvest began to fail. The plants started withering and animals died.
The lack of food spread famine across the earth. Because of Demeter’s ignorance people were suffering. The cries of the ones suffering could even be heard on Mount Olympus.
Zeus then realized that if he can’t stop Demeter’s wrath, humanity would disappear. He promised his wife that he would bring Persephone back. He would bring her back is he found her being kept in the underworld without her own will.
In the underworld Hades had a beautiful garden built only for Persephone. She was always treated with respect and compassion.
She soon started seeing the side of Hades that no one else had seen before and soon she began to fall in love with him.
Hades had heard what Zeus proposed and readied his chariot to return Persephone.
He was troubled that Persephone would not return back to him as now she has a choice to choose. He bid her farewell with one last gift, a pomegranate.
In Greek Mythology, it was believed that if one ate the food given by the captor, they would always return to that person. When Zeus and Demeter confronted her she told she wished to return to the underworld.
Demeter was furious with her response. She became convinced that Hades had somehow tricked their daughter.
After some heavy arguments, she told her daughter that if she didn’t return back to them she would never again make the earth fertile. So a plan had to be made. According to Zeus, Persephone would spend a portion of a year with them on Mount Olympus while the other portion with Hades.
The portion of time spent in either varies according to many depictions.
In some depiction, Persephone spent a third of the year in underworld and the rest on Mount Olympus. Other stories say that as Persephone ate six seeds of pomegranate she would then spent six months with Hades and rest of the year with Demeter.
Since Zeus had made the arrangement, they had to agree with the decision even if they weren’t actually pleased.
The seasons of the year can also be explained by this story. During the six months when she was away from her mother, the land wasn’t fertile. The crops died as due to sadness of Demeter neglecting her duties.
These six months became autumn and winter for her. When Persephone was united with her mother, the land became fruitful and fertile. These months were considered spring and summer.
This created the cycle of the seasons. This is the death and rebirth of nature.
The story of Persephone and Hades has created a divide in people for years. Some consider Hades to be a villain as he took Persephone against her will and forcing her to live with him.
Others believe that Hades was just a misunderstood character. Even though he was cold in nature before, once he saw Persephone he began to change and over time she actually began to fall in love with him.