2 What’s in a Name? Roman Name: Proserpina Greek Name: Persephone From proserpere meaning “to emerge”Proserpina is a type of pomegranateMoth: Carcinopyga ProserpinaFather: JoveMother: Ceres (the goddess of good harvest)
3 How it began…TYPHOEUS was a monstrous, serpentine giant that battled Jove for possession of the heavens.He fell from the sky and on his body was piled the island of Sicily. He struggled causing earthquakes, and spewed ashes and flame.PLUTO, god of the underworld came to make sure that the ground would not open up and shed light on the underworld after all the pounding from Typhoeus.
4 Cupid shoots the arrow and pierces Pluto’s heart. Venus sees Pluto and tells her son Cupid to shoot him with an arrow so that she (love) can be the ruler of all the universe.“You rule the others, even great Jove, you rule the great sea-gods…Why should Hell alone hold out against us?”She tells Cupid to join Proserpina and Pluto who is Jove’s brother, and thus, Proserpina’s uncle.Cupid shoots the arrow and pierces Pluto’s heart.
5 A De-flowering occurs… Virginal Proserpina was picking flowers with her friends by the pool, Pergus. Her basket was full because she was eager to not let her friends beat her.Pluto saw her and rushed toward her and raped her.The flowers fell from the basket and Prosperina was just as concerned with losing the flowers as she was with being raped.Prosperina gets de-flowered?
8 Pluto took Prosperina and began his journey back to the underworld. Through the deep lakesThrough the boiling Palician poolsBeyond the city of the Corinthian menThere was a bay between the waters of Arethusa and Cyane.Cyane, the most famous of all Sicilian nymphs, rose from the water and tried to stop Pluto, but Pluto opened the pool to its deepest depths and plunged down to Hell.“No further shall you go! Proserpina should have been asked, not taken.”Cyane mourned for both Prosperina and the new crater formed by Pluto. She mourned until she turned into water.
11 Ceres Looks for Her Daughter Ceres looked everywhere for her daughter.She stopped at a cottage where she was given water with barley by an old woman. A country boy mocked her while she drank. Ceres became angry and threw the drink on the boy. “And his face was spotted, the, and his arms were legs, and he grew a tail and shrank, a harmless creature, like a lizard, only smaller. The old woman…tried to touch him, but he was gone through a chink in the rocks. His names suits his performance, Stellio, The Spot-marked; Some people call him NEWT.Ceres continued to search and came back to Sicily where she went to the pool of Cyane but Cyane could not speak. She could only offer evidence—Proserpina’s girdle.
12 Arethusa rose from the Elean pool to beg for Ceres’ mercy. Ceres began to realize the fate of Proserpina and blamed Sicily because that is where she found evidence of her loss. She cursed the land, making everything dry and barren.Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert at every step.Arethusa rose from the Elean pool to beg for Ceres’ mercy.“O mother of the girl sought over the whole wide world, O mother of fruit and harvest, cease the endless labor. Do not be angry at the loyal earth. It has kept the faith, it is innocent, it opened unwillingly to that ravishment.”Arethusa told Ceres that she saw Proserpina in the underworld and that she was the queen.Arethusa was a nymph that took no pleasure in her beauty. After hunting one day, she bathes in a pool. She hears the murmuring of Alpheus who calls: “Where are you going in such a hurry Arethusa?” She tried to run away and begged Diana to help her. Diana cast a cloud of mist around her. Alpheus would not leave and Arethusa, being nervous began to sweat, leaving pools wherever she stood. She was changed into a pool and Alpheus became a river again to join her. Diana broke the earth and let Arethusa sink to the depths to find a new home. On her journey, she sees Proserpina.
13 Ceres begs Jove to bring Proserpina back. Jove said that Pluto did it out of love but he will bring Proserpina back on one condition.SHE MUST, IN THE WORLD BELOW, HAVE EATEN NOTHING, TASTED NO FOOD—SO HAVE THE FATES ENACTED.BUT, Prosperina ate seven (six) seeds from the pomegranate and Ascalaphus tattled so that Proserpina could not return.Proserpina, in her anger, turned him into a screech owl.
14 A Story for the Birds?Speaking of birds, the girls who were with Proserpina when Pluto kidnapped her were turned into beautiful golden birds with human voices. They chose to be birds so they could search the sea for their dear friend.
15 A Deal…Jove allows for Proserpina to come back to the upper-world for part of the year.Ceres is happy with the deal.This is the reason for Springtime: when Proserpina comes back to her mother, Ceres decorates the Earth with welcoming flowers, but when in autumn she has to go back to Hades, nature loses any color.
16 Others say…Pluto obeyed, but before letting her go, he made her eat six pomegranate seeds (a symbol of fidelity in marriage) so she would have to live six months of each year with him, and stay the rest with her mother.In another version of the story, some people believe that upon her abduction, Proserpina ate only four pomegranate seeds, and she did so of her own accord. When Jove ordered her return, Pluto struck a deal with Jove, saying that since she had stolen his pomegranate seeds, she must stay with him four months of the year in return.