Classical Greek Mythology

The Greek Pantheon and the Olympians

What was Demeter’s role, and what happened to Persephone?

Persephone’s mother, Demeter, “Mother Earth,” was responsible for the earth’s fertility and was, therefore, like Hades, rarely on Mount Olympus. Distraught over the kidnapping of her daughter, Demeter allowed the earth to dry up in infertility. Zeus was not pleased by this and when Demeter demanded his help he sent Hermes to negotiate with Hades for the release of Persephone. Hades pointed out that Persephone—now his “wife”—had eaten of the fruit of the Underworld, making Hades her true home. She could return to her mother, but only for part of each year. Winter was the time of year when Persephone lived in the Underworld. During this time each year Demeter withdrew her fertility from the earth.


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