Humans are scared of what they don?t understand, and so in a way to try and understand the world around them, humans made up gods. Gods are a simple way of answering any question, and humans all throughout history have made up gods and/or supreme beings such as the Greeks did.
The ancient Greeks developed a religion and beliefs about the world that we now call Greek Mythology. Mythology is a body of myths for a particular culture, and the study and interpretations of such myths. Myths though can be defined as a narrative that through many retellings has become an accepted tradition in a society. By this mythology may include all traditional tales, such as creation of the world and about the gods that rule the world.
One such god was Persephone the queen of the under world, married to Hades the god of the under world. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter (god of agriculture) and Zeus (the king God). She is a very beautiful young girl with pale white skin and blond hair. She is so beautiful that many of the gods wished to have her as their wife. She does not smile much though and is very sorrowful when she is in the underworld with her husband, but she is very happy and joyful when she is on earth with her loving mother Demeter.
Demeter loved Persephone so dearly that she always had her at her side, and whenever Demeter visited the earth Persephone would follow. She would go about the fields dancing and wherever her light feet touched the ground flowers would emerge. Hades, though, soon noticed her and fell in love with her immediately. He knew though that Demeter would never allow it because she would not be able to bare to part with her dear daughter. Hades though found another way to get her as her wife. He planned to abduct her one-day when she was about dancing and singing.
When that day came, Persephone had drifted away from her mother when all of a sudden a great chasm opened up in the ground, out came Hades on a chariot with four great black stallions. He grabbed the terrified girl and pulled her back under with him through the hole in the ground. They were followed by a herd of pigs that belonged to a little swineherd who wept over the lose of his pigs, after the great chasm swallowed them and closed just as suddenly as it had opened.
Hades raced back down into his dark cold palace were he seated the weeping girl on a throne of black marble. He offered her a substantial amount of crowns and jewels, but the wealth brought her no happiness she wanted to be up on the earth?s surface with the sunshine and flowers.
Around Hades? palace grew several gardens that were home to whispering poplars and weeping willows. There were no flowers and no birds to sing in the branches. There was one tree though that bore fruit. It was a little pomegranate tree. The caretaker of the garden offered the tempting pomegranates to the queen, but she declined. For she could never eat the food of the dead.
Back on earth Demeter was searching franticly for her daughter, and as she grieved so did the land. The flowers all wilted and died, the trees became naked, and all the fields were covered in a pale white snow, and as long as the goddess of agriculture wept so would the land. Nothing could sprout or grow in the new cold barren lands. The people were starving as the land suffered, and the gods begged her to let the land grow but she refused until she found her daughter.
In grief Demeter went to the field were she lost her daughter. There she found a small youth named Triptolemus. He told her how his brother was there that day and he lost a herd of pigs that fell into a great break in the ground and how he also heard a girl?s scream from within it.
With this new knowledge Demeter now understood what happened that day. She was now angry. She called to Zeus and told him what had happened and vowed that she would not lift the snow from the ground unless he made Hades return Persephone to her. Because Zeus could not let the world perish he was forced into sending Hermes (the messenger god) down to Hades and to tell him of Zeus?s bidding. Because Zeus was the king god he had no other choice but to let his queen go.
As soon as Persephone heard of the news she leaped to her feet and started for the surface with Hermese. As they were leaving though the gardener pointed out to Hades that lost in joy Persephone had eaten the pomegranate. Hades grinned. He knew that his bride had to return because no one who ate the food of the dead was permitted to leave his palace.
As soon as Demeter saw her daughter she leaped to her feet and with all her joy the earth returned to its warm green environment. Flowers bloomed, the trees were full of great green leaves, and the birds sang in the wind.
But because of the fruit that Persephone ate she could not stay on the surface. Zeus though could not allow the earth to return to the state that it has been in. So he ruled that she must return to Hades for as many months as the number of fruit she had eaten. This meant that she had to return to Hades for three months every year.
Every year when Demeter’s daughter returns to her husband Demeter grieves and the world becomes winter, but when she is again reunited with her the world returns to summer.
Mythology was a major part of the Greek culture and for many other cultures. Myths are still around today. Ancient mythology is not practiced anymore. The beliefs are still taught throughout the world today, and this paper proves that.
Larousse. World Mythology. New York: O.G.A.M Publishing, 1965.
?Encyclopedia Britanica Online?, http://www.search.eb.com, Thursday, Nov. 4, 1999
?Greek Mythology Links?, http://www.hsa.brown.edu/maicar/, Thursday, Nov. 4, 1999
?The Gods of Greek Mythology?, http://vickib.simplenet.com/gods/gods.htm, Thursday, Nov. 4, 1999
?Persephone? http://www.messagenet.com/myths/bios/persephone.html Friday, Nov. 5, 1999