Pandora’s stories: Hades

Hades and Persephone

Hades and Persephone

Being king of all the dead is both limitless and limiting, as the shade of Homer’s Achilles reminds Odysseus:

I would rather work the soil as a serf on hire to some landless impoverished peasant than be king of all these lifeless dead…

Hades had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia and Hera. His wife and queen, Persephone, daughter of his sister Demeter, was abducted by Hades whilst picking flowers in the fields of Nysa. All she had to eat were some pomegranate seeds. Demeter protested, and caused a famine. She insisted that the earth (and humans) would perish unless she saw her daughter again. Zeus therefore sent Hermes to Hades with a request to return Persephone, though he offered a deal. For each pomegranate seed Persephone had eaten, she would spend a month of each year with Hades. The remaining time she would spend on earth. Hades (and perhaps Persephone too) agreed. So came about the seasons: spring and summer when Persephone returns to earth, autumn and winter when she joins her husband Hades.

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