In Greek mythology, Ixion was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, a son of Ares, or Leonteus, or Antion and Perimele, or the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes "fiery". Peirithoös was his son. Ixion promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa; when Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of wood. These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder. Ixion went mad. Thereafter, Ixion was shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology; that alone would warrant him a terrible punishment. However, Zeus had pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him at the table of the gods. Instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera, Zeus's wife, a further violation of guest-host relations. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, which became known as Nephele and tricked Ixion into coupling with it.
From the union of Ixion and the false-Hera cloud came Imbros or Centauros, who mated with the Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion, Pindar told, engendering the race of Centaurs, who are called the Ixionidae from their descent. Ixion blasted with a thunderbolt. Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel, always spinning. Therefore, Ixion is bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, but in myth transferred to Tartarus. Only when Orpheus played his lyre during his trip to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did it stop for a while. "The details are odd, the narrative motivation creaks at every juncture," observes Robert L. Fowler, he notes that Martin Nilsson suggested an origin in rain-making magic, with which he concurs: "In Ixion's case the necessary warning about the conduct of magic has taken the form of blasphemous and dangerous conduct on the part of the first officiant." In the fifth century, Pindar's Second Pythian Ode expands on the example of Ixion, applicable to Hiero I of Syracuse, the tyrant of whom the poet sings.
Ixion was a figure known to the Etruscans, for he is depicted bound to the spoked wheel, engraved on the back of a bronze mirror, ca 460-450 BC, in the British Museum. Whether the Etruscans shared the Ixion figure with Hellenes from early times or whether Ixion figured among those Greek myths that were adapted at dates to fit the Etruscan world-view is unknown; the figure on the mirror-back is shown as winged, a characteristic shared with Etruscan daimones and Underworld figures rather than human heroes. In Chapter 22 of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Steerforth declares: "As to fitfulness, I have never learnt the art of binding myself to any of the wheels on which the Ixions of these days are turning round and round." In the Epilogue to Moby-Dick, the only surviving crewmember at the sinking of the Pequod, likens himself to "another Ixion." In Guillaume Apollinaire's poem Vendémiaire, "...open-air chimneys impregnate the clouds/As once did the mechanical Ixion" In Lord Byron's satiric poem Don Juan: Dedication, "Not a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze / From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil, / That turns and turns to give the world a notion / Of endless torments and perpetual motion."
In John Keats's epic poem Hyperion, the Goddess Thea's power is such that it can'sta Ixion's wheel'. Wanyūdō Sisyphus Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History translated by Charles Henry Oldfather. Twelve volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Vol. 3. Books 4.59–8. Online version at Bill Thayer's Web Site Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica. Vol 1-2. Immanel Bekker. Ludwig Dindorf. Friedrich Vogel. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1888-1890. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project. John Tzetzes, Book of Histories, Book IX-X translated by Jonathan Alexander from the original Greek of T. Kiessling's edition of 1826. Online version at theio.com Pindar, Odes translated by Diane Arnson Svarlien. 1990. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of the Gods translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
1905. Online version at theoi.com Luciani Samosatensis, Opera. Vol I. Karl Jacobitz. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1896. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Pindar, The Odes of Pindar including the Principal Fragments with an Introduction and an English Translation by Sir John Sandys, L
Tityos or Tityus was a giant from Greek mythology. Tityos was the son of Elara. Zeus hid Elara from Hera, by placing her deep beneath the earth. Tityos grew so large that he split his mother's womb, he was carried to term by Gaia, the Earth. Once grown, Tityos attempted to rape Leto at the behest of Hera, he was slain by Apollo. As punishment, he was stretched out in Tartarus and tortured by two vultures who fed on his liver, which grew back every night; this punishment is comparable to that of the Titan Prometheus. Jane Ellen Harrison noted that, "To the orthodox worshipper of the Olympians he was the vilest of criminals. In the early first century, when the geographer Strabo visited Panopeus, he was reminded by the local people that it was the abode of Tityos and recalled the fact that the Phaeacians had carried Rhadamanthys in their boats to visit Tityos, according to Homer. There on Euboea at the time of Strabo they were still showing a "cave called Elarion from Elara, mother to Tityos, a hero-shrine of Tityos, some kind of honours are mentioned which are paid him."
It is clear that the local hero-cult had been superseded by the cult of the Olympian gods, an Olympian father provided, the hero demonized. A comparable giant chthonic pre-Olympian of a Titan-like order is Orion; the poet Lucretius restyles the figure of Tityos in book III of De rerum natura, a demythologized Tityos, not in the underworld, eternally punished, but here and now, "the prototypical anguished lover", plagued by winged creatures that are not vultures, as E. J. Kenney cupids. Virgil responds to Lucretius with a retrospective simile of Tityos in the Aeneid, which compares his torment of desire with the unrest of Dido, whose flame of love is eating her marrow; the traveler Pausanias reports seeing a painting by Polygnotus at Delphi that depicts Tityos among other figures being tormented in Hades for sacrilege: "Tityos too is in the picture. Tityos is referenced in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, he is mentioned to be among the biblical and mythological giants that are frozen onto the rings outside of Hell's Circle of Treachery.
Dante and Virgil threatened to go to Tityos and Typhon if Antaeus doesn't lower them into the Circle of Treachery. The Tomb of Tityos is a location in Assassin's Creed Odyssey that features a large broken statue of Tityos being eaten by vultures. Harrison, Jane Ellen, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion 1922, p. 336f. Smith, William. "Ti'tyus" Tityos engraved by N. Beatrizet from the De Verda collection
In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person; some authors say that those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years. In the catabasis mytheme, heroes – such as Aeneas, Heracles, Odysseus, Pirithous, Psyche and Sisyphus – journey to the underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the boat of Charon. Charon is the son of Erebus, he was the brother of, among many others and Hypnos. The name Charon is most explained as a proper noun from χάρων, a poetic form of χαρωπός, "of keen gaze", referring either to fierce, flashing, or feverish eyes, or to eyes of a bluish-gray color; the word may be a euphemism for death. Flashing eyes may indicate the anger or irascibility of Charon as he is characterized in literature, but the etymology is not certain.
The ancient historian Diodorus Siculus thought that the ferryman and his name had been imported from Egypt. Charon is depicted in the art of ancient Greece. Attic funerary vases of the 5th and 4th centuries BC are decorated with scenes of the dead boarding Charon's boat. On the earlier such vases, he looks like a rough, unkempt Athenian seaman dressed in reddish-brown, holding his ferryman's pole in his right hand and using his left hand to receive the deceased. Hermes sometimes stands by in his role as psychopomp. On vases, Charon is given a more "kindly and refined" demeanor. In the 1st century BC, the Roman poet Virgil describes Charon, manning his rust-colored skiff, in the course of Aeneas's descent to the underworld, after the Cumaean Sibyl has directed the hero to the golden bough that will allow him to return to the world of the living: There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coast –A sordid god: down from his hairy chinA length of beard descends, unclean. Other Latin authors describe Charon, among them Seneca in his tragedy Hercules Furens, where Charon is described in verses 762–777 as an old man clad in foul garb, with haggard cheeks and an unkempt beard, a fierce ferryman who guides his craft with a long pole.
When the boatman tells Heracles to halt, the Greek hero uses his strength to gain passage, overpowering Charon with the boatman's own pole. In the second century, Lucian employed Charon as a figure in his Dialogues of the Dead, most notably in Parts 4 and 10. In the 14th century, Dante Alighieri described Charon in his Divine Comedy, drawing from Virgil's depiction in Aeneid 6. Charon is the first named mythological character Dante meets in the underworld, in Canto III of the Inferno. Dante depicts him as having eyes of fire. Elsewhere, Charon appears as a mean-spirited and gaunt old man or as a winged demon wielding a double hammer, although Michelangelo's interpretation, influenced by Dante's depiction in the Inferno, shows him with an oar over his shoulder, ready to beat those who delay. In modern times, he is depicted as a living skeleton in a cowl, much like the Grim Reaper; the French artist, Gustave Dore, depicted Charon in two of his illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. The Flemish painter, Joachim Patinir, depicted Charon in his Crossing the River Styx.
And the Spanish painter, Jose Benlliure y Gil, portrayed Charon in his La Barca de Caronte. Most accounts, including Pausanias and Dante's Inferno, associate Charon with the swamps of the river Acheron. Ancient Greek literary sources – such as Pindar, Euripides and Callimachus – place Charon on the Acheron. Roman poets, including Propertius and Statius, name the river as the Styx following the geography of Virgil's underworld in the Aeneid, where Charon is associated with both rivers. Charon, the largest moon of the dwarf planet Pluto, is named after him; the hadrosaurid Charonosaurus is named in Charon's honor because it was found along the banks of the Amur River in the Far East. "Haros" is the modern Greek equivalent of Charon, usage includes the curse "you will be eaten by Haros", or "I was in the teeth of Haros". During the Korean War, the Greek Expeditionary Force defended; the Greek soldiers referred to it as "Outpost Haros". Charon's obol - a coin placed in the mouth of the dead Charun - an Etruscan counterpart to Charon Isle of the Dead - a painting Manannán mac Lir - Ferryman from Irish mythology Manunggul Jar - Early depiction similar figure on burial jar from Tabon Caves on Palawan Phlegyas - another god associated with ferrying the dead Psychopomp - the general word for a guide of the dead Urshanabi - Ferryman from Mesopotamian mythology Smith, William.
"Charon" Media related to Charon at Wikimedia Commons The Theoi Project, "KHARON" Images of Charon in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database
In Greek mythology, Canace was a daughter of Aeolus and Enarete, lover of Poseidon. Her brothers were Athamas, Deioneus, Perieres and Sisyphus, her sisters were Alcyone, Calyce, Peisidice and Tanagra. With Poseidon, she was the mother of Aloeus, Hopleus and Triopas. In another, more famous version Canace was a lover not of Poseidon, but of her own brother Macareus; this tradition made them children of a different Aeolus, the lord of the winds, his wife Amphithea. Canace fell in love with Macareus and committed incest with him, which resulted in her getting pregnant. Macareus promised to marry Canace but never did; when their child was born, Canace's nurse tried to take the baby out of the palace in a basket, pretending to be carrying a sacrificial offering, but the baby cried out and revealed itself. Aeolus was outraged and compelled Canace to commit suicide as punishment, sending her a sword with which she was to stab herself, he exposed the newborn child to its death. This story was told by Latin poet Ovid in the Heroides, a selection of eighteen story-poems that pretend to be letters from mythological women to their lovers and ex-lovers.
The story is briefly referred to by Hyginus and retold by Pseudo-Plutarch, in whose account Macareus kills himself over the matter as well. It was the subject of Euripides' lost play Aeolus, on which the extant versions appear to be based. In the myth of Arachne, told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Arachne depicts Poseidon seducing Canace as a bull in her tapestry of the male gods and their various love affairs, her story was put to the stage in the verse tragedy Canace, by Italian playwright Sperone Speroni, as well as being the subject of a tale in Gower's Confessio Amantis. She gave her name to the heroine of Geoffrey Chaucer's Squire's Tale. Callimachus, Hymns translated by Alexander William Mair. London: William Heinemann. P. Putnam's Sons. 1921. Online version at the Topos Text Project. Callimachus, Works. A. W. Mair. London: William Heinemann. P. Putnam's Sons. 1921. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57.
London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project. Plutarch, Moralia with an English Translation by Frank Cole Babbitt. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1936. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website. Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F. B. A. F. R. S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website. Publius Ovidius Naso, The Epistles of Ovid. London. J. Nunn, Great-Queen-Street. 1813. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
In Greek mythology Sisyphus or Sisyphos was the king of Ephyra. He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean. Linguistics Professor R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a pre-Greek origin and a connection with the root of the word sophos. German mythographer Otto Gruppe thought that the name derived from sisys, in reference to a rain-charm in which goats' skins were used. Sisyphus was the son of the brother of Salmoneus, he married the Pleiad Merope by whom he became the father of Glaucus, Thersander and Porphyrion. Sisyphus was the grandfather of Bellerophon through Glaucus, Minyas, founder of Orchomenus, through Almus. Sisyphus was the founder and first king of Ephyra. King Sisyphus was avaricious and deceitful, he killed travellers and guests, a violation of xenia, which fell under Zeus's domain.
He took pleasure in these killings. Sisyphus and his brother Salmoneus were known to hate each other, Sisyphus consulted with the Oracle of Delphi on just how to kill Salmoneus without incurring any severe consequences for himself. From Homer onward, Sisyphus was famed as the craftiest of men, he seduced Salmoneus's daughter Tyro in one of his plots to kill Salmoneus, only for Tyro to slay the children she bore him when she discovered that Sisyphus was planning on using them to dethrone her father. King Sisyphus betrayed one of Zeus's secrets by revealing the whereabouts of Aegina, to her father in return for causing a spring to flow on the Corinthian acropolis. Zeus ordered Death to chain King Sisyphus down below in Tartarus. Sisyphus was curious as to why Hermes, whose job it was to guide souls to the Underworld, had not appeared on this occasion. King Sisyphus slyly asked Thanatos to demonstrate; as Thanatos was granting him his wish, Sisyphus seized the opportunity and trapped Thanatos in the chains instead.
Once Thanatos was bound by the strong chains, no one died on earth. This caused an uproar for Ares, so he intervened; the exasperated Ares turned King Sisyphus over to Thanatos. In another version, Hades was chained himself; as long as Hades was tied up, nobody could die. Because of this, sacrifices could not be made to the gods, those that were old and sick were suffering; the gods threatened to make life so miserable for Sisyphus that he would wish he were dead. He had no choice but to release Hades. Before King Sisyphus died, he had told his wife to throw his naked body into the middle of the public square; this caused King Sisyphus to end up on the shores of the river Styx. Complaining to Persephone, goddess of the Underworld, that this was a sign of his wife's disrespect for him, King Sisyphus persuaded her to allow him to return to the upper world. Once back in Ephyra, the spirit of King Sisyphus scolded his wife for not burying his body and giving it a proper funeral; when King Sisyphus refused to return to the Underworld, he was forcibly dragged back there by Hermes.
In another version of the myth, Persephone was tricked by Sisyphus that he had been conducted to Tartarus by mistake, so she ordered that he be released. In Philoctetes by Sophocles, there is a reference to the father of Odysseus upon having returned from the dead; as a punishment for his trickery, King Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder endlessly up a steep hill. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself. Zeus accordingly displayed his own cleverness by enchanting the boulder into rolling away from King Sisyphus before he reached the top, which ended up consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration, thus it came to pass that interminable activities are sometimes described as Sisyphean. King Sisyphus was a common subject for ancient writers and was depicted by the painter Polygnotus on the walls of the Lesche at Delphi. According to the solar theory, King Sisyphus is the disk of the sun that rises every day in the east and sinks into the west.
Other scholars regard him as a personification of waves rising and falling, or of the treacherous sea. The 1st-century BC Epicurean philosopher Lucretius interprets the myth of Sisyphus as personifying politicians aspiring for political office who are defeated, with the quest for power, in itself an "empty thing", being likened to rolling the boulder up the hill. Friedrich Welcker suggested that he symbolises the vain struggle of man in the pursuit of knowledge, Salomon Reinach that his punishment is based on a picture in which Sisyphus was represented rolling a huge stone Acrocorinthus, symbolic of the labour and skill involved in the building of the Sisypheum. Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, saw Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life, but Camus concludes "one must imagine Sisyphus happy" as "The struggle itself t
Theseus was the mythical king and founder-hero of Athens. Like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, Theseus battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order: “This was a major cultural transition, like the making of the new Olympia by Hercules”. Theseus was a founding hero for the Athenians in the same way that Heracles was the founding hero for the Dorians; the Athenians regarded Theseus as a great reformer. The myths surrounding Theseus – his journeys and friends – have provided material for fiction throughout the ages. Theseus was responsible for the synoikismos – the political unification of Attica under Athens – represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts; because he was the unifying king, Theseus built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis that may have been similar to the palace, excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos and Peitho on the southern slope of the Acropolis.
Plutarch's Life of Theseus makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus' escape, the love of Ariadne for Theseus. Plutarch's sources, not all of whose texts have survived independently, included Pherecydes, Demon and Cleidemus; as the subject of myth, the existence of Theseus as a real person has not been proven, but scholars believe that he may have been alive during the Late Bronze Age as a king in the 8th or 9th century BC. Aegeus, one of the primordial kings of Athens, was childless. Desiring an heir, he asked the Oracle of Delphi for advice, her cryptic words were "Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief." Aegeus was disappointed. He asked the advice of king of Troezen. Pittheus understood the prophecy, got Aegeus drunk, gave Aegeus his daughter Aethra, but following the instructions of Athena in a dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus and waded across to the island of Sphairia that lay close to Troezen's shore.
There she poured a libation to Sphairos and Poseidon, was possessed by the sea god in the night. The mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as mortal characteristics in his nature. After Aethra became pregnant, Aegeus decided to return to Athens. Before leaving, however, he buried his sandals and sword under a huge rock and told Aethra that when their son grew up, he should move the rock, if he were heroic enough, take the tokens for himself as evidence of his royal parentage. In Athens, Aegeus was joined by Medea, who had left Corinth after slaughtering the children she had borne, had taken Aegeus as her new consort. Priestess and consort together represented the old order in Athens, thus Theseus was raised in his mother's land. When Theseus grew up and became a brave young man, he moved the rock and recovered his father's tokens, his mother told him the truth about his father's identity and that he must take the sword and sandals back to king Aegeus to claim his birthright. To journey to Athens, Theseus could choose to go by sea or by land, following a dangerous path around the Saronic Gulf, where he would encounter a string of six entrances to the Underworld, each guarded by a chthonic enemy.
Young and ambitious, Theseus decided to go alone by the land route and defeated a great many bandits along the way. At the first site, Epidaurus, sacred to Apollo and the healer Asclepius, Theseus turned the tables on the chthonic bandit, the Club Bearer, who beat his opponents into the Earth, taking from him the stout staff that identifies Theseus in vase-paintings. At the Isthmian entrance to the Underworld was a robber named Sinis called "Pityokamptes", he would capture travellers, tie them between two pine trees that were bent down to the ground, let the trees go, tearing his victims apart. Theseus killed him by his own method, he became intimate with Sinis's daughter, fathering the child Melanippus. In another deed north of the Isthmus, at a place called Crommyon, he killed an enormous pig, the Crommyonian Sow, bred by an old crone named Phaea; some versions name the sow herself as Phaea. The Bibliotheca by Pseudo-Apollodorus described the Crommyonian Sow as an offspring of Typhon and Echidna.
Near Megara, an elderly robber named Sciron forced travellers along the narrow cliff-face pathway to wash his feet. While they knelt, he kicked them off the cliff behind them. Theseus pushed him off the cliff. Another of these enemies was Cercyon, king at the holy site of Eleusis, who challenged passers-by to a wrestling match and, when he had beaten them, killed them. Theseus beat Cercyon at wrestling and killed him instead; the last bandit was Procrustes the Stretcher, who had two beds, one of which he offered to passers-by in the plain of Eleusis. He made them fit into it, either by stretching them or by cutting off their feet. Since he had two beds of different lengths, no one would fit. Theseus turned the tables on Procrustes, decapitating him with his own axe; when Theseus arrived at Athens, he did not reveal his true identity immediately. Aegeus gave him
In Greek mythology, Persephone called Kore, is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead, she becomes the queen of the underworld through her abduction by and subsequent marriage to Hades, the god of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis and Osiris, in Minoan Crete. Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. In some versions, Persephone is the mother of Zeus' sons Iacchus, or Zagreus; the origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. Persephone was worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries.
To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed carrying a sheaf of grain, she may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was represented in the process of being carried off by Hades. In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina. In a Linear B Mycenaean Greek inscription on a tablet found at Pylos dated 1400–1200 BC, John Chadwick reconstructed the name of a goddess, *Preswa who could be identified with Persa, daughter of Oceanus and found speculative the further identification with the first element of Persephone. Persephonē is her name in the Ionic Greek of epic literature; the Homeric form of her name is Persephoneia. In other dialects, she was known under variant names: Persephassa, Persephatta, or Korē. Plato calls her Pherepapha in his Cratylus, "because she is wise and touches that, in motion". There are the forms Periphona and Phersephassa; the existence of so many different forms shows how difficult it was for the Greeks to pronounce the word in their own language and suggests that the name may have a Pre-Greek origin.
Persephatta is considered to mean "female thresher of grain". A popular folk etymology is from φέρειν φόνον, pherein phonon, "to bring death"; the Romans first heard of her from the Aeolian and Dorian cities of Magna Graecia, who used the dialectal variant Proserpinē. Hence, in Roman mythology she was called Proserpina, a name erroneously derived by the Romans from proserpere, "to shoot forth" and as such became an emblematic figure of the Renaissance. At Locri uniquely, Persephone was the protector of marriage, a role assumed by Hera. In a Classical period text ascribed to Empedocles, c. 490–430 BC, describing a correspondence among four deities and the classical elements, the name Nestis for water refers to Persephone: "Now hear the fourfold roots of everything: enlivening Hera, shining Zeus. And Nestis, moistening mortal springs with tears."Of the four deities of Empedocles' elements, it is the name of Persephone alone, taboo—Nestis is a euphemistic cult title—for she was the terrible Queen of the Dead, whose name was not safe to speak aloud, euphemistically named as Kore or "the Maiden", a vestige of her archaic role as the deity ruling the underworld.
The epithets of Persephone reveal her double function as vegetation goddess. The surnames given to her by the poets refer to her character as Queen of the lower world and the dead, or her symbolic meaning of the power that shoots forth and withdraws into the earth, her common name as a vegetation goddess is Kore, in Arcadia she was worshipped under the title Despoina, "the mistress", a old chthonic divinity. Plutarch identifies her with spring and Cicero calls her the seed of the fruits of the fields. In the Eleusinian mysteries, her return is the symbol of immortality and hence she was represented on sarcophagi. In the mystical theories of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything, she is therefore mentioned along or identified with other mystic divinities such as Isis, Rhea, Ge, Pandora and Hecate; the Orphic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus and the little-attested Melinoe.
As a goddess of the underworld, Persephone was given euphemistically friendly names. However it is possible that some of them were the names of original goddesses: Despoina "the mistress" in Arcadia. Hagne, "pure" a goddess of the springs in Messenia. Melindia or Melinoia, as the consort of Hades, in Hermione. Melivia Melitodes Aristi cthonia, "the best chthonic". Praxidike, the Orphic Hymn to Persephone identifies Praxidike as an epithet