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The Ancient Greeks (Myths of the World) by…
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The Ancient Greeks (Myths of the World)

by Virginia Schomp

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Demeter and Persephone, by Virginia Schomp, is another classical tale. Demeter is a goddess of fertility and the hearth, and Persephone is her daughter. Hades, god of the Underworld, falls in love with Persephone, and askes his brother, Zeus, if he may marry her. Zeus covers a meadow with flowers, and it beckons Persephone away from her mother. Suddenly, the earth opens up, and Hades grabs her. Demeter hears the cries of her daughter, and runs to her aid, but she is too late. She wanders day and night, looking for her lost daughter. Helios, god of the sun, tells her what has happened. She is broken hearted, and goes to live among mortals, disguised as an old beggar woman.
She is found by the daughters of good King Celeus and Queen Metaneria. The daughters bring her to the queen, who offers her the best chair and the best wine. She knows that it must be someone of import disguised. Demeter refuses, and takes only a stool and barley water.
Demeter stays in the palace and turns the young prince, Demophoon, into a god by burning off his mortal parts in the hearth. The queen finds out and rages at her, and Demeter, angered, demands that the people build her a temple. She stays in the temple, mourning her daughter. Now, none of the crops will grow, and the humans are starving. Zeus saw this, and tries to reason with Demeter, but she refuses. Zeus sends Hermes to tell Hades to let the girl go. Hades does so, but not without giving the girl a pomegranate. She cannot go back to the mortal world after she has eaten the food of the Underworld. Zeus fixes everything by having Persephone divide her time between the mortal world and the Underworld.
This is a Greek story that is meant to explain the seasons. Spring and summer are when Persephone is with Demeter, and winter and autumn are when she must again go back to her husband.
It is a great story, and must have helped the Greeks make sense of their world. I like Greek and Roman myths because they do seek to explain nature. However, some versions call it “The Rape of Persephone” which it was. This is not necessarily a good story for anyone, especially not a man in the market for a wife. Yet, it worked for the Greeks, as their gods were very like humans, full of human emotion and frailty.
  Purr4kitty2003 | Jul 24, 2010 |
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Please don't combine with the other The Ancient Greeks by Virginia Schomp. They're two entirely different works and in different series.
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"A retelling of several key ancient Greek myths, with background information describing the history, geography, belief systems, and customs of the ancient Greeks"--Provided by publisher.

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