Proserpina (/proʊˈsɜːrpɪnə/ proh-SUR-pin-ə, Latin: [proːˈsɛrpɪna]) or Proserpine (/proʊˈsɜːrpɪni, ˈprɒsərpaɪn/ proh-SUR-pin-ee, PROSS-ər-pyne is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were combined from those of Libera, an early Roman goddess of wine. In Greek she is known as Persephone and her mother is Demeter, goddesses of grain and agriculture. The originally Roman goddess Libera was daughter of the agricultural goddess Ceres and wife to Liber, god of wine and freedom. In 204 BC, a new "Greek-style" cult to Ceres and Proserpina as "Mother and Maiden" was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, and was installed in Libera and Ceres' temple on Rome's Aventine Hill. The new cult and its priesthood were actively promoted by Rome's religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, and may have partly subsumed the temple's older, native cult to Ceres, Liber and Libera; but the new rites seem to have functioned alongside the old, rather than replaced them.
Just as Persephone was thought to be a daughter of Demeter, Romans made Proserpina a daughter of Demeter's Roman equivalent, Ceres. Like Persephone, Proserpina is associated with the underworld realm and its ruler; and along with her mother Ceres, with the springtime growth of crops and the cycle of life, death and rebirth or renewal. Her name is a Latinisation of "Persephone", perhaps influenced by the Latin proserpere ("to emerge, to creep forth"), with respect to the growing of grain. Her core myths – her forcible abduction by the god of the underworld, her mother's search for her and her eventual but temporary restoration to the world above – are the subject of works in Roman and later art and literature. In particular, Proserpina's seizure by the god of the Underworld – usually described as the Rape of Proserpina, or of Persephone – has offered dramatic subject matter for Renaissance and later sculptors and painters.
In Greek mythology, Persephone (/pərˈsɛfəniː/ pər-SEF-ə-nee; Greek: Περσεφόνη, romanized: Persephónē), also called Kore or Kora (/ˈkɔːriː/ KOR-ee; Greek: Κόρη, romanized: Kórē, lit. 'the maiden'), is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She became the queen of the underworld after her abduction by Hades, the god of the underworld, with the approval of her father, Zeus.The myth of her abduction and return to the surface represents her functions as the embodiment of spring and the personification of vegetation, which sprouts from the earth in spring and disappears into the earth after harvest. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades.
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. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on ancient agrarian cults of agricultural communities. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion.
Her name has numerous historical variants. These include Persephassa (Περσεφάσσα) and Persephatta (Περσεφάττα). In Latin, her name is rendered Proserpina. She was identified by the Romans as the Italic goddess Libera, who was conflated with Prosperina. Myths similar to Persephone's descent and return to earth also appear in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter (/dɪˈmiːtər/; Attic: Δημήτηρ Dēmḗtēr [dɛːmɛ́ːtɛːr]; Doric: Δαμάτηρ Dāmā́tēr) is the Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over grains and the fertility of the earth. She was also called Deo (Δηώ).. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), "she of the Grain", as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; φόρος, phoros: bringer, bearer), "giver of customs" and/or "legislator", in association with the secret female-only festival called the Thesmophoria.
Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a religious tradition that predated the Olympian pantheon, and which may have its roots in the Mycenaean period c. 1400–1200 BC. Demeter was often considered to be the same figure as the Anatolian goddess Cybele, and she was identified with the Roman goddess Ceres.