Proserpina

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Proserpina (sometimes spelt Proserpine, Prosperine or Prosperina) is an ancient Roman goddess whose story is the basis of a myth of Springtime. Her Greek goddess' equivalent is Persephone[1]. The probable origin of her name comes from the Latin, "proserpere" or "to emerge," in respect to the growing of grain. Proserpina was subsumed by the cult of Libera[2], an ancient fertility goddess, wife of Liber and is also considered a life–death–rebirth deity.

She was the daughter of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and crops[3] and Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder.

Contents

Myths

Myth of Springtime

Venus, in order to bring love to Pluto, sent her son Amor also known as Cupid to hit Pluto with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in Sicily, at the Pergusa Lake near Enna, where she was playing with some nymphs and collecting flowers, when Pluto came out from the volcano Etna with four black horses named Orphnaeus, Aethon, Nycteus and Alastor[4]. He abducted her in order to marry her and live with her in the underworld of which he was the ruler. Notably, Pluto was also her uncle, being Jupiter's (and Ceres's) brother. She is therefore Queen of the Underworld.

Her mother Ceres, the goddess of agriculture or of the Earth, went looking for her in vain to every corner of the earth, but wasn't able to find anything but a small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of the nymphs). In her desperation Ceres angrily stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables, bestowing a malediction on Sicily. Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert at every step.

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