Hades and Persephone

For today’s post I will be writing about the story of Hades and Persphone.    The focus will be on the two as the most functional and truly loving marriage in Greek mythology!   Hades and Persephone even factor into other love stories within Greek myths.

The story of the marriage of Hades and Persephone is one that is very well known.   Hades was the God of the Underworld and the King of the Dead.    One day he saw Persephone and was entranced by the beauty of the Goddess of the Spring.    He went to Zeus and asked for her hand in marriage, and was given it.     This is where the classic image of Hades abducting Persephone into the Underworld!

She is taken while picking the asphodel flower that entranced her with its beauty.   The world literally opened up beneath her, and Hades appeared on his chariot.   He grabbed her and took her down into his domain.    When they arrived there Hades gave her free reign over the Underworld, and gave her the respect she truly deserved as his wife and chosen Queen!

This image of Hades as a loving and devoted husband is in stark contrast to Zeus and his marriage to Hera.   While the beginning of Hades and Persephone’s marriage began with an abduction (or sometimes termed rape, but this is an old use of the term where it simply means “to abduct”) it soon turned into a true love match.    There are even variants on the tale where Persephone was in love with Hades prior to this, or at least chose to go with him willingly into the Underworld in order to assert her own personal sovereignty!    Hades showed his devotion to Persephone from the very beginning of their union.    They are also portrayed as the only union in Greek mythology to be not have extra marital affairs.

There are certain versions that may imply Persephone’s love for Adonis is sexual.   Most of the time this love is more a case of being enamored with beauty than it is a truly sexual feeling at all.    Persephone proves herself to be truly devoted to Hades just as he is in return.    Her jealousy over even the idea that someone else is interested in him is shown in how she reacts to Minthe!    Minthe was the only other figure, a nymph, that we know Hades had been tied to romantically (well before Persephone).    Persephone hated Minthe for this reason, and looked at her with jealous ire!   Similarly Hades could not stand the idea of Persephone being with anyone other than himself.

Their marriage was a true partnership, with a division of labor.   It is common knowledge that they had to spend part of the year apart due to Zeus’s decree to appease Demeter stated that she would split her year between her mother and husband!    This could not have been easy on her to not be able to be with her husband for an extended period of time.   However, it is known that they loved one another and functioned in a strong way no matter how much time they could spend together!

The final thing I want to talk about is that Hades and Persephone figure in two other love stories.    They appear in Orpheus and Eurydice as the wounded lover when he got to the Underworld.    They give Orpheus permission to take Eurydice back with him, and although he failed to live up to his bargain, this showed how much Hades valued Persephone’s opinion.    She was the one that convinced Hades to let Eurydice return to the land of the living.   The second romantic myth that features the King and Queen is Eros and Psyche.    Psyche had to go down to the Underworld to fetch a box containing some of Persephone’s beauty for Aphrodite.    This is a test Psyche failed at, but it did help Eros forgive her and served to reunite the lovers, and get Psyche her immortality.

I hope you have enjoyed this post about the most loving couple in Greek mythology.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Hades and Persephone.   I found the image on https://www.deviantart.com/irenhorrors/art/Hades-and-Persephone-847416559.

Further Reading

  • Hades and Persephone: Curse of the Golden Arrow by Heidi Hastings
  • Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
  • Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
  • Punderworld by Linda Sejic