Persephone and Hades Children (A look back)

In this article, we will look into the children of the famous Greek mythology characters Persephone and Hades, and the wonders and mysteries of the god and goddesses around them.

Children of Persephone and Hades:

According to Greek mythology, the following are children of Persephone and Hades:

  • Melinoe, 
  • Makaria, 
  • Plutus and 
  • Dionysus (Orphic) or Zagreus.  

Melinoe is the goddess of ghost and nightmares while Makaria is the goddess of blessed death. Zagreus is the god of hunting and rebirth, Dionysus (Orphic) which is the reincarnation of Zagreus, borne by Semele with Zeus. Plutus, the Greek god of wealth is either the son of Demeter and Iasion, or of Hades and Persephone.

Melinoe:

She is known to be the goddess of ghosts and bringer of madness and nightmare. She was described as having a ghostlike or translucent complexion. Her parents are Persephone and Zeus, in the guise of Hades, and from that Melinoe was conceived.  She is described as “clothed in saffron” as an attribute to the goddess of magic Hecate. Melinoe is also known as the moon goddess, “half black and half white”. The dual personality serves to represent the difference between Zeus (god of light) and Hades (dark underworld).

Melinoe is also the ancient Greek goddess of Propitiation, or the sacrifices made for the deceased by the friends and family. She is believed to have wandered the earth with her trail of ghosts scaring anyone in their paths. This is believed to be the reason why dogs bark randomly at night.

Melinoe is also the goddess of the restless undead. Those who were never buried properly, no formal burial rites, or were outright cursed to wander aimlessly and hunt the living. Those poor restless souls who will never find peace.

The name Melinoe, according to the Greeks, was derived from melon (“tree fruit”), with the yellow-green color having similarity to the palor of illness or death.  According to Orphic belief, Melinoe was born at the mouth of the Cocytus, one of the four rivers of the underworld, where Hermes is stationed.

Zagreus:

Zagreus, like his sibling from the underworld Melinoe, was called the Underworld god of hunting and rebirth. He was renamed Orphic Dionysus, or as the “first-born Dionysus” and the child of Zeus, with Hades as his alter ego, and Persephone. Zeus intended him to be his successor to the throne. But Hera, who was furious at Zeus’ infidelity, asked the Titans to kill him.

There is not much record of his birth, except that he was dismembered by the Titans, consumed his body and left his heart.  Zeus then recovered his heart and made it into a potion and fed it to his lover, Semele. She then conceived the younger Dionysus, as a reincarnation of the first. 

Zagreus, or Dionysus, the wine god son of Zeus and Semele is identified with an Orphic Dionysus.  In the earliest mention of Zagreus, he is matched with Gaia (Earth) and called the highest god of the underworld.

Zagreus was mentioned in the early fragment of lost works and the quoted line from the 6th century epic Alcmeonis:

“Mistress Earth [Gaia], and Zagreus, highest of all the gods.”

Makaria:

Makaria was the goddess of “blessed death”, the merciful counterpart of her father Hades, though no known mother was mentioned. Her name connects to the figure of speech “be gone with blessedness”. Thanatos is her lover, god of death.

Plutus:

The Greek god of wealth. He is either the son of Demeter and Iasion, or the child of Hades and Persephone. According to Karl Karenyi, a Hungarian scholar, one of the founders of modern Greek mythology, a child was born from Persephone, the little Ploutus, from her ravisher, Plouton.

Persephone:

Persephone, also called Kore or Kora, is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She is also known as Proserpine in Roman mythology. In classical Greek art, Persephone was depicted as a venerable queen, thoroughly robbed, carrying a scepter and the sheaf of wheat.

She became the queen of the underworld when Hades, the God of Underworld, abducted her with the approval of her father. One day, she was gathering flowers in the Nysian meadows when she chanced upon a beautiful flower that she wanted to pluck. As she reached for it, the ground opened up and Hades appeared before her. He took her with him to the Underworld, to be his wife and queen.

Persephone is the vegetation goddess or most normally associated with spring. The famous myth of her abduction signifies her personification of vegetation, which brings forth the spring of vegetation and then withdraws back to earth after harvest.

Demeter wasn’t pleased with what happened to Persephone, that she wandered aimlessly around and neglected all her godly duties. The earth became barren and people were dying of famine. Zeus sends Hermes to the Underworld to bring Persephone back. However, she already tasted pomegranate seed that would tie her to the Underworld. 

Zeus proposed a compromise, that Persephone would remain two thirds of the year with her mother, and one-third with her husband. And that is how the seasons started and the growth of crops happened.

Pesephone was one of the most important goddesses worshipped in Orphism. In the Orphic religion, they use gold leaves with verses intended to assist the deceased enter the afterlife smoothly. The name Persephone is used in these tablets frequently along with Demeter and Plutos. The afterlife they aim for their dead is that of which “sacred meadows and groves of Persephone”.

Peresephone’s many other friendly names:

• Despoina (dems-potnia) “the mistress” (literally “the mistress of the house”) in Arcadia.

• Hagne, “pure”, originally a goddess of the springs in Messenia.

• Melindia or Melinoia (meli, “honey”), as the consort of Hades, in Hermione. (Compare Hecate, Melinoe)

• Malivina

• Melitodes

• Aristi cthonia, “the best chthonic”.

• Praxidike, the Orphic Hymn to Persephone identifies Praxidike as an epithet of Persephone: “Praxidike, subterranean queen. The Eumenides’ source [mother], fair-haired, whose frame proceeds from Zeus’ ineffable and secret seeds.”

Hades:

Hades according to the Greek mythology is the god of the underworld, the dead and the riches underneath. He was the first born son of Cronus and Rhea. His brothers were Poseidon and Zeus, and sisters Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. His siblings challenged their father in a divine war called Titanomachy. The war lasted for ten years and ended with success of the younger gods. 

According to the famous book Iliad, Hades and his brothers Poseidon and Zeus drew lots, wherein Zeus got the sky, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld, where the souls of the dead go as well as all things beneath the earth. Hades was not satisfied with the result but had no choice but to take heed.

The abduction of Persephone by Hades is the oldest recorded story of abduction dating back to the beginning of the 6TH century BC. This myth is the most important one that Hades has been mentioned as it connects to the Eleusinian Mysteries as represented by the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.

Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells.

— Homeric Hymn to Demete

As god of the underworld, Hades was not portrayed as evil, but rather as a passive role maintaining balance of the realm.  Hades was illustrated as cold and strict. And ruled the dead with complete authority. He doesn’t want anyone leaving his turf and would become enraged when someone tries to save their souls. 

He only left the underworld once in a myth which was when Heracles shot him with an arrow as Hades was fighting for the city of Pylos. Hades traveled to Olympus to heal. 

Hades was feared and reviled. The living was in no hurry to meet him. Hades embodied the inevitable finality of death.

Among many names Hades is known for:

In Greek: (sourced from Wikipedia)

• Adesius, his name in Latium. It is expressive of grace.

• Agelastus, from his melancholy countenance.

• Agesilaus, expressive of his attracting all people to his empire.

• Agetes or Hegetes, a name assigned to him by Pindar, as to one who conducts.

• Aidoneos, this name is probably derived from Hades’ having been sometimes confounded with a king of this name among the Molossi, whose daughter Persephone, Theseus and Pirithous attempted to carry off.

• Axiocersus, or the shorn god, a name of Pluto in the mysteries of the Cabiri: he was there represented as without hair.

• Iao, his name at Clares, a town of Ionia.

• Moiragetes, his name as guide of the Fates.

• Ophieus, his name as the blind god among the Messenians: it was derived from their dedicating certain Augurs to him, whom they deprived of sight at the moment of their birth.

Persephone and Hades:

Hades instantly fell in love with Persephone in the rare times he saw her on his trips out of the Underworld. He traveled above ground and pursued her while she was with her maiden wandering the fields of flowers. Hades confided with Zeus and asked for his help. The two of them planned on abducting Persephone to the Underworld. 

They cause the ground to swallow the young goddess. The myth said Persephone was not happy, but after some time has come to love Hades and lived happily with him.

However, happy they were, the myth mentioned of Minthe who seduced Hades and enraged Persephone. Minthe proclaimed that she was far superior in beauty than Persephone and Hades would tire of her and return her to Zeus. The Queen of the Underworld metamorphosed Minthe into the garden mint, the weak herb that bears her name. The mint plant was often used in funeral rites to hide the unpleasant smell of decay. 

Conclusion:

Persephone and Hades had four children, Melinoe, Zagreus, Plutus and Makaria. 

FAQ on ‘Persephone and Hades children’:

Who are the children of Persephone and Hades?

Persephone and Hades had three children, Melinoe, Zagreus, Plutus, and Makaria.

Did the Greek God Hades love his wife Persephone?

Hades loves Persephone enough to abduct her. Persephone on the other hand, ate the pomegranate with the full knowledge that consuming something from the underworld will bind her there. There could be love from these two gods.

Was Persephone treated well by Hades?

Yes, most definitely. Hades gave her freedom to stay with her mother two thirds of the year.

What makes Persephone love Hades?

Persephone loves Hades in his persistence. He continuously pursued her, and she might have fallen in love with her.

Does Hades have other concubines?

Hades for a short time was in love with Leuce, the daughter of Oceanus. And Minthe, the nymph from the underworld river Cocytus

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persephone

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hades

https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Persephone/persephone.html

https://greekmythology.wikia.org/wiki/Makaria

https://greekmythology.wikia.org/wiki/Zagreus#:~:text=Zagreus%20was%20an%20Underworld%20God,child%20of%20Zeus%20and%20Persephone.

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