PERSEPHONE

Real Name: Persephone (also spelled Proserpina)

Occupation: Queen of the Underworld, goddess of spring

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of Earth does not believe in Persephone except as a mythological deity.

Other Aliases: Core/Kore (Roman Name), Mania (Etruscan name), Libera (Thracian name), Dread Persephone, Persephoneia, Phersephone, Persephassa, Phersephatta, Periphone, (In ancient times, she was also confused with the goddess Hecate).

Place of Birth: Olympus

Marital Status: Married 

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Demeter (mother), Hades (husband/uncle), Hercules, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus, Arion, Plutus, Philomelus (half-brothers), Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Eris, Hebe, Helen, Eileithyia, Despoena (half-sisters), Poseidon, Chiron (uncles), Hera, Hestia (aunts),

Group Affiliation: The Gods of Olympus

Base of Operations: Mobile between Olympus and Hades

First Appearance: Avengers Annual #23

History: Persephone is the daughter of Zeus, ruler of the Olympian Gods, and Demeter, the grain-goddess. The god Hades fell in love with her and obtained permission from Zeus to take her as a bride without telling Demeter.  In fact, Zeus is reputed to have suggested abduction to keep Demeter from knowing the truth. Abducted while in the presence of her friends the Sirens, Persephone was taken against her will to Tartarus where she pined for her mother and refused to eat. Demeter mourned for her daughter for ten days before Hecate, looking to make trouble for Hades, told her the truth.  Unfortunately, while in the underworld, Persephone fasted by eating three pomegranate seeds.  As Zeus arbitrated the case, Persephone was required to spend parts of the year on Olympus and Hades. 

Demeter also punished the Sirens by transforming them into birds and binding them to the island of Anthemoessa near Sicily as punishment for not reporting the abduction. In later years, Persephone played an active role in dissuading Hades' whims against mortals as in allowing Queen Alcestis of Pherae to return to her husband.  Aphrodite also gave her a coffin with Phoenician prince Adonis in it to hide for her, but she peeked inside and fell in love with the youth for himself.  Zeus arbitrated their feelings over him and forced them to share him separately.

Years later, Peirithous, the king of the Lapiths, and his good friend, Theseus, King of Athens, both made pacts to marry daughters of Zeus.  Theseus abducted the teenaged Helen (future spoil of the Trojan War) and Peirithous resolved to abduct Persephone.  Admiring the courage of the two, Hades invited both of the heroes to sit down from their long journey down into the underworld, but then they became captured in chairs, which slammed shut around them. They remained bound like this until Hercules arrived on his last labor to the underworld. Hercules rescued Theseus, but as Hercules tried to unbind Peirithous, a thunderclap distracted him. Because he had dared to capture Persephone, the Lapith ruler was condemned to stay behind in the underworld.

Despite her role as a goddess, Persephone was rarely invoked by mortal man. Aphrodite involved her in the trials Psyche underwent to be worthy of being married to Cupid. Years after the Trojan War, Orestes, prince of Mycenae, invoked Persephone to send the ghost of his father, Agamemnon, to watch the death of Aegisthus, his killer.

In modern times, the Olympians were nearly snuffed out by their ancient enemy Typhon, who had escaped Tartarus.  They were rescued by Hercules and his modern team of heroes, the Avengers. Zeus questioned Persephone about Hades, suspecting that he had released Typhon himself, but she vouched for him, saying he had not departed her sight.  Unknown to Persephone, Hades had actually granted the Asgardian god Loki with the power to free Typhon.

Persephone continued to remain devoted to Hades, but while shopping on Earth disguised as mortals, Hercules came to her and informed her that Hades was keeping more mortals against their will in the underworld. Quickly returning to Tartarus, Persephone issued an edict to Hades that forced him to allow the young wards of the Fantastic Four to leave his realm unharmed.

Height: 58
Weight: 310 lbs
Eyes: Black
Hair: Brown

Unusual Physical Features: In her role as Queen of the Underworld, Persephone usually converts from her form as the blonde, blue-eyed goddess of spring to the brunette, dark-eyed goddess of the dead.

Strength Level: Persephone possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Persephone possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian Gods. Like all Olympian Gods, she is immortal. She has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any known conventional means. She is immune to all known terrestrial diseases and is invulnerable to conventional injury. If wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for Zeus or a number of gods of equal power working together to revive her. Persephone does have some superhuman strength and her own Olympian metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to Olympian superhuman strength and weight).

Persephone also has undefined mystical abilities to cross dimensions, create small electrical discharges and influence the growth and prosperity of flowering plants. She also has limited medical skills to mystically cure mortals of sickness or disease, but this ability does not extend to physical injuries. Contrary to some beliefs, she cannot raise the dead once a mortal spirit has departed their body. In ancient times, her name was used to invoke curses as well as to send ghosts to Earth. 

Comments: Arion, the god of horses, and Despoena, goddess of fruit, are children of Demeter and Poseidon. Plutus, god of wealth, and Philomelus, god of farming, were children of Demeter and the demigod, Jasion. 

Clarifications: Persephone is not to be confused with:

 

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