The Romans, who embraced the Greek religion, dubbed Persephone Proserpina, which means “first snake”. In the Homeric epics she is called Persephone, and according to wikipedia, it is suspected that Persephone, being so hard for the Greeks to pronounce, may hail from an epoch earlier than the Greeks. I wonder if Persephone means “first word”.
Is Persephone a Mycenean name? I don’t know. But it begs an answer.
The Judeo Christian serpent is famously depcited in classical art, as part serpent wrapped around the base of a tree, with the body and face of a woman, presiding over Eve as she hands Adam, depicted at her feet, the fruit.
Was it a religious ritual involving sexual comsumation? Why was this ritual so offensive to God?
Judging by the look on his face, and his position in relation to Eve, Adam doesn’t seem to be putting up much of a fuss.
The painting strongly suggests that Eve ruled over Adam, and that women once ruled over religion.
Until they fell.
The links to the Minoan snake goddess are all too clear. I don’t have a handle on her handle yet. Ha ha.
Although more recent, the Roman dubbing hails an earlier Persephone than their predecessors, the Greeks.
It appears the Myceneans, or the Greeks, may have transformed Persephone from a serpent, into a young maiden.
This is indicated in the myth where Zeus disguises himself as a snake in order to seduce her. The seduction seems to have taken place before Persephone’s abduction by Hades.
The story goes that Persephone’s beauty rivaled that of Aphrodite’s and all the gods were enamoured of her. To save her from the unwelcome prospect of suitors and marriage, Demeter hides Persephone in a cave, guarded by snakes. Zues, out of his mind with desire, transfroms himself into a snake, steals into the cave, and wraps around her, “many a loving coil.”
Was Persephone a serpent in this myth? Did her union with Zeus, which produced Zagreus, evoke a transformation for Persephone from a snake (Minoan snake goddess) into a Greek, and did this confer upon her human form? Did this represent an elevation of sorts – tranformation from a barbaric goddess into a diminuative, civlized one?
That she is depcited as a virgin in both the Greek and Roman tellings of the fall of Persephone/Proserpina is a blatant contradiction to what I imagine is the more ancient telling of the myth – with Zues in the Hades role, but as a lover instead of a captor.
So Persephone could have started out as a serpent, changed into a pubescent girl, then by the Romans, back into a serpent again, all the while, with each change of name marking the rise and fall of dynasties and civilizations.
Will the etymology of Persephone reveal a Greek, or Mycenean origin?
Everything that went on within the temple of Eleusis, during the Greater Mystery rite, was top-secret, on pain of death.
Myths account that the epiphany itself was ineffable. To me that means no one, not the greatest minds, from the one time greatest civilization on earth, could articulate the experience.
They insisted that it was experience that transcended intellect in supremacy. Maybe intellect gets in the way at some point ,who knows?
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