The Pomegranate, the Seasons and a few Greek Gods and Goddesses

Wandering around the aisles of the supermarket the other day, I came across the section devoted to ‘exotic fruits’. All kinds of alien forms and textures populate this particular aisle  – spiky, fleshy, hairy, succulent – all originating from countries I couldn’t hope to place on a map and all ultimately fascinating and mysterious.  Not being a chef of any kind, let alone an adventurous one, I was thinking mainly in terms of potential photos and found myself helplessly drawn to the those seriously ugly, leathery little wierdies, the pomegranates.    Who would have thought they had such symbolic significance, especially in Greek myth, as an explanation of the seasons?

It would seem a certain Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, was carried off to live in the underworld by Hades.  Angry mother-in -law (Demeter) puts a curse on the fertility and growth of all the earth’s crops in revenge thus obliging Zeus, her long-suffering husband (and father to Persephone) to come up with a deal for her return. The deal is done, only for parents to discover that Persephone has eaten the seeds of the pomegranate during her capture and thus – having eaten the fruits of the Underworld – is condemned to return to the other side for one third of every year.  Not exactly a trip to CentreParcs you may well imagine.  Her return to earth is thus heralded as the start of Spring and the return of fertilty to the earth………..


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Cheryl says:

    Lovely shot, Jane. “Pomegranates 2” is outstanding. If you don’t mind, though: Demeter was not Zeus’ wife. Hera was, and a very jealous one, at that. Demeter was just one of the many women (mortal and goddess) with whom Zeus was “romantically” involved.


    1. Thanks Cheryl – I confess to having indulged in a little over ‘condensing ‘ of the story there! I need to do a refresher course in my Greek myths! Glad you like the shots though!


      1. Cheryl says:

        I just finished “The Iliad” and am about halfway through “The Odyssey,” so Greek myth is at the forefront for me. ; )


      2. I’m impressed! I have an old friend who is a Classics professor at Oxford and I’ve cheated by trying to get a general grasp of Greek mythology though his excellent books (Stephen P Kershaw) but perhaps it might stick better if I tried Homer himself! Good idea…..


      3. Cheryl says:

        I read The Iliad in college and loved it, but the translations by Robert Fagles make the experience so much better.


      4. Thanks for the tip Cheryl!


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