Proserpina is an ancient goddess whose story is the basis of a myth of
Springtime. She is the Roman equivalent of Persephone .Her name
comes from proserpere meaning "to emerge." She is a life–death–rebirth
deity.

She was the daughter of Ceres and Jupiter, and was described as a very
enchanting young girl.

Venus, in order to bring love to Hades, the god of the netherworld,  sent
her son Eros to hit Hades with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in
Sicily, at the fountain of Aretusa near Enna, where she was playing with
some nymphs and collecting flowers, when Hades came out from the
volcano Etna with four black horses. He abducted her in order to marry
her and live with her in the Greek Hell, of which he was the ruler. She is
therefore Queen of the Underworld.
Her mother Ceres, the goddess of grain or of the Earth, vainly went
looking for her in any corner of the Earth, but wasn't able to find anything
but a small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of
the nymphs). In her desperation Ceres angrily stopped the growth of
fruits and vegetables, bestowing a malediction on Sicily. Ceres refused
to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a
desert at every step.
Worried, Jupiter sent Mercury to order Hades (Jupiter's brother) to free
Proserpina. Pluto obeyed, but before letting her go, he made her eat six
pomegranate seeds (a symbol of fidelity in marriage) so she would have
to live six months of each year with him, and stay the rest with her
mother. So this is the reason for Springtime: when Proserpina comes
back to her mother, Ceres decorates the Earth with welcoming flowers,
but when in Fall she has to go back to Hades, nature loses any colour.
Apart of the similarity between Proserpina and Christine kidnapping, it's
really interesting observe that in Leroux's novel, Erik offers Christine a
succulent dinner meanwhile he didn't eat or drink nothing... Just as
Hades did with Persephone.

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