Aischylos, Fragment 124 Sisyphus
Now I came to bid farewell to Zagreus and to his sire, the hospitaler of the dead.
Apollodoros, Bibliotheka E1. 23-24
Theseus and Peirithoos got it into their heads to marry daughters of Zeus, so first they kidnapped the twelve-year-old Helen of Sparta and then they went down to the realm of Haides to carry off Persephone. Persephone did not wish to go and so she deceived them and under the pretense of hospitality bade them sit upon the throne of Lethe whereupon their bodies merged with the stone and they were bound fast with serpent’s coils. Peirithoos has remained there ever since in unspeakable torment, though Herakles was able to lead Theseus back up to the mortal realm.
Scholiast on Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans 275–276
Thesmophoria: a festival of the Greeks encompassing mysteries, also known as Skirophoria. It was held, according to the more mythological explanation, because when Kore, picking flowers, was being carried off by Pluto, one Eubuleus, a swineherd, was at the time grazing his pigs on that spot, and they were swallowed up together in Kore’s pit; wherefore, in honor of Eubuleus piglets are thrown into the pits of Demeter and Kore. The rotten remains of what is thrown into the megara below are recovered by women called “dredgers” who have spent three days in ritual purity and descend into the shrines and when they have recovered the remains deposit them on the altars. They believe that anyone who takes some and sows it with their seed will have a good crop. They say that there are also serpents below about the pits, which eat up the great part of the material thrown in; for which reason they also make a clatter whenever the women dredge and whenever they set those models down again, so that the serpents they believe to be guarding the shrines will withdraw. The same thing is also known as Arrhetophoria and is held with the same explanation to do with vegetable fertility and human procreation On that occasion, too, they bring unnameable holy things fashioned out of wheat-dough: images of snakes and male members. And they take pine branches because of that plant’s fertility. There are also thrown into the megara (so the shrines are called) those things, and piglets, as mentioned above—the latter because of their fecundity, as a symbol of vegetable and human generation, for a thanksgiving offering to Demeter; because in providing the fruits of Demeter she civilized the race of humans. Thus the former reason for the festival is the mythological one, but the present is physical. It is called Thesmophoria, because Demeter is given the epithet “Lawgiver” (Thesmophoros), for having set down customs, which is to say laws (thesmoi), under which men have to acquire and work for their food.
[Aristotle], de Mirabilibus Auscultationibus 82
In Sicily in the district called Enna there is said to be a cave, around which is an abundance of flowers at every season of the year, and particularly that a vast space is filled with violets, which fill the neighbourhood with sweet scent, so that hunters cannot chase hares, because the dogs are overcome by the scent. Through this cave there is an invisible underground passage, by means of which Pluto is said to have made the rape of Kore. They say that wheat is found in this place unlike the local grain, which they use, and unlike any that is imported, but having great peculiarities. They say that this was the first place in which wheat appeared among them. They also claim Demeter, saying that the goddess was born among them.
[Aristotle], de Mirabilibus Auscultationibus 133
In the country called Aeniac, in that part called Hypate, an ancient pillar is said to have been found; as it bore an inscription in archaic characters of which the Aenianes wished to know the origin, they sent messengers to Athens to take it there. But as they were travelling through Boeotia, and discussing their journey from home with some strangers, it is said that they were escorted into the so‑called Ismenium in Thebes. For they were told that the inscription was most likely to be deciphered there, as they possessed certain offerings having ancient letters similar in form. There having discovered what they were seeking from the known letters they transcribed the following lines:
I Heracles dedicated a sacred grove to Cythera Persephassa,
when I was driving the flocks of Geryon and Erythea.
The goddess Persephassa subdued me with desire for her.
Here my newly wed Erythe brought forth a son Erython;
then I gave her the plain in memory of our love under a shady beech-tree.
The place called Erythus answered to this inscription and also the fact that he brought the cows from there, and not from Erytheia; for they say that the name Erytheia does not occur in the districts of Libya and Iberia.
Aristotle, On the Generation of Animals 734a
In the verse ascribed to Orpheus the various organs—heart, lungs, liver, eyes, etc.—were formed successively, for he says that animals come into being in the same way as a net is woven.
Claudian, De Raptu Proserpine 3.137-158
This said, Ceres left the temple; but no speed is enough for her haste; she complains that her sluggish dragons scarce move, and, lashing the wings now of this one and now of that (though little they deserved it), she hopes to reach Sicily e’er yet out of sight of Ida. She fears everything and hopes nothing, anxious as the bird that has entrusted its unfledged brood to a low-growing ash and while absent gathering food has many fears lest perchance the wind has blown the fragile nest from the tree, lest her young ones be exposed to the theft of man or the greed of snakes. When she saw the gate-keepers fled, the house unguarded, the rusted hinges, the overthrown doorposts, and the miserable state of the silent halls, pausing not to look again at the disaster, she rent her garment and tore away the shattered corn-ears along with her hair. She could not weep nor speak nor breathe and a trembling shook the very marrow of her bones; her faltering steps tottered. She flung open the doors and wandering through the empty rooms and deserted halls, recognized the half-ruined warp with its disordered threads and the work of the loom broken off. The goddess’ labours had come to naught, and what remained to be done, that the bold spider was finishing with her sacrilegious web.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 2.1-5.3
The island in ancient times was called, after its shape, Trinacria, then Sicania after the Sicani who made their home there, and finally it has been given the name Sicily after the Siceli who crossed over in a body to it from Italy. Its circumference is some four thousand three hundred and sixty stades; for of its three sides, that extending from Pelorias to Lilybaeum is one thousand seven hundred stades, that from Lilybaeum to Pachynus in the territory of Syracuse is a thousand five hundred, and the remaining side is one thousand one hundred and forty stades. The Siceliotae who dwell in the island have received the tradition from their ancestors, the report having ever been handed down successively from earliest time by one generation to the next, that the island is sacred to Demeter and Kore; although there are certain poets who recount the myth that at the marriage of Pluton and Persephone Zeus gave this island as a wedding present to the bride. That the ancient inhabitants of Sicily, the Sicani, were indigenous, is stated by the best authorities among historians, also that the goddesses we have mentioned first made their appearance on this island, and that it was the first, because of the fertility of the soil, to bring forth the fruit of the corn, facts to which the most renowned of the poets also bears witness when he writes:
But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e’en untilled, both wheat and barley, yea,
And vines, which yield such wine as fine grapes give,
And rain of Zeus gives increase unto them.
Indeed, in the plain of Leontini, we are told, and throughout many other parts of Sicily the wheat men call “wild” grows even to this day. And, speaking generally, before the corn was discovered, if one were to raise the question, what manner of land it was of the inhabited earth where the fruits we have mentioned appeared for the first time, the meed of honour may reasonably be accorded to the richest land; and in keeping with what we have stated, it is also to be observed that the goddesses who made this discovery are those who receive the highest honours among the Siceliotae.
Again, the fact that the rape of Kore took place in Sicily is, men say, proof most evident that the goddesses made this island their favourite retreat because it was cherished by them before all others. And the rape of Kore, the myth relates, took place in the meadows in the territory of Enna. The spot lies near the city, a place of striking beauty for its violets and every other kind of flower and worthy of the goddess. And the story is told that, because of the sweet odour of the flowers growing there, trained hunting dogs are unable to hold the trail, because their natural sense of smell is balked. And the meadow we have mentioned is level in the centre and well watered throughout, but on its periphery it rises high and falls off with precipitous cliffs on every side. And it is conceived of as lying in the very centre of the island, which is the reason why certain writers call it the navel of Sicily. Near to it also are sacred groves, surrounded by marshy flats, and a huge grotto which contains a chasm which leads down into the earth and opens to the north, and through it, the myth relates, Pluton, coming out with his chariot, effected the rape of Kore. And the violets, we are told, and the rest of the flowers which supply the sweet odour continue to bloom, to one’s amazement, throughout the entire year, and so the whole aspect of the place is one of flowers and delight.
And both Athena and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Kore and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other, and each one of them received for her portion a territory, Athena receiving hers in the region of Himera, where the Nymphs, to please Athena, caused the springs of warm water to gush forth on the occasion of the visit of Heracles to the island, and the natives consecrated a city to her and a plot of ground which to this day is called Athena’s. And Artemis received from the gods the island at Syracuse which was named after her, by both the oracles and men, Ortygia. On this island likewise these Nymphs, to please Artemis, caused a great fountain to gush forth to which was given the name Arethusa. And not only in ancient times did this fountain contain large fish in great numbers, but also in our own day we find these fish still there, considered to be holy and not to be touched by men; and on many occasions, when certain men have eaten them amid stress of war, the deity has shown a striking sign, and has visited with great sufferings such as dared to take them for food. Of these matters we shall give an exact account in connection with the appropriate period of time.
Like the two goddesses whom we have mentioned Kore, we are told, received as her portion the meadows round about Enna; but a great fountain was made sacred to her in the territory of Syracuse and given the name Cyane or “Azure Fount.” For the myth relates that it was near Syracuse that Pluton effected the rape of Kore and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Hades, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Cyane to gush forth, near which the Syracusans each year hold a notable festive gathering; and private individuals offer the lesser victims, but when the ceremony is on behalf of the community, bulls are plunged in the pool, this manner of sacrifice having been commanded by Heracles on the occasion when he made the circuit of all Sicily, while driving off the cattle of Geryones.
After the rape of Kore, the myth does on to recount, Demeter, being unable to find her daughter, kindled torches in the craters of Mt. Aetna and visited many parts of the inhabited world, and upon the men who received her with the greatest favour she conferred briefs, rewarding them with the gift of the fruit of the wheat. And since a more kindly welcome was extended the goddess by the Athenians than by any other people, they were the first after the Siceliotae to be given the fruit of the wheat; and in return for this gift the citizens of that city in assembly honoured the goddess above all others with the establishment both of most notable sacrifices and of the mysteries of Eleusis, which, by reason of their very great antiquity and sanctity, have come to be famous among all mankind. From the Athenians many peoples received a portion of the gracious gift of the corn, and they in turn, sharing the gift of the seed with their neighbours, in this way caused all the inhabited world to abound with it. And the inhabitants of Sicily, since by reason of the intimate relationship of Demeter and Kore with them they were the first to share in the corn after its discovery, instituted to each one of the goddesses sacrifices and festive gatherings, which they named after them, and by the time chosen for these made acknowledgement of the gifts which had been conferred upon them. In the case of Kore, for instance, they established the celebration of her return at about the time when the fruit of the corn was found to come to maturity, and they celebrate this sacrifice and festive gathering with such strictness of observance and such zeal as we should reasonably expect those men to show who are returning thanks for having been selected before all mankind for the greatest possible gift; but in the case of Demeter they preferred that time for the sacrifice when the sowing of the corn is first begun, and for a period of ten days they hold a festive gathering which bears the name of this goddess and is most magnificent by reason of the brilliance of their preparation for it, while in the observance of it they imitate the ancient manner of life. And it is their custom during these days to indulge in coarse language as they associate one with another, the reason being that by such coarseness the goddess, grieved though she was at the rape of Kore, burst into laughter.
That the rape of Kore took place in the manner we have described is attested by many ancient historians and poets. Carcinus the tragic poet, for instance, who often visited in Syracuse and witnessed the zeal which the inhabitants displayed in the sacrifices and festive gatherings for both Demeter and Kore, has the following verses in his writings:
Demeter’s daughter, her whom none may name,
By secret schemings Pluton, men say, stole,
And then he dropped into earth’s depths, whose light
Is darkness. Longing for the vanished girl
Her mother searched and visited all lands
In turn. And Sicily’s land by Aetna’s crags
Was filled with streams of fire which no man could
Approach, and groaned throughout its length; in grief
Over the maiden now the folk, beloved
Of Zeus, was perishing without the corn.
Hence honour they these goddesses e’en now.
But we should not omit to mention the very great benefaction which Demeter conferred upon mankind; for beside the fact that she was the discoverer of corn, she also taught mankind how to prepare it for food and introduced laws by obedience to which men became accustomed to the practice of justice, this being the reason, we are told, why she has been given the epithet Thesmophoros or Lawgiver. Surely a benefaction greater than these discoveries of hers one could not find; for they embrace both living and living honourably. However, as for the myths which are current among the Siceliotae, we shall be satisfied with what has been said.
Epictetus, Discourses 3.21
But no man sails from a port without having sacrificed to the Gods and invoked their help; nor do men sow without having called on Demeter; and shall a man who has undertaken so great a work undertake it safely without the Gods? and shall they who undertake this work come to it with success? What else are you doing, man, than divulging the mysteries? You say, “There is a temple at Eleusis, and one here also. There is an Hierophant at Eleusis, and I also will make an Hierophant: there is a herald, and I will establish a herald; there is a torch-bearer at Eleusis, and I also will establish a torch-bearer; there are torches at Eleusis, and I will have torches here. The words are the same; how do the things done here differ from those done there?” Most impious man, is there no difference? these things are done both in due place and in due time; and when accompanied with sacrifice and prayers, when a man is first purified, and when he is disposed in his mind to the thought that he is going to approach sacred rites and ancient rites. In this way the mysteries are useful, in this way we come to the notion that all these things were established by the ancients for the instruction and correction of life. But you publish and divulge them out of time, out of place, without sacrifices, without purity; you have not the garments which the hierophant ought to have, nor the hair, nor the head-dress, nor the voice nor the age; nor have you purified yourself as he has: but you have committed to memory the words only, and you say: “Sacred are the words by themselves.” You ought to approach these matters in another way; the thing is great, it is mystical, not common thing, nor is it given to every man.
Hermias, Commentary on the Phaedrus of Plato
Nymphs are goddesses who preside over regeneration, and are ministrant to Dionysos, the offspring of Semele. Hence they dwell near water, that is, they are conversant with generation. But Dionysos supplies the regeneration of the whole sensible world.
Hyginus, Astronomica 2.7
Some also have said that Venus and Proserpina came to Jove for his decision, asking him to which of them he would grant Adonis. Calliope, the judge appointed by Jove, decided that each should posses him half of the year. But Venus, angry because she had not been granted what she thought was her right, stirred the women in Thrace by love, each to seek Orpheus for herself, so that they tore him limb from limb. His head, carried down from the mountain into the sea, was cast by the waves upon the island of Lesbos. It was taken up and buried by the people of Lesbos, and in return for this kindness, they have the reputation of being exceedingly skilled in the art of music. The lyre, as we have said, was put by the Muses among the stars.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 5.562ff
Semele was kept for a more brilliant union, for already Zeus ruling on high intended to make a new Dionysos grow up, a bullshaped copy of the older Dionysos; since he thought with regret of the illfated Zagreus. This was a son born to Zeus in serpentbed by Persephoneia, the consort of the blackrobed king of the underworld; when Zeus put on a deceiving shape of many coils, as a gentle serpent twining around her in lovely curves, and ravished the maidenhood of unwedded Persephoneia; though she was hidden when all that dwelt in Olympos were bewitched by this one girl, rivals in love for the marriageable maid, and offered their dowers for an unsmirched bridal.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 6.155
Ah, maiden Persephoneia! You could not find how to escape your mating! No, a serpent was your mate, when Zeus changed his face and came, rolling in many a loving coil through the dark to the corner of the maiden’s chamber, and shaking his hairy chaps he lulled to sleep as he crept the eyes of those creatures of his own shape who guarded the door. He licked the girl’s form gently with wooing lips. By this marriage with the heavenly serpent, the womb of Persephone swelled with living fruit, and she bore Zagreus the horned baby, who by himself climbed upon the heavenly throne of Zeus and brandished lightning in his little hand, and newly born, lifted and carried thunderbolts in his tender fingers
P. Oxy. 1612
It was not we who originally invented those rites, which is to our credit, but it was a Nikaian who was the first to institute them…let the rites be his, and let them be performed among his people alone…unless we wish to commit sacrilege against Caesar himself, as we should commit sacrilege against Demeter and her Daughter also, if we performed to them here the ritual used there; for they are unwilling to allow any rites of that sort…
Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.23.3
It is said that on reaching old age a vision came to him in a dream. As he slept Persephone stood by him and declared that she alone of the deities had not been honoured by Pindar with a hymn, but that Pindar would compose an ode to her also when he had come to her. Pindar died at once, before ten days had passed since the dream. But there was in Thebes an old woman related by birth to Pindar who had practised singing most of his odes. By her side in a dream stood Pindar and sang a hymn to Persephone. Immediately on waking out of her sleep she wrote down all she had heard him singing in her dream. In this song, among the epithets he applies to Haides is ‘golden-reined’ – a clear reference to the rape of Persephone.
Pindar, Nemean Odes 1.14-72
Zeus, the lord of Olympus, gave to Persephone, and shook his locks in token unto her that, as queen of the teeming earth, the fertile land of Sicily would be raised to renown by the wealth of her glorious cities ; and the son of Cronus granted that the host of armed horsemen, that awaketh the memory of bronze-clad war, would full oft be wedded with the golden leaves of Olympia’s olive. Lo ! I have lighted on a varied theme, without flinging one false word. Sweet are the strains that I sing as I stand at the portals of the court of a hospitable hero, where a befitting banquet hath been prepared for me, and where the halls are oft familiar with strangers from afar. His lot it is to have true friends to ply against his slanderers, like water against smoke. Various men excel, indeed, in various ways; but it is meet that a man should walk in straight paths, and strive according to his powers of Nature ; for might of limb maketh itself manifest by action, and might of mind by counsel, for those who are attended by the inborn skill of foreseeing the future. But, within the compass of thy character, O son of Agesidamus, thou hast the use of both these boons alike. I love not to keep much wealth buried in my hall, but of my abundance to do good to myself and to win a good name by bestowing it on my friends; for the hopes and fears of toiling men come unto all alike. But, as for me, my heart cleaveth fast unto the theme of Heracles, while, amid the greatest and loftiest deeds of prowess, I wake the memory of that olden story, which telleth how, at the time when the son of Zeus, with his twin-brother, suddenly came from his mother’s birth-pangs with the light of day; — how, I say, when he was laid in his iffron swathing-bands, he escaped not the ken of Hera on her golden throne. Stung with wrath, that queen of the gods sent anon two serpents. Soon as the doors were opened, they crept on to the spacious inner-chamber, yearning to coil their darting jaws around the babes. Yet he lifted up his head, and made his first essay of battle, by seizing the twain serpents by their necks in his twain irresistible hands, and, whUe they were being strangled, the lapse of time breathed forth their souls from out their monstrous limbs. Meanwhile, a pang intolerable pierced the hearts of the women, who at the time were rendering help by the bedside of Alcmena; for even she herself leapt with all speed to her feet, and, unrobed as she was, she yet essayed to stay the rude onslaught of the monsters. Then swiftly the chiefs of the Cadmeans hastened in a throng with their brazen armour; and Amphitryon, brandishing in his hand a sword bared from the scabbard, came smitten with keen throes of anguish. For each alike is distressed by his own trouble, whereas, for a stranger’s sorrow, the heart is at once consoled. And there he stood, possessed with rapture overpowering and delightful ; for he saw the strange spirit and power of his son, since the immortals had turned to falsehood for him the story of the messengers. And he called forth one that dwelt nigh to him, even that chosen prophet of Zeus supreme, the truthful seer, Teiresias. And the prophet told him and all the host, what fortunes the boy was destined to encounter, — how many lawless monsters he would slay on the dry land and how many upon the sea ; and he said that there was one most hateful, one who walked in the crooked path of envy, whom he would do to death. He said, moreover, that when the gods shall meet the giants in battle on the plain of Phlegra, their foes shall soon find their bright tresses befouled with dust beneath that hero’s rushing arrows, but he himself, at rest from mighty labours, shall have allotted to him, as his choicest prize, peace that would endure for ever in the homes of bliss, where, on receiving Hebe as his blushing bride, and celebrating the marriage feast, he shall glorify his hallowed home in the presence of Zeus the son of Cronus.
Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs 6
Let the stony bowls, then, and the amphorae be symbols of the aquatic nymphs. For these are, indeed, the symbols of Dionysos, but their composition is fictile, i.e., consists of baked earth, and these are friendly to the vine, the gift of god; since the fruit of the vine is brought to a proper maturity by the celestial fire of the sun. But the stony bowls and amphorae are in the most eminent degree adapted to the nymphs who preside over the water that flows from rocks. And to souls that descend into generation and are occupied in corporeal energies, what symbol can be more appropriate than those instruments pertaining to weaving? Hence, also, the poet ventures to say, “that on these, the nymphs weave purple webs, admirable to the view.” For the formation of the flesh is on and about the bones, which in the bodies of animals resemble stones. Hence these instruments of weaving consist of stone, and not of any other matter. But the purple webs will evidently be the flesh which is woven from the blood. For purple woollen garments are tinged from blood and wool is dyed from animal juice. The generation of flesh, also, is through and from blood. Add, too, that the body is a garment with which the soul is invested, a thing wonderful to the sight, whether this refers to the composition of the soul, or contributes to the colligation of the soul (to the whole of a visible essence). Thus, also, Persephone, who is the inspective guardian of everything produced from seed, is represented by Orpheus as weaving a web and the heavens are called by the ancients a veil, in consequence of being, as it were, the vestment of the celestial gods.
Proklos, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus
Orpheus says that the vivific cause of partible natures (i.e. Persephone), while she remained on high, weaving the order of celestials, was a nymph, as being undefiled; and in consequence of this connected with Zeus and abiding in her appropriate manners; but that, proceeding from her proper habitation, she left her webs unfinished, was ravished; having been ravished, was married; and that being married, she generated in order that she might animate things which have an adventitious life. For the unfinished state of her web indicates, I think, that the universe is imperfect or unfinished, as far as to perpetual animals (i.e., the universe would be imperfect if nothing inferior to the celestial gods was produced). Hence Plato says the single creator calls on the many creators to weave together the mortal and immortal natures; after a manner reminding us, that the addition of the mortal genera is the perfection of the textorial life of the universe, and also exciting our recollection of the divine Orphic fable, and affording us interpretative causes of the unfinished webs of Persephone.
Proklos, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus 3.296.7
The happy life, far from the roaming of generation, that is desired by those who, in Orpheus, are initiated in Dionysos and Kore and told ‘to cease from the circle and enjoy respite from disgrace.’
Strabo, Geography 6.1.5
Because the country round about Hipponion has luxuriant meadows abounding in flowers, people have believed that Kore used to come hither from Sicily to gather flowers; and consequently it has become the custom among the women of Hipponion to gather flowers and to weave them into garlands, so that on festival days it is disgraceful to wear bought garlands.
Strabo, Geography 14.1.44
On the road between the Tralleians and Nysa is a village of the Nysaians, not far from the city Acharaka, where is the Ploutonion, with a costly sacred precinct and a shrine of Plouton and Kore, and also the Charonion, a cave that lies above the sacred precinct, by nature wonderful; for they say that those who are diseased and give heed to the cures prescribed by these gods resort thither and live in the village near the cave among experienced priests, who on their behalf sleep in the cave and through dreams prescribe the cures. These are also the men who invoke the healing power of the gods. And they often bring the sick into the cave and leave them there, to remain in quiet, like animals in their lurking-holes, without food for many days. And sometimes the sick give heed also to their own dreams, but still they use those other men, as priests, to initiate them into the mysteries and to counsel them. To all others the place is forbidden and deadly. A festival is celebrated every year at Acharaka; and at that time in particular those who celebrate the festival can see and hear concerning all these things; and at the festival, too, about noon, the boys and young men of the gymnasium, nude and anointed with oil, take up a bull and with haste carry him up into the cave; and, when let loose, the bull goes forward a short distance, falls, and breathes out his life. Thirty stadia from Nysa, after one crosses over Mt. Tmolos and the mountain called Mesogis, towards the region to the south of the Mesogis, there is a place called Leimon, whither the Nysaians and all the people about go to celebrate their festivals. And not far from Leimon is an entrance into the earth sacred to the same gods, which is said to extend down as far as Acharaka.
Suidas s.v. Λεύκη
Demosthenes in the speech For Ktesiphon writes, “those crowned with fennel and white-poplar.” Those celebrating the Bacchic rites used to be crowned with white-poplar because the plant is from the nether world and the Dionysos of Persephone, too, is from the nether world. He says that the white-poplar grew by the river Acheron, which is why in Homer it is called acherois.
Suidas s.v. Zagreus
Dionysos in poets. For Zeus, it seems, had intercourse with Persephone, and she gave birth to Dionysos Chthonios.
Theognis, Fragment 1. 703; 973
Persephone who impairs the mind of mortals and brings them forgetfulness. Once death’s dark cloud has enveloped him and he has come to the shadowy place of the dead and passed the black gates which hold back the souls of the dead, no man may return to the world above no matter how much he wails and protests. None there have the pleasure of listening to the lyre or pipes or of raising to his lips the gift of Dionysos.
ZPE 72, 1988, 245
When through the shadowy mountains, through the region of black radiances, from the garden of Persephone, at the hour of milking, the child brings by necessity the holy quadruped, companion of Demeter, the goat, to nurse at the fountain of inexhaustible milk, calling for torches for Hecate at the crossroads, the goddess with a terrible voice guides the stranger to the god.