Presently I am doing home instruction for my grandchildren on the West coast whose schools have been closed for most of the past year. As a retired teacher this is both a challenge and a joy. Part of this instruction is studying Aesop and his fables and Classical mythology. During this week's instruction I will relate to them the myth of Demeter and her daughter, Persephone whose story is closely tied to the seasons of the year. I'll bet many readers here are at least somewhat aware of the myth, though you may know it as the myth of Ceres and Proserpina, their Roman names. Like most myths it was an attempt by the Ancients to explain the phenomena of the world around them, in this case the changing of the seasons. As my grand daughters are about to find out, it is a captivating, some may say charming, story of how we came to have seasons of the year. For those not fully up on their Bullfinch, Demeter was the goddess of fields and crops. She watched over agriculture as well as nature and saw to it that the rains were regular and gentle, the sun shined when it should, and in general, Zephyrus would send lots of gentle westerly breezes, and the land would be fruitful. She would travel the land accompanied by her lovely daughter, Persephone, whose presence added to the beauty of the land. Unfortunately her comely appearance attracted the attention of the brother of Zeus, Hades, who decided that Persephone would improve things in the dark, dank underworld over which he presided. Since Demeter really didn't want anyone taking her daughter from her, Hades simply abducted Persephone and took her to the infernal regions as his wife. Demeter was totally distraught as she searched the land for her daughter and eventually discovered what her fate was. She tried appealing to her fellow divinities to free her daughter but got no favorable hearing, until she turned her wrath on the earth and mortals. The rains failed, then they turned into repeated floods. The boreal winds blasted from the north and froze the land, black clouds obscured the skies. Vegetation shriveled and died. Animals wasted and died. Mortals watched famine stalk the land. It was so terrible that even Zeus thought all life would wither away. He called an Olympian conference and used his best diplomatic skills. For half the year Persephone would remain with Hades in the underworld, but for the other six months she would return to the earth to be with her mother. While she remained with Hades it would be cold, dank and damp for mortals but when she returned, Demeter would makes things right again. And so it passed that every year we have an equal period of dark and gloom and one of light and warmth and Persephone has just now retuned from her world of cold and gloom and Demeter has just gone back to work to again make the earth fruitful. And now the coins. Greek Demeter, or Roman Ceres is easy to find on ancient coins. Persephone can also be found fairly commonly on Greek coins but may only exist on a few Roman coins. I don't have any Greek coins with Persephone but perhaps some members reading this might have one or two and add them to this post. The coin on the left is a stater of Metapontum with, not surprisingly an image of a sheaf of grain on the reverse side. It is Sear 416 from about 320 BC and weighs 7.8 grams. The coin on the right is a Roman denarius with Demeter, or Ceres, as the Romans called her. It is Furia 23 and weighs 3.95 grams and is from 63 BC. Please, if any readers have other numismatic images of Demeter or (Ceres), or Persephone (Proserpina) please post them. As for everybody else, go on out and see if you can catch a westerly breeze, the scent of blossoms and help Demeter along by planting a few bulbs or seedlings.