hades and persephone statue on throne
Demeter was the goddess of the Earth, of agriculture and of fertility who created the harvest, the grain and other crops as well as the circle of seasons. At Knidos she was worshipped with Hades and the other underworld deities including her mythical daughter Persephone.  The Sanctuary of Demeter at Knidos was laid out in 350 BC, when the city was reestablished. The sanctuary consisted of a long terrace built into the side of an acropolis, overlooking the city and seascape below. Many votive sculptures were deposited within the sanctuary. Most of these were discovered by excavators in fragments, but the statue of divine Demeter herself remains relatively intact.
The Demeter of Knidos is a life-size, seated ancient Greek statue that was discovered in the port of Knidos, south-west Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Now part of the British Museum’s collection, it is an impressive example of Hellenistic sculpture from around 350 BC.   
The story of Demeter and Persephone was perhaps symbolic of the changing seasons and the perennial change from life to death, to life once more, or in other words, the changes from summer to winter and the return of life in spring as seen in agriculture. The cycle became one of the rituals of the sacred Eleusinian mysteries; indeed, the symbols of the cult were ears of grain and a torch – reminding of Demeter’s search for Persephone and that the rituals were carried out at night. As all initiates were bound by a sacred oath not to reveal the details of the Mysteries, they have to this day remained just that, a mystery.
In many ancient cults the goddess, along with her mother Demeter, is associated with vegetation and grain. In this guise she is most often referred to as Kore, signifying both ‘daughter’ and ‘maiden’. In Greek mythology, the goddess, as wife of Hades, is the Queen of the Underworld and takes her other name, Persephone. In this guise, she was seen as a protectress in the after-life, although Hesiod repeatedly describes her as ‘dread Persephone’ in his Theogony. In various other myths, Persephone is the mother of Dionysos (with Zeus, who is also her father) – although Semele is the more usual candidate – and squabbles with Aphrodite for the attentions of devilishly handsome Adonis, the two settling to share the famous lover in split shifts. In the Roman world the goddess was known as Proserpina.
Demeter’s relationship with Zeus had not always been so strained: He was the father of her much-loved, white-armed daughter, Persephone.
And so it was arranged that Persephone could be with her mother Demeter for two-thirds of the year, but would spend the remaining months with her husband. Accepting this compromise, Demeter agreed to let seeds sprout from the earth for all but three months a year—the time known as winter—when Demeter’s daughter Persephone was with Hades.
Fascinating story. The statue is really impressive. I love antiquities – it gives you a glimpse into the lives of the ancients.
Thanks, and me too!
Triptolemus, Demeter, and Persephone by the Triptolemos Painter, c. 470 BC
Persephone or “the deceased woman” holding a pomegranate. Etruscan terracotta cinerary statue. National archaeological museum in Palermo, Italy