The myth tells that Demeter, goddess of the earth and protector of nature, had a beautiful daughter, Persephone, fathered by her brother Zeus. Hades, the god of the dead, fell in love with the girl and kidnapped her, dragging her with him into the
Demeter then began to look for her daughter everywhere and in desperation, stopped taking care of the plants, causing a great famine of flowers and fruits on Earth.
Nature had fallen asleep and in the meantime, humankind suffered from the lack of her gifts. Zeus then decided to intervene and ordered Hades to return Persephone to Demeter.
Hades agreed, but before he let her go he made her eat six pomegranate seeds, which forced the girl to return to him in the underworld for six months of the year. This is how the ancients explained the cycle of the seasons: when Persephone returned to Earth, Demeter happily reawakened nature (spring and summer). Then, when she returned to the underworld, nature went back to sleep and the land became barren and lifeless again (autumn and winter).
According to Cicero , the two goddesses were the most worshipped deities in all of Sicily. In fact, the island was a land with a strong agricultural vocation, where the wealth and well-being of its inhabitants were closely linked to the cycle of the seasons and the products of the land.
Agrigento in particular was a fertile land for cultivation and pastures, and therefore its inhabitants had erected several sanctuaries for the two deities, so much so that Pindar called it the “abode of Persephone”.