Demeter, in Greek mythology, was the goddess of corn and the harvest, and the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld, Demeter’s grief was so great that she neglected the land; no plants grew, and famine devastated the earth. Dismayed at this situation, Zeus, the ruler of the universe, demanded that his brother Hades return Persephone to her mother. Hades agreed, but before he released the girl, he made her eat some pomegranate seeds that would force her to return to him for four months each year. In her joy at being reunited with her daughter, Demeter caused the earth to bring forth bright spring flowers and abundant fruit and grain for the harvest. However, her sorrow returned each fall when Persephone had to go back to the underworld. The desolation of the winter season and the death of vegetation were regarded as the yearly manifestation of Demeter’s grief when her daughter was taken from her.
Phocaea was ancient city north of Smyrna, in present Turkey. It was northernmost of the Greek Ionian cities. In the 7th century BC it grew into a maritime state; its chief colony was MassAlia, now Marseilles, France. In 540 BC, after a siege by the Persians, most of the inhabitants left, going mainly to Elea in Italy. The city never recovered from the loss.