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Giulia Pedrucci University of Verona, Italy

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Abstract

As mythological figures, Demeter and Kore stand together as timeless symbols of this moment of transition between maidenhood, wifehood, and then motherhood. While contemplating these goddesses, historically situated and embodied women surely remembered — or learned soon enough — that pregnancies and babies would follow their marriage. The mythological narrative, however, focuses on this crucial transition rather than on the effective beginning of motherhood through pregnancy and childbirth. Kore is the maiden, the new bride, and the mother-to-be. She never becomes a mother.

The absence of offspring can be explained by the functional reading we just mentioned: she is a mother-to-be, not a mother. Demeter, in the Eleusinian myth, plays the role of the mother. There is, however, another way that can be explored in this regard and that is not necessarily in contrast with the first one: Kore/Persephone's marriage is sterile since it takes place in the underworld. There is no life in the afterworld; therefore, she can not give birth to a child. This paper will explore if the journey of Kore/Persephone to the Hades can be seen as a path to infertility.

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