Proserpina is an ancient goddess, daughter of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and crops and Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder. The myth says that when Proserpina was in Sicily, playing with some nymphs and collecting flowers, Pluto came out from the volcano Etna with four black horses and abducted her in order to marry and live with her in Hades, the Greco-Roman Underworld. Her mother Ceres went looking for her in vain to every corner of the earth and, desperate, stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables in Sicily. Also, refused to go back to the Mount Olympus and started walking on Earth, making a desert at every step. Worried, Jupiter sent Mercury to order Pluto to free Proserpina but, because she had eaten pomegranate seeds from Pluto, she couldn’t return to the world of living. Still, they come to an agreement that Proserpina will live each year six months with Pluto and the rest with her mother.
This was named The Myth of Springtime because it is considered an allegory for the changing of seasons. Proserpina signifies the seed-corn which is cast to the ground (carried to the Underworld) and reappears in spring (restored to her mother).
The asteroid Proserpina 26, discovered on 5 May 1853 by the German astronomer Robert Luther, is named after this goddess.