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Amphipolis: Full Mosaic reveals the Abduction of Persephone!

The amazing mosaic found inside the third chamber of the mysterious Amphipolis ancient tomb displays the figure of Persephone, the queen of underworld, according to Greek mythology. In a press conference held on Thursday, the Greek Ministry of Culture informed that archaeologists revealed that it is the figure of Persephone on the chart led by what it is suggested to be the underworld god Pluto/Hades.

On the mosaic, Persephone raises her left hand in the air. She has red hair and wears a white robe held at the height of chest with a narrow red ribbon. Her face has a tragic expression.

Amphipolis Persephone detail

Next to her on the chart is a bearded man, with a golden wrath and a red coat. Archaeologists suggest that the man is the God of Greek Underworld, Pluto/Hades.

Amphipolis Persephone

Mosaic detail

Amphipolis Mosaic


Full picture of mosaic: archaeologists suggest that the young man leading the chart is God Hermes. The dimensions of the mosaic is 4.5m height x 3m width.

The mosaic was unearthed last week and it was washed with special fluids after its discovery. It was coated with sheets of styrofoam for protection. A wooden protection is to be placed above the mosaic so that archaeologists will be able to reach the fourth chamber of the tomb.

Amphipolis mosaic1

The Mosaic in the interior of 3rd chamber.

Alexander the Great family tomb?

The mosaic motive amplifies suggestions that the tomb may be royal and  in connection with the family of Alexander the Great. The same motive “the abduction of Persephone” was found also in an ancient tomb in Aiges by Vergina, where archaeologist Manolis Andronikos had suggested that Eyridike, the mother of Alexander the Great father, Philip, was buried.

Speaking to state NERIT TV about the Abduction of Persephone motive, archaeologist Kalliopi Limnaioy-Papakosta said that “the motive in both tombs is the same. The tomb is Macedonian and it is more claer that the time is the last quarter of fourth century BC.”

Hades abducts Persephone – Hellenistic painting from royal tomb of  Aiges by Vergina

Persephone: the myth

According to Greek Mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.

Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death.

Persephone’s abduction

In the Olympian telling, the gods Hermes and Apollo had wooed Persephone; but Demeter rejected all their gifts and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian deities.The story of her abduction by Hades against her will, is traditionally referred to as the Rape of Persephone.

Zeus, it is said, permitted Hades, who was in love with the beautiful Persephone, to carry her off as her mother Demeter was not likely to allow her daughter to go down to Hades. Persephone was gathering flowers with the Oceanids along with goddesses Artemis and Athena in a field when Hades came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth. When Demeter found her daughter had disappeared, searched for her all over the earth with torches. In most versions she forbids the earth to produce, or she neglects the earth and in the depth of her despair she causes nothing to grow. …Finally, Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return Persephone.

Hades indeed complied with the request, but first he tricked her, giving her some pomegranate seeds to eat. Persephone was released by Hermes, who had been sent to retrieve her, but because she had tasted food in the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above. (Full story about Persephone and the myths here)

Official announcement with details on the mosaic in Greek Culture Ministry




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  1. Could you be more careful with your translation because:

    A similar mosaic was unearthed in Vergina, in the tomb of Alexander’s father Philip.

    This is not correct. The abduction of Persephone in the tomb in Vergina was a wall painting, NOT a mosaic.