Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. Name Etymology Persephone or "the deceased woman" holding a pomegranate. Persephatta (Περσεφάττα) is considered to mean "female thresher of corn," going by "perso-" relating to Sanskrit "parsa", "sheaf of corn" and the second constituent of the name originating in Proto-Indo European *-gʷʰn-t-ih, from the root *gʷʰen "to strike". An alternative etymology is from φέρειν φόνον, pherein phonon, "to bring (or cause) death". John Chadwick speculatively relates the name of Persephone with the name of Perse, daughter of Oceanus. Italy.