Larry J. Kreitzer, «The Plutonium of Hierapolis and the Descent of Christ into the 'Lowermost Parts of the Earth' (Ephesians 4,9)», Vol. 79 (1998) 381-393
After a general discussion of the myth regarding Demeter, Persephone and Hades/Pluto, the author discusses, in the light of coins of the early Neronian period (54-59 AD), the likelihood that the Plutonium of Hierapolis is the geographical spot the author wants his readers to imagine when they read in the Letter to the Colossians that Christ entered the lowermost parts of the earth.
it might be worthwhile to review the substance of the mythological story itself.
I. The Abduction of Persephone by Hades in Mythology
The abduction of Persephone by Hades (or Pluto, as he is otherwise known) is a frequent theme within Graeco-Roman mythology 7. Persephone, also known simply as Kore (the Maiden), was the daughter of the earth-goddess Demeter, and the story of a mothers anguished search for, and eventual reunion with, her abducted daughter gave rise to a religious cult widely practised in the ancient world. The most important centre for worship of Demeter and Persephone (Kore) was at Eleusis, fourteen miles west of Athens, home of the famous Eleusinian mysteries. In addition, many ancient sites sacred to the two goddesses have been identified, including one in Corinth dating back to the sixth century BCE 8.
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, generally dated to circa 650-550 BCE 9, is the most important literary expression of the Demeter-Persephone myth, although facets of the basic story are alluded to within a number of ancient writings. The abduction of Persephone by Hades is mentioned in Hesiod Theogony 914, Diodorus Siculus Library of History 5:4:1 and 5:68:2, Apollodorus The Library 1:5:1, Ovid Fasti 4:417-454 and Metamorphoses 5:385-408, Apuleius Metamorphoses 6:2, Cicero Against Verres 2:4:48, and Pausanias Guide to Greece 8:42:2 and 9:23:2. Towards the end of the classical period, the late fourth-century CE writer Claudian even composed a full-length version of the myth, suitably altering the name of the central character for his Latin audience; we know this work as The Rape of Proserpina.
Most agree that at some level the story of Demeter and