goddesses, and ancient tradition affirmed that the whole island was sacred to them. The Sicilians claimed to be the first on whom Demeter had bestowed the gift of corn, and hence they honoured the two goddesses with many festivals. They celebrated the festival of Demeter when the corn began to shoot, and the descent of Proserpine when it was ripe. At Cyare, a fountain near Syracuse which Pluto made to spring up when he carried off his bride, the Syracusans held an annual festival in the course of which bulls were sacrificed by being drowned in the water. At Cyzicus also, in Asia Minor, bulls were sacrificed to Proserpine. Demeter and Proserpine were worshipped together by the Athenians at the greater and less Eleusinian festivals, held in autumn and spring respectively. In the Eleusinian mysteries Proserpine no doubt played an important part. One Greek writer, Achemachus, identified Proserpine with the Egyptian Isis. At Rome Proserpine was associated with Ceres (the Roman representative of Demeter) in the festival of the Cerealia (April 12 to 19), she was represented as the wife of Dis Pater (the Roman Pluto), and was sometimes identified with the native Latin goddess Libera. The pomegranate was Proserpine's symbol, and the pigeon and cock were sacred to her. Her votaries abstained from the flesh of domestic fowls, fish, beans, pomegranates and apples. In works of art she appears with a cornucopia or with ears of corn and a cock. The regular form of her name in Greek was Persephone, but various other forms occur: Phersephone, Persephassa, Phersephassa, Pherrephatta, &c., to explain which different etymologies were invented. Corresponding to Proserpine as goddess of the dead is the old Norse goddess Hel (Gothic Halja), whom Saxo Grammaticus calls Proserpine.
See L. Preller, Demeter und Persephone (1837); R. Foerster, Der Raub und die Rückkehr der Persephone (1874); A. Zimmermann, De Proserpinae raptu et reditu (1882); J. A. Overbeck, “Demeter and Kore” in Griechische Kunstmythologie, ii. (1878). (J. G. Fr.; X.)
PROSKUROV, or Ploskurov, a town of Russia, in the government of Podolia, situated on the railway from Odessa to Lemberg, 62 m. N.W. of Zhmerinka junction. Pop. (1897), 22,915, more than one-half being Jews. It is poorly built, mostly of wood, on a low marshy plain surrounded by hills, at the confluence of the Ploskaya with the Bug. Its old castle has been destroyed, the site being occupied by a Roman Catholic church. The Orthodox Greek cathedral (1839) contains a very ancient and highly venerated image of the Virgin. The manufactures include oil-works and potteries; the Jewish merchants carry on an active export trade in corn and sugar, while the imports consist of salt and manufactured wares. Agriculture and market-gardening are the chief occupations of the Little-Russian inhabitants.
PROSODY (Gr. προσῳδία), the art of versification (see Verse), including as its three divisions accent, breathing and quantity. Prosody is the mode in which the discipline is determined by which successive syllables are so arranged as to form verse. The Latin name for it was accentus.
PROSPECTUS (Lat. for view, look-out, prospect, from prospicere, to look forward), a written or printed preliminary announcement of some undertaking, giving the scheme or plan, the principal features, &c. In law, the term is specifically applied to the invitation issued to the public by a company to subscribe for shares in the enterprise for which the company is formed (see Company).
PROSPER OF AQUITAINE, or Prosper Tiro (c. 390–c. 465), Christian writer and disciple of St Augustine, was a native of Aquitaine, and seems to have been educated at Marseilles. In 431 he appeared in Rome to interview Pope Celestine regarding the teachings of St Augustine and then all traces of him are lost until 440, the first year of the pontificate of Leo I., who had been in Gaul and thus probably had met Prosper. In any case Prosper was soon in Rome, attached to the pope in some secretarial or notarial capacity. Gennadius (De script. eccl. 85) mentions a rumour that Prosper dictated the famous letters of Leo I. against Eutyches. The date of his death is not known, but his chronicle goes as far as 455, and the fact that Ammianus Marcellinus mentions him under the year 463 seems to indicate that his death was shortly after that date. Prosper was a layman, but he threw himself with ardour into the religious controversies of his day, defending Augustine and propagating orthodoxy. The Pelagians were attacked in a glowing polemical poem of about 1000 lines, Adversus ingratos, written about 430. The theme, dogma quod. . . pestifero vomuit coluber sermone Britannus, is relieved by a treatment not lacking in liveliness and in classical measures. After Augustine's death he wrote three series of Augustinian defences, especially against Vincent of Lerins (Pro Augustine responsiones). His chief work was against Cassian's Collatio, his De gratia dei ut libero arbitrio (432). He also induced Pope Celestine to publish an Epistola ad episcopos Gallorum against Cassian. He had earlier opened a correspondence with Augustine, along with his friends Tyro and Hilarius, and although he did not meet him personally his enthusiasm for the great theologian led him to make an abridgment of his commentary on the Psalms, as well as a collection of sentences from his works—probably the first dogmatic compilation of that class in which Peter Lombard's Liber sententiarum is the best-known example. He also put into elegiac metre, in 106 epigrams, some of Augustine's theological dicta.
Far more important historically than these is Prosper's Epitoma chronicon. It is a careless compilation from St Jerome in the earlier part, and from other writers in the later, but the lack of other sources makes it very valuable for the period from 425 to 455, which is drawn from Prosper's personal experience. There were five different editions, the last of them dating from 455, after the death of Valentinian. For a long time the Chronicon imperial was also attributed to Prosper Tiro, but without the slightest justification. It is entirely independent of the real Prosper, and in parts even shows Pelagian tendencies and sympathies.
The Chronicon has been edited by T. Mommsen in the Chronica minora of the Monumenta Germaniae historica (1892). The complete works are in Migne's Patrologia latina. Tome 51. See L. Valentine, St. Prosper d'Aquitaine (Paris, 1900), where a complete list of previous writings on Prosper is to be found; also A. Potthast, Bibliotheca historica (1896).
PROSSNITZ (Czech Prostějov), a town of Austria, in Moravia, 50 m. N.E. of Brünn by rail. Pop. (1900), 24,054, mostly Czech. It is situated in the fertile plain of the Hanna, and is the principal commercial centre for the sale of the various produce of the region. It has important textile, malt and sugar industries, distilling, brewing and milling, manufactures of agricultural implements and lucifer matches. Prossnitz is a town of ancient origin, and in the 16th century was one of the chief seats of the Moravian Brethren.
PROSTITUTION (from Lat. prostituere, to expose publicly), a word which may best be defined as promiscuous unchastity for gain. In German law it is described as Gewerbsmässige Unzucht. It has always been distinguished in law and custom from concubinage, which is an inferior state of marriage, and from adultery and other irregular sexual relations, in which the motive is passion. Prostitution has existed in all civilized countries from the earliest times, and has always been subject to regulation by law or by custom. In Christian countries attempts have repeatedly been made to suppress it, but without success. Its ultimate basis lies in the two most elementary attributes of living things, namely, the will to live and the instinct of reproduction. The one represents the interest of the individual, the other that of the race; and the essential character of prostitution is that it utilizes the latter to satisfy the former, whereas in true sexual passion, as Schopenhauer has pointed out, the advantage of the individual is subordinated to the needs of the race. In practical language, prostitution offers, through abuse of the sexual instinct, a means of livelihood which a certain proportion of women prefer to other means. It is often assumed by philanthropic moralists that no other means are open to them. That may be so in cases in which deception or constraint
- Others regarded her as originally a moon-goddess.
- As the wife of Hades she was represented with the insignia of royalty and a torch.