Boris Johnson got confused and compared the UK to a Greek goddess who is forced to live in the underworld

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions today, Boris Johnson found himself congratulating a Tory MP on the birth of his new daughter.

This was all well and cute and nice, until he decided to bring up the child's name: Persephone.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity to pretentiously bash us all over the head with his Classics degree, he said that the name was "perfect" for this year because the UK is "rising from darkness".

So what's the problem?

While "rising from the darkness" is true, many were quick to point out that this might not actually be the best analogy if we're looking to be optimistic about the future of the UK.

According to Greek mythology, Persephone in fact led a pretty miserable life, despite being the goddess of harvest and fertility (all things happy and spring-like), she ended up being kidnapped by – and subsequently "falling in love with" (the problematic nature of this is a separate issue entirely) – Hades, the god of the dead and king of the underworld.

If this all sounds a bit like a 1999 episode of Charmed, hold on, because it gets worse.

Persephone's husband/kidnapper ended up making a deal with her father, meaning she would spend half the year with Hades in the "darkness" and half the year in Olympus, where all the gods hang out.

(There's also some stuff in there about eating pomegranates, because why not.)

This is supposed to explain the changing of the seasons. While Persephone is in the underworld for half the year, her mother Demeter, the goddess of harvest, is too sad to tend to the Earth's needs – hence, autumn and winter.

All this is to say, it's really not a very good way of describing what the UK is going through right now, unless we're going to be plunged back into darkness every six months for the rest of history.

People were obviously quick to point this out.

Some pointed out that Persephone is actually a pretty common name, which is arguably true (although the only one we've ever heard of is Sephy from Noughts and Crosses), but the point isn't really about whether or not this is a good baby name – surely we established last week during the whole X Æ A-12 debacle that these things are very much subject to taste.

But for Boris Johnson to suggest this is a good example of the times we're living in shows he is either much more pessimistic about the future of our country than he's making out, or he needs to brush up on his mythology...

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