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In
ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widel ...
, Ceres ( , ) was a
goddess A goddess is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, ...

goddess
of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
,
grain crops
grain crops
, fertility and motherly relationships.Room, Adrian, ''Who's Who in Classical Mythology'', p. 89-90. NTC Publishing 1990. . She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called
plebeian In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizenship, Roman citizens who were not Patrician (ancient Rome), patricians, as determined by the capite censi, census, or in other words "commoners". Both ...
or
Aventine Triad The Aventine Triad (also referred to as the plebeian Triad or the agricultural Triad) is a modern term for the joint Religion in ancient Rome, cult of the Roman deities Ceres (mythology), Ceres, Liber and Libera (mythology), Libera. The cult was es ...
, then was paired with her daughter
Proserpina Proserpina ( , ) or Proserpine ( ) is an ancient Roman goddess A goddess is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditi ...

Proserpina
in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". Her seven-day April
festival A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festiva ...
of
Cerealia In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
included the popular ''
Ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it be ...

Ludi
Ceriales'' (Ceres' games). She was also honoured in the May ''
lustratio ''Lustratio'' was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek and ancient Rome, ancient Roman purification ritual. It included a procession and in some circumstances the sacrifice of a pig (''sus''), a sheep, ram (''ovis''), and a bull (''taurus'') (suovetau ...
'' of the fields at the
Ambarvalia Ambarvalia was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of ...
festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and
funeral rites A funeral is a ceremony connected with the Disposal of human corpses, final disposition of a corpse, such as a burial or cremation, with the attendant observances. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture t ...
. She is usually depicted as a mature woman. Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the
Dii Consentes The ''Dii Consentes'', also known as ''Di'' or ''Dei Consentes'' (once ''Dii Complices''), is an ancient list of twelve major deities, List of Roman deities, six gods and six goddesses, in the Religion in ancient Rome, pantheon of Ancient Rome. T ...
, Rome's equivalent to the
Twelve Olympians file:Greek - Procession of Twelve Gods and Goddesses - Walters 2340.jpg, upright=1.8, Fragment of a Hellenistic relief sculpture, relief (1st century BC1st century AD) depicting the twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from le ...
of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess
Demeter In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and Cult (religious practice), cult ...

Demeter
,''Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia'',
The Book People The Book People Ltd. is an online bookseller. Founded in 1988, in the UK, The Book People sells books, gifts, toys and stationery through its website. The Book People was recently acquired by Retail Ecommerce Ventures, a holding company that buy ...
, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.
whose
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
was reinterpreted for Ceres in
Roman art The art of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A his ...
and
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...
.


Etymology and origins

The name ''Cerēs'' stems from
Proto-Italic The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages The Italic languages form a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of t ...
''*kerēs'' ('with grain, Ceres'), ultimately from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
''*ḱerh₃-os'' ('nourishment'), a derivative of the
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large grou ...
''*ḱerh₃-'', meaning 'to feed'. Ancient Roman etymologists thought that ''ceres'' derived from the Latin verb ''gerere'', "to bear, bring forth, produce", because the goddess was linked to
pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with this is called ''he ...
, agricultural and human fertility. Archaic cults to Ceres are well-evidenced among Rome's neighbours in the Regal period, including the ancient
Latins The Latins were originally an Italic tribe The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a groupi ...
,
Oscans The Osci (also called Oscans, Opici, Opsci, Obsci, Opicans) were an Italic people The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group identified by their use of Italic languages a branch of the Indo-European language family. The Italic peoples ...
and
Sabellians Sabellians is a collective ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος, ''éthnos'', "nation" and , ''ónoma'', "name") is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (whose name of the ethnic ...
, less certainly among the
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () of ancient Italy The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civilization, Etruscans, and Celts ha ...
and
Umbrians The Umbri were an Italic people of ancient Italy. A region called Umbria still exists and is now occupied by Italian speakers. It is somewhat smaller than the Regio VI Umbria, ancient Umbria. Most ancient Umbrian cities were settled in the 9th-4th ...
. An archaic Faliscan inscription of c. 600 BC asks her to provide ''far'' (
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the ...

spelt
wheat), which was a dietary staple of the
Mediterranean world The history of the Mediterranean region and of the cultures and people of the Mediterranean Basin is important for understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Ancient Egypt, Egyptian, Canaanites, Canaanite, Phoenician, History of ...
. Throughout the Roman era, Ceres' name was synonymous with grain and, by extension, with bread.


Cults and cult themes


Agricultural fertility

Ceres was credited with the discovery of
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the ...

spelt
wheat (Latin ''far''), the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing, protection and nourishing of the young seed, and the gift of agriculture to humankind; before this, it was said, man had subsisted on acorns, and wandered without settlement or laws. She had the power to fertilize, multiply and fructify plant and animal seed, and her laws and rites protected all activities of the agricultural cycle. In January, Ceres (alongside the earth-goddess Tellus) was offered spelt wheat and a pregnant sow, at the movable ''
Feria ''Feria'' is a day other than the sabbath day In Abrahamic religions, the Sabbath (; ) is a day set aside for rest and worship. According to the Book of Exodus, the Sabbath is a day of rest on the seventh day, Ten Commandments, commanded by God t ...

Feria
e
Sementivae Sementivae, also known as Feriae Sementivae or Sementina dies (in the country called Paganalia), was a Roman festival Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of Roman religious life during both the Republican Republican can ref ...
''. This was almost certainly held before the annual sowing of grain. The divine portion of sacrifice was the entrails ''()'' presented in an earthenware pot ''(
olla An olla is a ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant Corrosion is a Erosion, natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide, hydroxide, ...
).'' In a rural context,
Cato the Elder Marcus Porcius Cato (; 234–149 BC), also known as Cato the Censor ( la, Censorius), the Elder and the Wise, was a Roman soldier, senator A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicam ...
describes the offer to Ceres of a ''porca praecidanea'' (a pig, offered before the sowing). Before the harvest, she was offered a propitiary grain sample (''praemetium''). Ovid tells that Ceres "is content with little, provided that her offerings are
casta () is a term which means "lineage" in Spanish and Portuguese and has historically been used as a racial and social identifier. It has been interpreted by certain historians during the 20th century to describe mixed-race individuals in New Spai ...
" (pure). Ceres' main festival,
Cerealia In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
, was held from mid to late April. It was organised by her
plebeian In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizenship, Roman citizens who were not Patrician (ancient Rome), patricians, as determined by the capite censi, census, or in other words "commoners". Both ...
aedile Aedile ( ; la, aedīlis , from , "temple edifice") was an elected office of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to ...
s and included circus games (''
ludi circenses ''Ludi'' (Latin plural) were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the SPQR, Roman people (''populus Romanus''). ''Ludi'' were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Religion in ancient Rome, Roman relig ...

ludi circenses
''). It opened with a horse-race in the
Circus Maximus The Circus Maximus (Latin for "largest circus"; Italian language, Italian: ''Circo Massimo'') is an ancient Rome, ancient Roman chariot racing, chariot-racing stadium and mass entertainment venue in Rome, Italy. In the valley between the Aventin ...

Circus Maximus
, whose starting point lay below and opposite to her Aventine Temple; the turning post at the far end of the Circus was sacred to
Consus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, i ...
, a god of grain-storage. After the race, foxes were released into the Circus, their tails ablaze with lighted torches, perhaps to cleanse the growing crops and protect them from disease and vermin, or to add warmth and vitality to their growth. From c.175 BC, Cerealia included ''
ludi scaenici The architectural form of theatre in Rome has been linked to later, more well-known examples from the 1st century BC to the 3rd Century AD. The Theatre of ancient Rome referred to as a period of time in which theatrical practice and performance t ...
'' (theatrical religious events) through April 12 to 18.


Helper gods

In the ancient ''sacrum cereale'' a priest, probably the Flamen Cerialis, invoked Ceres (and probably Tellus) along with twelve specialised, minor assistant-gods to secure divine help and protection at each stage of the grain cycle, beginning shortly before the Feriae Sementivae. W.H. Roscher lists these deities among the ''
indigitamenta In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are ofte ...
'', names used to invoke specific divine functions. * Vervactor, "He who ploughs" * Reparātor, "He who prepares the earth" * Imporcĭtor, "He who ploughs with a wide furrow" * Insitor, "He who plants seeds" * Obarātor, "He who traces the first ploughing" * Occātor, "He who harrows" * Serritor, "He who digs" * Subruncinator, "He who weeds" * Mĕssor, "He who reaps" * Convector, "He who carries the grain" * Conditor, "He who stores the grain" * Promitor, "He who distributes the grain"


Marriage, human fertility and nourishment

In Roman bridal processions, a young boy carried Ceres' torch to light the way; "the most auspicious wood for wedding torches came from the ''spina alba'', the , which bore many fruits and hence symbolised fertility". The adult males of the wedding party waited at the groom's house. A wedding sacrifice was offered to Tellus on the bride's behalf; a sow is the most likely
victim Victim may refer to: Films and television * ''The Victim'' (1916 film), an American silent film by the Fox Film Corporation starring vamp Valeska Suratt * ''The Victim'' (1930 film), an American film starring Frank Orth and Esther Howard * Vict ...
. Varro describes the sacrifice of a pig as "a worthy mark of weddings" because "our women, and especially nurses" call the female genitalia ''porcus'' (pig). Spaeth (1996) believes Ceres may have been included in the sacrificial dedication, because she is closely identified with Tellus and, as ''Ceres legifera'' (law-bearer), she "bears the laws" of marriage. In the most solemn form of marriage, ''confarreatio'', the bride and groom shared a cake made of far, the ancient wheat-type particularly associated with Ceres. From at least the mid-republican era, an official, joint cult to Ceres and Proserpina reinforced Ceres' connection with Roman ideals of female virtue. The promotion of this cult coincides with the rise of a plebeian nobility, an increased birthrate among plebeian commoners, and a fall in the birthrate among patrician families. The late Republican ''Ceres Mater'' (Mother Ceres) is described as ''genetrix'' (progenitress) and ''alma'' (nourishing); in the early Imperial era she becomes an Imperial deity, and receives joint cult with
Ops OPS may refer to: Organizations * Obscene Publications Squad, a former unit of the Metropolitan Police in London, England * Oceanic Preservation Society * Office of Public Safety, a former US government agency *Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbour ...

Ops
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, Ceres' own mother in Imperial guise and a bountiful genetrix in her own right. Several of Ceres' ancient Italic precursors are connected to human fertility and motherhood; the Pelignan goddess '' Angitia Cerealis'' has been identified with the Roman goddess
Angerona In Religion in ancient Rome, Roman religion, Angerona or Angeronia was an old Roman goddess, whose name and functions are variously explained. She is sometimes identified with the goddess Feronia (mythology), Feronia. Description According to an ...
(associated with childbirth).


Laws

Ceres was patron and protector of plebeian laws, rights and
Tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...

Tribune
s. Her Aventine Temple served the plebeians as cult centre, legal archive, treasury and possibly law-court; its foundation was contemporaneous with the passage of the
Lex Sacrata Lex or LEX may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Lex'', a daily featured column Financial Times#The Lex column, in the ''Financial Times'' Games * Lex, the mascot of the word-forming puzzle video game Bookworm (video game), ''Bookworm'' * Lex ...
, which established the office and person of plebeian aediles and tribunes as inviolate representatives of the Roman people. Tribunes were legally immune to arrest or threat, and the lives and property of those who violated this law were forfeit to Ceres. The
Lex Hortensia The ''lex Hortensia'', also sometimes referred to as the Hortensian law, was a law passed in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in ...
of 287 BC extended plebeian laws to the city and all its citizens. The official decrees of the Senate (''senatus consulta'') were placed in Ceres' Temple, under the guardianship of the goddess and her aediles. Livy puts the reason bluntly: the consuls could no longer seek advantage for themselves by arbitrarily tampering with the laws of Rome. The Temple might also have offered asylum for those threatened with
arbitrary arrest Arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention are the arrest An arrest is the act of apprehending and taking a person into custody (legal protection or control), usually because the person has been suspected of or observed committing a crime ...
by patrician magistrates. Ceres' temple, games and cult were at least part-funded by fines imposed on those who offended the laws placed under her protection; the poet Vergil later calls her ''legifera Ceres'' (Law-bearing Ceres), a translation of Demeter's Greek epithet, '' thesmophoros''. As Ceres' first plough-furrow opened the earth (Tellus' realm) to the world of men and created the first field and its boundary, her laws determined the course of settled, lawful, civilised life. Crimes against fields and harvest were crimes against the people and their protective deity. Landowners who allowed their flocks to graze on public land were fined by the plebeian aediles, on behalf of Ceres and the people of Rome. Ancient laws of the
Twelve Tables The ''Law of the Twelve tables'' ( la, Leges Duodecim Tabularum or ) was the legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand y ...
forbade the magical charming of field crops from a neighbour's field into one's own, and invoked the death penalty for the illicit removal of field boundaries. An adult who damaged or stole field-crops should be hanged "for Ceres". Any youth guilty of the same offense was to be whipped or fined double the value of damage.


Poppies

Ceres' signs and iconography, like Demeter's from early Mycenae onwards, include poppies - symbolic of fertility, sleep, death and rebirth. Poppies readily grow on soil disturbed by ploughing, as in wheatfields, and bear innumerable tiny seeds. They were raised as a crop by Greek and Roman farmers, partly for their fibrous stems and for the food value of their seeds Where the poppy capsule alone is shown, this probably belongs to the
opium poppy ''Papaver somniferum'', commonly known as the opium poppy or breadseed poppy, is a species of flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is deri ...

opium poppy
(''papaver somniferum'', the "sleep-bearing poppy". The Roman poet Vergil, in ''Georgics'', 1.212, describes this as ''Cereale papaver'', or "Ceres' poppy", which eases pain and brings sleep - the deepest sleep of all being death. Poppies are often woven into Ceres' wheat-stalk crown, the ''corona spicea'', worn by her priestesses and devotees.


Funerals

Ceres maintained the boundaries between the realms of the living and the dead, and was an essential presence at funerals. Given the appropriate rites and offerings, she helped the deceased into afterlife as an underworld shade (
Di Manes In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, i ...
), else their spirit might remain to haunt the living, as a wandering,
vengeful ghost In mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that some ...
(
Lemur Lemurs ( ) (from Latin ''lemures'' – ghosts or spirits) are wet-nosed primates of the superfamily SUPERFAMILY is a database and search platform of structural and functional annotation for all proteins and genomes. It classifies amino acid s ...
). For this service, well-off families offered Ceres sacrifice of a pig. The poor could offer wheat, flowers, and a libation. The expected afterlife for the exclusively female initiates in the ''sacra Cereris'' may have been somewhat different; they were offered "a method of living" and of "dying with better hope".


The ''mundus'' of Ceres

The ''mundus cerialis'' (literally "the world" of Ceres or ''Caereris mundus'') was a hemispherical pit or underground vault in Rome. Its location is uncertain. It was usually sealed by a stone lid known as the ''
lapis manalis A ''lapis manalis'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
''. On August 24, October 5 and November 8, it was opened with the official announcement "''mundus patet''" ("the ''mundus'' is open"), and offerings were made there to agricultural or underworld deities, including Ceres as goddess of the fruitful earth and guardian of its underworld portals. Its opening offered the spirits of the dead temporary leave from the underworld, to roam lawfully among the living, in what Warde Fowler describes as ‘holidays, so to speak, for the ghosts’. The days when the mundus was open were among the very few occasions that Romans made official contact with the collective spirits of the dead, the ''Di Manes'' (the others being
Parentalia In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a ...
and
Lemuralia The Lemuralia or Lemuria was a feast in the religion of ancient Rome during which the Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus ...
). This secondary or late function of the ''mundus'' is attested no earlier than the Late Republican Era, by
Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was a Roman polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known ...
. The jurist
Cato Cato typically refers to either Cato the Elder or Cato the Younger, both of the Porcii Catones family of Rome. It may also refer to any of the following: People Romans, in the family Porcii Catones * Cato the Elder (Cato Maior) or "the Censor" ...
understood the mundus' shape as a reflection or inversion of the dome of the upper heavens. Roman tradition held that the ''mundus'' had been dug and sealed by
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
as part of Rome's foundation; Plutarch compares it to pits dug by Etruscan colonists, containing soil brought from their parent city, used to dedicate the first fruits of the harvest. Warde Fowler speculates the ''mundus'' as Rome's first storehouse (''penus'') for seed-grain, later becoming the symbolic ''penus'' of the Roman state. In the oldest known Roman calendar, the days of the ''mundus'' are marked as C(omitiales) (days when the
Comitia #REDIRECT Legislative assemblies of the Roman Republic The legislative assemblies of the Roman Republic were political institutions in the ancient Roman Republic. According to the contemporary historian Polybius, it was the people (and thus the a ...
met). Later authors mark them as ''dies religiosus'' (when no official meetings could be held). Some modern scholars seek to explain this as the later introduction and accommodation of Greek elements, grafted onto the original ''mundus'' rites. The rites of August 24 were held between the agricultural festivals of
Consualia The Consuales Ludi or Consualia was the name of two Roman festival, ancient Roman festivals in honor of Consus, a tutelary deity of the harvest and stored grain. ''Consuales Ludi'' Harvest festival, harvest festivals were held on August 21,Plutarc ...
and
Opiconsivia The Opiconsivia (or Opeconsiva or Opalia) was an ancient Roman religious festival held August 25 in honor of Ops OPS may refer to: Organizations * Obscene Publications Squad, a former unit of the Metropolitan Police in London, England * Oceanic ...
; those of October 5 followed the '' Ieiunium Cereris'', and those of November 8 took place during the Plebeian Games. As a whole, the various days of the ''mundus'' suggest rites to Ceres as the guardian deity of seed-corn in the establishment of cities, and as a door-warden of the afterlife, which was co-ruled during the winter months by her daughter Proserpina, queen-companion to Dis.


Expiations

In Roman theology, prodigies were abnormal phenomena that manifested divine anger at human impiety. In Roman histories, prodigies cluster around perceived or actual threats to the Roman state, in particular, famine, war and social disorder, and are expiated as matters of urgency. The establishment of Ceres' Aventine cult has itself been interpreted as an extraordinary expiation after the failure of crops and consequent famine. In Livy's history, Ceres is among the deities placated after a remarkable series of prodigies that accompanied the disasters of the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

Second Punic War
: during the same conflict, a lightning strike at her temple was expiated. A fast in her honour is recorded for 191 BC, to be repeated at 5-year intervals. After 206, she was offered at least 11 further official expiations. Many of these were connected to famine and manifestations of plebeian unrest, rather than war. From the Middle Republic onwards, expiation was increasingly addressed to her as mother to Proserpina. The last known followed Rome's Great Fire of 64 AD. The cause or causes of the fire remained uncertain, but its disastrous extent was taken as a sign of offense against
Juno Juno commonly refers to: *Juno (mythology), the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods *Juno (film), ''Juno'' (film), 2007 Juno may also refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Fictional characters *Juno, in the film ''Jenny, Juno'' *Jun ...
,
Vulcan Vulcan may refer to: Mythology * Vulcan (mythology), the god of fire, volcanoes, metalworking, and the forge in Roman mythology Arts, entertainment and media Film and television * Vulcan (Star Trek), Vulcan (''Star Trek''), name of a fictional ra ...
, and Ceres-with-Proserpina, who were all were given expiatory cult. Champlin (2003) perceives the expiations to Vulcan and Ceres in particular as attempted populist appeals by the ruling emperor,
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
.


Myths and theology

The complex and multi-layered origins of the Aventine Triad and Ceres herself allowed multiple interpretations of their relationships; Cicero asserts Ceres as mother to both Liber and Libera, consistent with her role as a mothering deity. Varro's more complex theology groups her functionally with Tellus, Terra, Venus (and thus Victoria) and with Libera as a female aspect of Liber. No native Roman myths of Ceres are known. According to ''
interpretatio romana ''Interpretatio graeca'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the pow ...
'', by which Roman deities were identified with their Greek counterparts, she was an equivalent to Demeter, one of the
Twelve Olympians file:Greek - Procession of Twelve Gods and Goddesses - Walters 2340.jpg, upright=1.8, Fragment of a Hellenistic relief sculpture, relief (1st century BC1st century AD) depicting the twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from le ...
of Greek religion and mythology; this made Ceres one of Rome's twelve
Di Consentes The ''Dii Consentes'', also known as ''Di'' or ''Dei Consentes'' (once ''Dii Complices''), is an ancient list of twelve major deities, six gods and six goddesses, in the pantheon of Ancient Rome. Their gilt statues stood in the Roman Forum ...
, daughter of
Saturn Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; how ...
and
Ops OPS may refer to: Organizations * Obscene Publications Squad, a former unit of the Metropolitan Police in London, England * Oceanic Preservation Society * Office of Public Safety, a former US government agency *Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbour ...

Ops
, sister of
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
, mother of
Proserpina Proserpina ( , ) or Proserpine ( ) is an ancient Roman goddess A goddess is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditi ...

Proserpina
by Jupiter and sister of
Juno Juno commonly refers to: *Juno (mythology), the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods *Juno (film), ''Juno'' (film), 2007 Juno may also refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Fictional characters *Juno, in the film ''Jenny, Juno'' *Jun ...
, Vesta,
Neptune Neptune is the eighth and farthest-known Solar planet from the Sun. In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. It is 17 times the mass of Earth, slightly mo ...
and Dis. Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's:
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
likens Ceres' devotion to her own offspring to that of a cow to its calf; but she is also the originator of bloody animal sacrifice, a necessity in the renewal of life. She has a particular enmity towards her own sacrificial animal, the pig. Pigs offend her by their destructive rooting-up of field crops under her protection; and in the myth of Proserpina's abduction on the plains of
Henna Henna is a dye A dye is a color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories called ''blue'', ''green'', ...

Henna
(Enna), her tracks were obscured by their trampling. If not for them, Ceres might have been spared the toils and grief of her lengthy search and separation, and humankind would have been spared the consequent famine. The myth is also a reminder that the gift of agriculture is a contract, and comes at a price. It brings well-being but also mortality. Enna, in
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, had strong mythological connections with Ceres and Proserpina, and was the site of Ceres most ancient sanctuary. Flowers were said to bloom throughout the year on its "miraculous plain".


Temples

Vitruvius Vitruvius (; c. 80–70 BC – after c. 15 BC) was a Roman architect and engineer during the 1st century BC, known for his multi-volume work entitled ''De architectura (''On architecture'', published as ''Ten Books on Architecture'') i ...

Vitruvius
(c.80 – 15 BC) describes the "Temple of Ceres near the Circus Maximus" (her Aventine Temple) as typically
Araeostyle Araeostyle (Latin: ''araeostylos,'' from grc, ἀραιόστυλος, from αραιος, "weak" or "widely spaced", and grc, στυλος, "column") is one of five categories of intercolumniation (the spacing between the Column, columns of a colo ...
, having widely spaced supporting columns, with
architrave In classical architecture, an architrave (; from it, architrave "chief beam", also called an epistyle; from Ancient Greek, Greek ἐπίστυλον ''epistylon'' "door frame") is the lintel (architecture), lintel or beam (structure), beam t ...

architrave
s of wood, rather than stone. This species of temple is "clumsy, heavy roofed, low and wide,
pediment Pediments are gablesGables may refer to: * The plural of gable, portion of walls between the lines of sloping roofs * Ken Gables (1919-1960), Major League Baseball pitcher * Gables, Nebraska, an unincorporated community in the United States * Ga ...

pediment
s ornamented with statues of clay or brass, gilt in the ". He recommends that temples to Ceres be sited in rural areas: "in a solitary spot out of the city, to which the public are not necessarily led but for the purpose of sacrificing to her. This spot is to be reverenced with religious awe and solemnity of demeanour, by those whose affairs lead them to visit it." During the early Imperial era, soothsayers advised
Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – c. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger (), was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study ...

Pliny the Younger
to restore an ancient, "old and narrow" temple to Ceres, at his rural property near
Como Como (, ; lmo, Còmm, label=Comasco Comasco is a dialect of Western Lombard language spoken in the city and suburbs of Como. It belongs to the Comasco-Lecchese group. Characteristics It shares similarities with Milanese, but more pre ...

Como
. It contained an ancient wooden cult statue of the goddess, which he replaced. Though this was unofficial, private cult (''sacra privata'') its annual feast on the of September, the same day as the
Epulum Jovis In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
, was attended by pilgrims from all over the region. Pliny considered this rebuilding a fulfillment of his civic and religious duty.


Images of Ceres

No images of Ceres survive from her pre-Aventine cults; the earliest date to the middle Republic, and show the Hellenising influence of Demeter's iconography. Some late Republican images recall Ceres' search for Proserpina. Ceres bears a torch, sometimes two, and rides in a chariot drawn by snakes; or she sits on the sacred ''kiste'' (chest) that conceals the objects of her mystery rites. Sometimes she holds a
caduceus The caduceus (☤; ; la, cādūceus, from grc-gre, κηρύκειον "herald's wand, or staff") is the staff carried by Hermes Hermes (; grc-gre, Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian deity in ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, ...

caduceus
, a symbol of
Pax#REDIRECT Pax PaX is a patch Patch may refer to: Places * Patch, St. Louis, a neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri * Patch, Gwbert, South Ceredigion, Wales People * Patch Adams, a.k.a. Hunter Adams (born 1945), founder of the Gesundheit! ...
(Roman goddess of Peace). Augustan reliefs show her emergence, plant-like from the earth, her arms entwined by snakes, her outstretched hands bearing poppies and wheat, or her head crowned with fruits and vines. In free-standing statuary, she commonly wears a wheat-crown, or holds a wheat spray. Moneyers of the Republican era use Ceres' image, wheat ears and garlands to advertise their connections with prosperity, the annona and the popular interest. Some Imperial coin images depict important female members of the Imperial family as Ceres, or with some of her attributes.


Priesthoods

Ceres was served by several public priesthoods. Some were male; her senior priest, the ''flamen cerialis'', also served Tellus and was usually plebeian by ancestry or adoption. Her public cult at the
Ambarvalia Ambarvalia was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of ...
, or "perambulation of fields" identified her with
Dea Dia Dea Dia (Latin: "Goddess of Daylight", or "Bright Goddess") was a goddess of fertility and growth in ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to defin ...
, and was led by the
Arval Brethren In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
("The Brothers of the Fields"); rural versions of these rites were led as private cult by the . An inscription at
Capua Capua (, ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Capua
names a male ''sacerdos Cerialis mundalis'', a priest dedicated to Ceres' rites of the ''mundus''. The Aedile, plebeian aediles had minor or occasional priestly functions at Ceres' Aventine Temple and were responsible for its management and financial affairs including collection of fines, the organisation of ''ludi Cerealia'' and probably the Cerealia itself. Their ''cure'' (care and jurisdiction) included, or came to include, the Grain supply to the city of Rome#Grain supply made an official responsibility, grain supply (''annona'') and later the plebeian grain doles (''frumentationes''), the organisation and management of public Ludi, games in general, and the maintenance of Rome's streets and public buildings. Otherwise, in Rome and throughout Italy, as at her ancient sanctuaries of Henna and Catena, Ceres' ''ritus graecus'' and her joint cult with Proserpina were invariably led by female ''sacerdotes'', drawn from local and Roman elites: Cicero notes that once the new cult had been founded, its earliest priestesses "generally were either from Naples or Velia", cities allied or federated to Rome. Elsewhere, he describes Ceres' Sicilian priestesses as "older women respected for their noble birth and character". Celibacy may have been a condition of their office; sexual abstinence was, according to Ovid, required of those attending Ceres' major, nine-day festival. Her Sacerdos Cereris, public priesthood was reserved to respectable matrons, be they married, divorced or widowed. The process of their selection and their relationship to Ceres' older, entirely male priesthood is unknown; but they far outnumbered her few male priests, and would have been highly respected and influential figures in their own communities.


Cult development


Archaic and Regal eras

Roman tradition credited Ceres' eponymous festival,
Cerealia In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
, to Rome's second king, the semi-legendary Numa Pompilius, Numa. Ceres' senior, male priesthood was a Flamen, minor flaminate whose establishment and rites were supposedly also innovations of Numa. Her affinity and joint cult with Tellus, also known as Terra Mater (Mother Earth) may have developed at this time. Much later, during the Principate, early Imperial era,
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
describes these goddesses as "partners in labour"; Ceres provides the "cause" for the growth of crops, while Tellus provides them a place to grow.


Republican era


Ceres and the Aventine Triad

In 496 BC, against a background of economic recession and famine in Rome, imminent war against the Latins and a threatened secession by Rome's plebs (citizen commoners), the Roman dictator, dictator Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis, A. Postumius Votum, vowed a temple to Ceres, Liber and Libera (mythology), Libera on or near the Aventine Hill. The famine ended and Rome's plebeian citizen-soldiery co-operated in the conquest of the Latins. Postumius' vow was fulfilled in 493 BC: Ceres became the central deity of the new Triple deity#List of triple deities, Triad, housed in a Aventine Triad, new-built Aventine temple. She was also – or became – the patron goddess of the ''plebs'', whose enterprise as tenant farmers, estate managers, agricultural factors and importers was a mainstay of Roman agriculture. Much of Rome's grain was imported from territories of Magna Graecia, particularly from
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, which later Roman mythographers describe as Ceres' "earthly home". Writers of the Roman Republic#Late Republic (147–30 BC), late Roman Republic and early Empire describe Ceres' Aventine temple and rites as conspicuously Greek. In modern scholarship, this is taken as further evidence of long-standing connections between the plebeians, Ceres and Magna Graecia. It also raises unanswered questions on the nature, history and character of these associations: the Triad itself may have been a self-consciously Roman cult formulation based on Greco-Italic precedents. When a new form of Cerean cult was officially imported from Magna Graecia, it was known as the ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#ritus graecus, ritus graecus'' (Greek rite) of Ceres, and was distinct from her older Roman rites.Spaeth, 1996, pp. 4, 6–13. For discussion of ''ritus graecus'' and its relation to Ceres' cult, see Scheid, pp. 15–31. The older forms of Aventine rites to Ceres remain uncertain. Most Roman cults were led by men, and the officiant's head was Glossary of ancient Roman religion#capite velato, covered by a fold of his toga. In the Roman ''ritus graecus'', a male celebrant wore Greek-style vestments, and remained bareheaded before the deity, or else wore a wreath. While Ceres' original Aventine cult was led by male priests, her "Greek rites" (''ritus graecus Cereris'') were exclusively female.


Middle Republic


Ceres and Proserpina

Towards the end of the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

Second Punic War
, around 205 BC, an officially recognised joint cult to Ceres and her daughter
Proserpina Proserpina ( , ) or Proserpine ( ) is an ancient Roman goddess A goddess is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditi ...

Proserpina
was brought to Rome from southern Italy (part of Magna Graecia) along with Greek priestesses to serve it. In Rome, this was known as the ''ritus graecus Cereris''; its priestesses were granted Roman citizenship so that they could pray to the gods "with a foreign and external knowledge, but with a domestic and civil intention". The cult was based on ancient, ethnically Greek cults to Demeter, most notably the Thesmophoria to
Demeter In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and Cult (religious practice), cult ...

Demeter
and Persephone, whose cults and myths also provided a basis for the Eleusinian mysteries. From the end of the 3rd century BC, Demeter's temple at Enna, in
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, was acknowledged as Ceres' oldest, most authoritative cult centre, and Libera was recognised as Proserpina, Roman equivalent to Demeter's daughter Persephone. Their joint cult recalls Demeter's search for Persephone, after the latter's rape and abduction into the underworld by Hades. The new cult to "mother and maiden" took its place alongside the old, but made no reference to Liber. Thereafter, Ceres was offered two separate and distinctive forms of official cult at the Aventine. Both might have been supervised by the male Flamen#Flamines minores, flamen Cerialis but otherwise, their relationship is unclear. The older form of cult included both men and women, and probably remained a focus for plebeian political identity and discontent. The new identified its exclusively females initiates and priestesses as upholders of Rome's traditional, Patrician (ancient Rome), patrician-dominated social hierarchy and mos maiorum, morality.


Ceres and Magna Mater

A year after the import of the ''ritus cereris'', patrician senators imported cult to the Greek goddess Cybele and established her as Magna Mater (The Great Mother) within Rome's Pomerium, sacred boundary, facing the Aventine Hill. Like Ceres, Cybele was a form of Graeco-Roman earth goddess. Unlike her, she had mythological ties to Troy, and thus to the Trojan prince Aeneas, mythological ancestor of Founding of Rome, Rome's founding father and first patrician
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
. The establishment of official Roman cult to Magna Mater coincided with the start of a new ''saeculum'' (cycle of years). It was followed by Hannibal's defeat, the end of the Punic War and an exceptionally good harvest. Roman victory and recovery could therefore be credited to Magna Mater and patrician piety: so the patricians dined her and each other at her festival banquets. In similar fashion, the plebeian nobility underlined their claims to Ceres. Up to a point, the two cults reflected a social and political divide, but when certain prodigies were interpreted as evidence of Ceres' displeasure, the senate appeased her with a new festival, the ''ieiunium Cereris'' ("fasting, fast of Ceres"). In 133 BC, the Nobiles, plebeian noble and tribune Tiberius Gracchus bypassed the Roman senate, Senate and appealed directly to the popular assembly to pass his proposed agrarian law, land-reforms. Civil unrest spilled into violence; Gracchus and many of his supporters were murdered by their conservative opponents. At the behest of the Sibylline Books, Sibylline oracle, the senate sent the Quindecimviri sacris faciundis, quindecimviri to Ceres' ancient cult centre at
Henna Henna is a dye A dye is a color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories called ''blue'', ''green'', ...

Henna
in
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, the goddess' supposed place of origin and earthly home. Some kind of religious consultation or propitiation was given, either to expiate Gracchus' murder – as later Roman sources would claim – or to justify it as the lawful killing of a would-be king or Demagogy, demagogue, a ''homo sacer'' who had offended Ceres' laws against tyranny.


Late Republic

The Eleusinian mysteries became increasingly popular during the late Republic. Early Roman initiates at Eleusis in Greece included Sulla and Cicero; thereafter many Roman emperor, Emperors were initiated, including Hadrian, who founded an Eleusinian cult centre in Rome itself. In Late Republican politics, Optimates, aristocratic traditionalists and Populares, popularists used coinage to propagate their competing claims to Ceres' favour. A coin of Sulla shows Ceres on one side, and on the other a ploughman with yoked oxen: the images, accompanied by the legend ''"conditor"'' ("he who stores the grain") claim his rule (a military dictatorship) as regenerative and divinely justified. Popularists used her name and attributes to appeal their guardianship of plebeian interests, particularly the ''annona'' and ''frumentarium''; and plebeian nobles and aediles used them to point out their ancestral connections with plebeians as commoners. In the decades of Civil War that ushered in the Empire, such images and dedications proliferate on Rome's coinage: Julius Caesar, his opponents, his assassins and his heirs alike claimed the favour and support of Ceres and her plebeian proteges, with coin issues that celebrate Ceres, ''Libertas'' (liberty) and Victoria (mythology), Victoria (victory).


Imperial era

Imperial theology conscripted Rome's traditional cults as the divine upholders of Imperial Pax (mythology), Pax (peace) and prosperity, for the benefit of all. The emperor Augustus began the restoration of Ceres' Aventine Temple; his successor Tiberius completed it. Of the several figures on the Augustan Ara Pacis, one doubles as a portrait of the Empress Livia, who wears Ceres' ''corona spicea''. Another has been variously identified in modern scholarship as Tellus, Venus, Pax or Ceres, or in Spaeth's analysis, a deliberately broad composite of them all. The emperor Claudius' reformed the grain supply and created its embodiment as an Imperial goddess, Annona (goddess), Annona, a junior partner to Ceres and the Imperial family. The traditional, Cerean virtues of provision and nourishment were symbolically extended to Imperial family members; some coinage shows Claudius' mother Antonia Minor, Antonia as an Augustus (honorific), Augusta, wearing the ''corona spicea''. The relationship between the reigning emperor, empress and Ceres was formalised in titles such as
Augusta Augusta may refer to: Places Australia * Augusta, Western Australia Brasil * Rua Augusta (São Paulo) Canada * Augusta, Ontario * North Augusta, Ontario * Augusta Street (Hamilton, Ontario) France * Augusta Suessionum ("Augusta of the Suessii" ...
mater agrorum ("The august mother of the fields) and ''Ceres Augusta''. On coinage, various emperors and empresses wear her ''corona spicea'', showing that the goddess, the emperor and his spouse are conjointly responsible for agricultural prosperity and the all-important provision of grain. A coin of Nerva (reigned AD 96–98) acknowledges Rome's dependence on the princeps' gift of ''frumentio'' (corn dole) to the masses. Under Nerva's later dynastic successor Antoninus Pius, Imperial theology represents the death and apotheosis of the Empress Faustina the Elder as Ceres' return to Olympus by Jupiter (mythology), Jupiter's command. Even then, "her care for mankind continues and the world can rejoice in the warmth of her daughter Proserpina: in Imperial flesh, Proserpina is Faustina the Younger", empress-wife of Pius' successor Marcus Aurelius. In Britain, a soldier's inscription of the 2nd century AD attests to Ceres' role in the popular syncretism of the times. She is "the bearer of ears of corn", the "Syrian Goddess", identical with the universal heavenly Mother, the Magna Mater and Virgo (constellation)#Mythology, Virgo, virgin mother of the gods. She is peace and virtue, and inventor of justice: she weighs "Life and Right" in her scale. During the Late Imperial era, Ceres gradually "slips into obscurity"; the last known official association of the Imperial family with her symbols is a coin issue of Septimius Severus (AD 193–211), showing his empress, Julia Domna, in the ''corona spicea''. After the reign of Claudius Gothicus, no coinage shows Ceres' image. Even so, an initiate of her mysteries is attested in the 5th century AD, after the official abolition of all non-Christian cults.Spaeth, 1996, pp. 30, 62, citing EE 4.866 for the 5th century ''mystes Cereris''.


Legacy

The word cereal derives from Ceres, commemorating her association with edible grains. The dwarf planet Ceres (dwarf planet), Ceres (discovered 1801), is named after this goddess. And in turn, the chemical element cerium (discovered 1803) was named after the dwarf planet. She is remembered in ''De Mulieribus Claris'', a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florence, Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, composed in 136162. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature. Ceres appears as a character in William Shakespeare's play ''The Tempest'' (1611). An aria in praise of Ceres is sung in Act 4 of the opera ''The Trojans'' by Hector Berlioz. A poem about Ceres and humanity features in Dmitri's confession to his brother Alexei in Dostoevsky's 1880 novel ''The Brothers Karamazov'', Part 1, Book 3, Chapter 3. The 1937-1940 French 50-franc note depicts Ceres in the Garden of Versailles. Ceres was depicted on several ten and twenty Confederate States of America dollar notes. Ceres is one of the three goddess offices held in The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The other goddesses are Pomona (mythology), Pomona, and Flora (deity), Flora. Ceres is depicted on the Seal of New Jersey as a symbol of prosperity. Statues of Ceres top the domes of the Missouri State Capitol and the Vermont State House, serving as a reminder of the importance of agriculture in the states' economies and histories. There is also a statue of her on top of the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which conducts trading in agricultural commodities.


See also

* Corn mother *
Consus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, i ...
* Dewi Sri * Po Sop


Notes and references


Bibliography

*Benko, Stephen, The virgin goddess: studies in the pagan and Christian roots of mariology, BRILL, 2004. * *Room, Adrian, ''Who's Who in Classical Mythology'', p. 89-90. NTC Publishing 1990. . *John Scheid, Scheid, John, "Graeco Ritu: A Typically Roman Way of Honoring the Gods," ''Harvard Studies in Classical Philology'', 97, Greece in Rome: Influence, Integration, Resistance, 1995, pp. 15–31. *Schultz, Celia E., ''Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic (Studies in the History of Greece and Rome)'', University of North Carolina Press, 2006. *Barbette Spaeth, Spaeth, Barbette Stanley, "The Goddess Ceres and the Death of Tiberius Gracchus", ''Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte'', Vol. 39, No. 2, 1990. *Spaeth, Barbette Stanley, ''The Roman goddess Ceres'', University of Texas Press, 1996. . *Staples, Ariadne, ''From Good Goddess to vestal virgins: sex and category in Roman religion'', Routledge, 1998. *Wiseman, T.P., ''Remus: a Roman myth'', Cambridge University Press, 1995


External links


Warburg Institute Iconographic Database (ca 350 images of Ceres)
{{Authority control Agricultural goddesses Fertility goddesses Harvest goddesses Mother goddesses Nature goddesses Roman goddesses Demeter ckb:سێریس