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Ceres

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Ceres

Ceres, goddess of vegetation and harvest. It was in a special way related to the grain. She had the power to increase and even resurrect. The Romans identified it with the Greek Demeter, probably from the 5th century BCE. Daughter of Saturn and Ops. The sister and lover of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina. Her other siblings are: Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto.

A temple at the foot of the Aventine Hill was dedicated to her, originally built in the Etruscan style at the beginning of the 5th century BCE. The temple was also dedicated to the divine spouse’s Liber and Libera. After a fire in 31 BCE, it was renovated in the Corinthian style. During the republic, resolutions of the senate were stored there.
Another temple dedicated to the cult of Ceres is the temple in Ostia. It was built on a circular plan and its considerable remains have been preserved.

The cult of Ceres was popular with the commoners. Her feast of Cerialia (Ceriales) was celebrated on April 12, during which the first sheaves of grain were offered to the goddess. People dressed up in white clothes, and the poor received refreshments at the expense of the state. Her cult, spreading especially among women, later acquired some mystical features, although not to such an extent as, for example, the Eleusinian mysteries.

Sources
  • Kempiński Andrzej, Encyklopedia mitologii ludów indoeuropejskich, Warszawa 2001
  • Schmidt Joël, Słownik mitologii greckiej i rzymskiej, Katowice 1996

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