Reduced from £343.16 to £275.00
Authentic Ancient Coin of:
Antoninus Pius - Roman Emperor: 138-161 A.D.
Silver Denarius 18mm (3.40 grams) Rome mint 156-157 A.D.
Reference: RIC 250, BMC 851, C 985
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPIMPII - Laureate head right.
TRPOTXIXCOSIIII - Annona seated right, holding cornucopia; modius to right.
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The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form. Originating in classical antiquity, it has continued as a symbol in Western art, and it is particularly associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in North America.
Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens (ca. 1630)
Mythology offers multiple explanations of the origin of the cornucopia. One of the best-known involves the birth and nurturance of the infant Zeus, who had to be hidden from his devouring father Cronus. In a cave on Mount Ida on the island of Crete, baby Zeus was cared for and protected by a number of divine attendants, including the goat Amalthea ("Nourishing Goddess"), who fed him with her milk. The suckling future king of the gods had unusual abilities and strength, and in playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns, which then had the divine power to provide unending nourishment, as the foster mother had to the god.
In another myth, the cornucopia was created when Heracles (Roman Hercules) wrestled with the river god Achelous and wrenched off one of his horns; river gods were sometimes depicted as horned. This version is represented in the Achelous and Hercules mural painting by the American Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton.
The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the child Plutus, god of riches and son of the grain goddess Demeter; the nymph Maia; and Fortuna, the goddess of luck, who had the power to grant prosperity. In Roman Imperial cult, abstract Roman deities who fostered peace (pax Romana) and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, "Abundance" personified, and Annona, goddess of the grain supply to the city of Rome. Pluto, the classical ruler of the underworld in the mystery religions, was a giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth, and in art often holds a cornucopia to distinguish him from the gloomier Hades, who holds a drinking horn instead.
In modern depictions, the cornucopia is typically a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables. In North America, the cornucopia has come to be associated with Thanksgiving and the harvest. Cornucopia is also the name of the annual November Wine and Food celebration in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Two cornucopias are seen in the flag and state seal of Idaho. The Great Seal of North Carolina depicts Liberty standing and Plenty holding a cornucopia. The coat of arms of Colombia, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, and the Coat of Arms of the State of Victoria, Australia, also feature the cornucopia, symbolising prosperity.
The horn of plenty is used on body art and at Halloween, as it is a symbol of fertility, fortune and abundance.
Base of a statue of
Louis XV of France
In ancient Roman religion, Annona (from Latin annus, year is the divine personification of the grain supply to the city of Rome. She is closely connected to the goddess Ceres, with whom she is often depicted in art.
Annona, often as Annona Augusti, was a creation of Imperial religious propaganda, manifested in iconography and cult practice. She is presented as an epiphany of the emperor's power to care for his people through the provision of grain. Annona thus lacked narrative mythology or a tradition of devotion in the Roman Republic, but once established as part of Imperial cult, she was the recipient of dedications and votive offerings from private individuals motivated by gratitude or the seeking of favor.
In the propaganda of Claudius, the cult of Ceres Augusta made explicit the divine power that lay in the Imperial provision of the annona, the grain supply to the city. Annona Augusti appears on coins late in the reign of Nero, when the Cult of Virtues came into prominence in the wake of the Pisonian conspiracy. She embodied two of the material benefits of Imperial rule, along with Securitas Augusti, "Augustan Security," and often appeared as part of a pair with Ceres. On Neronian coinage, Ceres, Annona, and Abundantia ("Abundance") were closely associated.
Annona also appears on coins issued under Vespasian, where along with other Virtues she represents the restoration of confidence in the principate, and on the coinage of Titus, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Septimius Severus. She was a particular favorite in Trajan's propaganda, which sought to portray his reign as a renewal and a prosperous new era for mankind; hence Annona often appears with a symbolic child. In the context of Trajanic politics, Annona represented Rome's grain independence from its traditional supplier Egypt.
Annona is typically depicted with a cornucopia (horn of plenty) in her arm, and a ship's prow in the background, alluding to the transport of grain into the harbor of Rome. On coins, she frequently stands between a modius (grain-measure) and the prow of a galley, with ears of grain in one hand and a cornucopia in the other; sometimes she holds a rudder or an anchor.
File:Ceres of Mérida (cropped).jpg
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres ( Latin: Cerēs) was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres' games). She was also honoured in the May lustration of fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.
Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
Etymology and origins
Ceres' name may derive from the hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root *ker, meaning "to grow", which is also a possible root for many English words, such as "create", "cereal", "grow", "kernel", "corn", and "increase". Roman etymologists thought "ceres" derived from the Latin verb gerere, "to bear, bring forth, produce", because the goddess was linked to pastoral, agricultural and human fertility. Archaic cults to Ceres are well-evidenced among Rome's neighbours in the Regal period, including the ancient Latins, Oscans and Sabellians, less certainly among the Etruscans and Umbrians. An archaic Faliscan inscription of c.600 BC asks her to provide far (spelt wheat), which was a dietary staple of the Mediterranean world. Throughout the Roman era, Ceres' name was synonymous with grain and, by extension, with bread.
Cults and cult themes
Ceres was credited with the discovery of 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 fertilise, multiply and fructify plant and animal seed, and her laws and rites protected all activities of the agricultural cycle. In January, Ceres was offered spelt wheat and a pregnant sow, along with the earth-goddess Tellus at the movable Feriae Sementivae. This was almost certainly held before the annual sowing of grain. The divine portion of sacrifice was the entrails (exta) presented in an earthenware pot (olla). In a rural context, Cato the Elder 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" (pure).
Ceres' main festival, Cerealia, was held from mid to late April. It was organised by her plebeian aediles and included circus games (ludi circenses). It opened with a horse-race in the 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, 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 (theatrical religious events), held through April 12 to 18.
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 protection and assistance at each stage of the grain cycle, beginning shortly before the Feriae Sementivae. W.H. Roscher lists these deities among the indigitamenta, names used to invoke specific divine functions.
Vervactor, "He who ploughs"
Reparator, "He who prepares the earth"
Imporcitor, "He who ploughs with a wide furrow"
Insitor, "He who plants seeds"
Obarator, "He who traces the first plowing"
Occator, "He who harrows"
Serritor, "He who digs"
Subruncinator, "He who weeds"
Messor, "He who reaps"
Conuector (Convector), "He who carries the grain"
Conditor, "He who stores the grain"
Promitor, "He who distributes the grain"
Marriage, human fertility and nourishment
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 (associated with childbirth).
Ceres' torch was a mark of Roman weddings. Adult males were excluded from bridal processions; these took place at night and were headed by a young boy, who carried a torch in honour of Ceres. Pliny the Elder "notes that the most auspicious wood for wedding torches came from the spina alba, the may tree, which bore many fruits and hence symbolised fertility". Once led thus to her husband's home, the bride was a matron. Sacrifice was offered to Tellus on the bride's behalf; a sow is the most likely victim. 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 "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.
Funerary statue of an unknown woman, depicted as Ceres holding wheat. Mid 3rd century AD. (Louvre)
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 Augusta, Ceres' own mother in Imperial guise and a bountiful genetrix in her own right.
Ceres was patron and protector of plebeian laws, rights and Tribunes. 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, 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 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 by arbitrarily tampering with the laws of Rome. The Temple might also have offered asylum for those threatened with arbitrary arrest by patrician magistrates. Successful prosecutions of those who offended the laws of Ceres raised fines and property distraints that funded her temple, games and cult. Ceres was thus the patron goddess of Rome's written laws; the poet Vergil later calls her legifera Ceres (Law-bearing Ceres), a translation of Demeter's Greek epithet, thesmophoros.
Ceres' role as protector of laws continued throughout the Republican era. The killing of the tribune Tiberius Gracchus in 133 BC was justified by some as rightful punishment for attempted tyranny, an offense against Ceres' Lex sacrata. Others deplored his killing as murder, because the same "Lex sacrata" had made his person sacrosanct. In 70 BC, Cicero refers to this killing in connection with Ceres' laws and cults, during his prosecution of Verres, Roman governor of Sicily, for extortion. The case included circumstantial details of Verres' irreligious exploitation and abuse of Sicilian grain farmers, naturally under Ceres' special protection at the very place of her "earthly home" – and thefts from her temple, including an ancient image of the goddess herself. Faced by the mounting evidence against him, Verres abandoned his own defense and withdrew to a prosperous exile. Soon after, Cicero won election as aedile.
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 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.
Ceres protected transitions of women from girlhood to womanhood, from unmarried to married life and motherhood. She also maintained the boundaries between the realms of the living and the dead, regardless of their sex. Given the appropriate rites, she helped the deceased into afterlife as an underworld shade (Di Manes), else their spirit might remain to haunt the living, as a wandering, vengeful ghost (Lemur). 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) was a hemispherical pit or underground vault in Rome; Cato describes its shape as a reflection or inversion of the dome of the upper heavens. On most days of the year, it was sealed by a stone lid known as the lapis manalis. 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. While the mundus was open, the spirits of the dead could lawfully emerge from the underworld and roam among the living, in what Warde Fowler describes as ‘holidays, so to speak, for the ghosts’. When it was re-sealed, the spirits returned to the realms of the dead.
The origins and location of the mundus pit are disputed. The days when the mundus was open are identified in the oldest Roman calendar as C(omitiales) (days when the Comitia met) but by later authors as dies religiosus, when it would be irreligious to perform any official work: this apparent contradiction has led to the suggestion that the whole mundus ritual was not contemporary with Rome's early calendar or early Cerean cult, but was a later Greek import. Nevertheless, the days when the mundus was open were connected to the official festivals of the agricultural cycle; the mundus rite of August 24 follows Consualia (an agricultural festival) and precedes Opiconsivia (another such).
Other than the festivals of Parentalia and Lemuralia, these rites at the mundus cerialis on particular dies religiosi are the only known, regular official contacts with the spirits of the dead, or Di Manes. This may represent a secondary or late function of the mundus, attested no earlier than the Late Republican Era, by Varro. Warde Fowler speculates that it was originally Rome's storehouse (penus) for the best of the harvest, to provide seed-grain for the next planting, then became the symbolic penus of the expanded Roman state. In Plutarch, the digging of such a pit to receive first-fruits and small quantities of native soil was an Etruscan colonial city-foundation rite. The rites of the mundus suggest Ceres as guardian deity of seed-corn, an essential deity in the establishment and agricultural prosperity of cities, and a door-warden of the underworld's afterlife, in which her daughter Proserpina rules as queen-companion to Pluto or Dis.
In Roman theology, prodigies were abnormal phenomena that manifested divine anger at human impiety. In Roman histories, prodigies are clustered around perceived or actual threats to the equilibrium of 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: during the same conflict, a lighting 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, Vulcan, 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.
Myths and theology
Ceres with cereals
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, which sought the equivalence of Roman to Greek deities, she was an equivalent to Demeter, one of the Twelve Olympians of Greek religion and mythology; this made Ceres one of Rome's twelve Di Consentes, daughter of Saturn and Ops, sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina by Jupiter and sister of Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's:
"When Ceres sought through all the earth with lit torches for Proserpina, who had been seized by Dis Pater, she called her with shouts where three or four roads meet; from this it has endured in her rites that on certain days a lamentation is raised at the crossroads everywhere by the matronae."
Ceres had strong mythological and cult connections with Sicily, especially at Henna (Enna), on whose "miraculous plain" flowers bloomed throughout the year. This was the place of Proserpina's rape and abduction to the underworld and the site of Ceres' most ancient Sanctuary. According to legend, she begged Jupiter that Sicily be placed in the heavens. The result, because the island is triangular in shape, was the constellation Triangulum, an early name of which was Sicilia.
Vitruvius (c.80 – 15 BC) describes the "Temple of Ceres near the Circus Maximus" (her Aventine Temple) as typically Araeostyle, having widely spaced supporting columns, with architraves of wood, rather than stone. This species of temple is "clumsy, heavy roofed, low and wide, [its] pediments ornamented with statues of clay or brass, gilt in the Tuscan fashion". 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 to restore an ancient, "old and narrow" temple to Ceres, at his rural property near 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 Ides of September, the same day as the Epulum Jovis, was attended by pilgrims from all over the region. Pliny considered this rebuilding a fulfillment of his civic and religious duty.
Images of Ceres
Denarius picturing Quirinus on the obverse, and Ceres enthroned on the reverse, a commemoration by a moneyer in 56 BC of a Cerialia, perhaps her first ludi, presented by an earlier Gaius Memmius as aedile
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. 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.
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, or "perambulation of fields" identified her with Dea Dia, and was led by the Arval Brethren ("The Brothers of the Fields"); rural versions of these rites were led as private cult by the heads of households. An inscription at Capua names a male sacerdos Cerialis mundalis, a priest dedicated to Ceres' rites of the mundus. The 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 (annona) and later the plebeian grain doles (frumentationes), the organisation and management of public 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 women of 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 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.
Archaic and Regal eras
Roman tradition credited Ceres' eponymous festival, Cerealia, to Rome's second king, the semi-legendary Numa. Ceres' senior, male priesthood was a minor flaminate whose priesthood 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 early Imperial era, 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.
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 dictator A. Postumius vowed a temple to Ceres, Liber and 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 Triad, housed in a 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, which later Roman mythographers describe as Ceres' "earthly home". Writers of the 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. To complicate matters further, when a new form of Cerean cult was officially imported from Magna Graecia, it was known as the ritus graecus (Greek rite) of Ceres, and was distinct from her older Roman rites.
The older forms of Aventine rites to Ceres remain uncertain. Most Roman cults were led by men, and the officiant's head was 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.
Ceres and Proserpina
Towards the end of the Second Punic War, around 205 BC, an officially recognised joint cult to Ceres and her daughter 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 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, 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 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-dominated social hierarchy and mores.
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 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 Rome's founding father and first patrician Romulus. 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 ("fast of Ceres").
In 133 BC, the plebeian noble Tiberius Gracchus bypassed the Senate and appealed directly to the popular assembly to pass his proposed 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 oracle, the senate sent the quindecimviri to Ceres' ancient cult centre at Henna in 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 demagogue, a homo sacer who had offended Ceres' laws against tyranny.
The Eleusinian mysteries became increasingly popular during the late Republic. Early Roman initiates at Eleusis in Greece included Sulla and Cicero; thereafter many Emperors were initiated, including Hadrian, who founded an Eleusinian cult centre in Rome itself.
In Late Republican politics, aristocratic traditionalists and popularists used coinage to propagated their competing claims to Ceres' favour. A coin of Sulla shows Ceres on one side, on the other a ploughman with yoked oxen: the images, accompanied by the legend "conditor", 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 plebeian 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 (victory).
Emperors celebrated imperial and divine partnerships in grain import and provision. On this Sestercius of 66 AD, Nero's garlanded head is left. Opposite, a standing Annona holds cornucopiae (horns of Plenty) and enthroned Ceres holds grain-ears and torch. Between them on a garlanded altar, a modius (grain measure), and in the background, a ship's stern.
Imperial theology conscripted Rome's traditional cults as the divine upholders of Imperial 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, a junior partner to Ceres and the Imperial family. The traditional, Cerean virtues of provision and nourishment were symbolically extended to Imperial family members with coinage that showed Claudius' mother Antonia as Augusta with corona spicea.
The relationship between the reigning emperor, empress and Ceres was formalised in titles such as Augusta 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'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, 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.
The word cereals derives from Ceres, commemorating her association with edible grains. 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.
The 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. A poem about Ceres and humanity features in Dmitri's confession to his brother Alexei in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Part 1, Book 3, Chapter 3.
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.
The goddess Ceres is one of the three goddess offices held in the The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The other goddesses are Pomona, and Flora.
Ceres is depicted on the Seal of New Jersey as a symbol of prosperity.
Ceres was depicted on several ten and twenty Confederate States of America dollar notes.
A manga by Yuu Watase is known as Ceres Celestial Legend
Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus (19 September 86 – 7 March 161), generally known in English as Antoninus Pius was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. He was the fourth of the Five Good Emperors
Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius' adoptive father and predecessor as emperor (Glyptothek).
and a member of the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne. Almost certainly, he earned the name "Pius" because he compelled the Senate to deify his adoptive father Hadrian; the Historia Augusta, however, suggests that he may have earned the name by saving senators sentenced to death by Hadrian in his later years.
He was the son and only child of Titus Aurelius Fulvus, consul in 89 whose family came from Nemausus (modern Nîmes) and was born near Lanuvium and his mother was Arria Fadilla. Antoninus’ father and paternal grandfather died when he was young and he was raised by Gnaeus Arrius Antoninus, his maternal grandfather, a man of integrity and culture and a friend of Pliny the Younger. His mother married to Publius Julius Lupus (a man of consular rank), Suffect Consul in 98, and bore him a daughter called Julia Fadilla.
As a private citizen between 110 and 115, he married Annia Galeria Faustina the Elder. They had a very happy marriage. She was the daughter of consul Marcus Annius Verus and Rupilia Faustina (a half-sister to Roman Empress Vibia Sabina). Faustina was a beautiful woman, renowned for her wisdom. She spent her whole life caring for the poor and assisting the most disadvantaged Romans.
Having filled with more than usual success the offices of quaestor and praetor, he obtained the consulship in 120; he was next appointed by the Emperor Hadrian as one of the four proconsuls to administer Italia, then greatly increased his reputation by his conduct as proconsul of Asia. He acquired much favor with the Emperor Hadrian, who adopted him as his son and successor on 25 February, 138, after the death of his first adopted son Lucius Aelius, on the condition that Antoninus would in turn adopt Marcus Annius Verus, the son of his wife's brother, and Lucius, son of Aelius Verus, who afterwards became the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (colleague of Marcus Aurelius).
On his accession, Antoninus' name became "Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pontifex Maximus". One of his first acts as Emperor was to persuade the Senate to grant divine honours to Hadrian, which they had at first refused; his efforts to persuade the Senate to grant these honours is the most likely reason given for his title of Pius (dutiful in affection; compare pietas). Two other reasons for this title are that he would support his aged father-in-law with his hand at Senate meetings, and that he had saved those men that Hadrian, during his period of ill-health, had condemned to death. He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honours and financial rewards upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy.
In marked contrast to his predecessors Trajan and Hadrian, Antoninus was not a military man. One modern scholar has written "It is almost certain not only that at no time in his life did he ever see, let alone command, a Roman army, but that, throughout the twenty-three years of his reign, he never went within five hundred miles of a legion". His reign was the most peaceful in the entire history of the Principate; while there were several military disturbances throughout the Empire in his time, in Mauretania, Iudaea, and amongst the Brigantes in Britannia, none of them are considered serious. The unrest in Britannia is believed to have led to the construction of the Antonine Wall from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde, although it was soon abandoned. He was virtually unique among emperors in that he dealt with these crises without leaving Italy once during his reign, but instead dealt with provincial matters of war and peace through their governors or through imperial letters to the cities such as Ephesus (of which some were publicly displayed). This style of government was highly praised by his contemporaries and by later generations.
Of the public transactions of this period we have scant information, but, to judge by what we possess, those twenty-two years were not remarkably eventful in comparison to those before and after his; the surviving evidence is not complete enough to determine whether we should interpret, with older scholars, that he wisely curtailed the activities of the Roman Empire to a careful minimum, or perhaps that he was uninterested in events away from Rome and Italy and his inaction contributed to the pressing troubles that faced not only Marcus Aurelius but also the emperors of the third century. German historian Ernst Kornemann has had it in his Römische Geschichte [2 vols., ed. by H. Bengtson, Stuttgart 1954] that the reign of Antoninus comprised "a succession of grossly wasted opportunities," given the upheavals that were to come. There is more to this argument, given that the Parthians in the East were themselves soon to make no small amount of mischief after Antoninus' passing. Kornemann's brief is that Antoninus might have waged preventive wars to head off these outsiders.
Scholars place Antoninus Pius as the leading candidate for fulfilling the role as a friend of Rabbi Judah the Prince. According to the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10a-b), Rabbi Judah was very wealthy and greatly revered in Rome. He had a close friendship with "Antoninus", possibly Antoninus Pius, who would consult Rabbi Judah on various worldly and spiritual matters.
After the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months), Antoninus died of fever at Lorium in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome, on 7 March 161, giving the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password—"aequanimitas" (equanimity). His body was placed in Hadrian's mausoleum, a column was dedicated to him on the Campus Martius, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus.
The only account of his life handed down to us is that of the Augustan History, an unreliable and mostly fabricated work. Antoninus is unique among Roman emperors in that he has no other biographies. Historians have therefore turned to public records for what details we know.
In later scholarship
Antoninus in many ways was the ideal of the landed gentleman praised not only by ancient Romans, but also by later scholars of classical history, such as Edward Gibbon or the author of the article on Antoninus Pius in the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannicaca:
A few months afterwards, on Hadrian's death, he was enthusiastically welcomed to the throne by the Roman people, who, for once, were not disappointed in their anticipation of a happy reign. For Antoninus came to his new office with simple tastes, kindly disposition, extensive experience, a well-trained intelligence and the sincerest desire for the welfare of his subjects. Instead of plundering to support his prodigality, he emptied his private treasury to assist distressed provinces and cities, and everywhere exercised rigid economy (hence the nickname κυμινοπριστης "cummin-splitter"). Instead of exaggerating into treason whatever was susceptible of unfavorable interpretation, he spurned the very conspiracies that were formed against him into opportunities for demonstrating his clemency. Instead of stirring up persecution against the Christians, he extended to them the strong hand of his protection throughout the empire. Rather than give occasion to that oppression which he regarded as inseparable from an emperor's progress through his dominions, he was content to spend all the years of his reign in Rome, or its neighborhood.
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