April Deity of the Month: Ceres

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Statue of Ceres (2nd century CE) in the museum at Halaesa Arconidea, Sicily.

 

Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, specifically grain crops. Her parents were Saturn and Ops; she was the mother of Proserpina. Her festival was the Cerialia, held between April 12th and 19th, with games in the Circus Maximus on the final day. One of the rituals associated with these games was the opener: hundreds of foxes with flaming torches tied to their tails ran out onto the track. There was a fast in honor of Ceres on October 4th. She was also given a sacrifice to purify a house after a funeral.

For more concise information on Roman deities and everyday life, consult Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome, by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily