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- 1 Old image
- 2 Requested move 2006
- 3 Redirecting minor gods here
- 4 Reviewing the archived debate
- 5 Page move
- 6 Me too!
- 7 Picture of Statue
- 8 Rewrite
- 9 Demeter
- 10 Remarks
- 11 Assistant deities
- 12 Organization
- 13 Cerealia
- 14 Ambarvalia, Dea Dia, plebeian triad etc.
- 15 "Ceres"
- 16 "Ceres"
Image formerly illustrating this article at Image:Ceres.png
Requested move 2006
Redirecting minor gods here
I've redirected the existing pages on the minor gods who assisted Ceres (now mentioned in the article (although the text needs to be rephrased by someone knowlageable about the gods in question)), as I don't think there is anything that can be said about them apart from their relationship to Ceres, which should be addressed here. If anyone disagrees, please respond here, and then feel free to revert. JesseW 07:50, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Reviewing the archived debate
Since Ceres may soon be added as a planet to our solar system, I think it may be best to redirect "Ceres" to the disambiguation page after all, and not to the mythological reference. In the near future, many people will be looking up on information about the new planet (or ex-candidate planet) Mansize 23:10, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
- Agreed. Previous move debate is now obsolete. --Planetary 20:19, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Given 1 Ceres's newfound fame, at least as many people will be coming here for the dwarf planet rather than the God, which should be moved here. Thus the goddess should either go straight to the celestial body, or at the very least be a disambiguation page.The Enlightened 16:12, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I missed the previous debate, but I would have opposed the move. Reality should gain precedent. And besides, how many people are actually looking for the Ceres of mythology? A single click should be able to get that minority to where they want to be.--Planetary 14:18, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I would also oppose the move, if only because the current arrangement has better didactical value. "Hey, I wanna know about Ceres the planet. Click. What's this? Hey, it's named after a goddess, cool!" Urhixidur 01:48, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
- I believe the unsigned message above you was referring to the original move of the goddess page from Ceres (mythology) to here.
- A statue of Ceres caps the dome at the Vermont State House. Ceres is also a village in Fife, Scotland, near the county town of Cupar. Ceres is also a small town in Northern California.
I removed these "me too" references—it's pure cruft. The list isn't complete, and no thank you, we don't want a complete list of everything called Ceres here. Anyway, the Ceres (disambiguation) page already covers this, as mentioned near the top of the article.
—Herbee 21:32, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Picture of Statue
The picture in this article misleads you into thinking it is a statue of Ceres. In fact, I have found many sites that discuss the goddess Ceres that use this picture, referencing wikipedia as its source. However, this is not a statue of Ceres. From the Louvre's website, translated from French, this is what it is:
"Unknown woman in Cérès About 235 - 250 A.D.
The calm face is not, as one had believed it, the one of an empress, but of an unknown Roman lady. This funerary picture borrows from the faces of Venus a clothing discovering the shoulder and the left breast, echo of certain representations of the Greek Aphrodite created at the end of the View century before Jesus Christ."
So, you see. It is a sculpture of an unknowmn woman from a PLACE called Ceres. I may be being a little nitpicky. I know. I study art history, however, and really had wanted to learn the history of this particular piece. I spent a solid two hour period searching for this statue's history, always using "Statue of Ceres" as my keywords. I couldn't find anything, of course, because that was not the title of the piece. So, I think it would be best to replace this picture with another picture of Ceres, since there are plenty.
- A reply to this regrettably unsigned comment. Good work. You weren't being nitpicky, you were being facty, and that's all to the good. I can't agree that we've plenty to chose from - at least not works of this calibre - but will regretfully remove and replace it as soon as I find an adequately attractive and (hopefully) equally ancient substitute. The many links to the image show how easy it is to propagate error across the internet. The image is mislabeled "Ceres" in many wikis and websites, and in many languages. Haploidavey (talk) 17:39, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
- I just cross-checked; Ceres exists as a placename or several, but this is an unknown woman as Ceres, not from Ceres. It's almost certainly a funerary statue; she may have been a priestess of Ceres - I think that with a little relabeling we can keep it. Apart from anything else, it's far and away the best we have. Haploidavey (talk) 21:12, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
This article has not been tagged for attention but I need a place to link from the overloaded Religion in ancient Rome. I'll be rewriting and substantially re-organising here in categorical and chronological order, using modern scholarship and inline citation; we should expect both as a basic standard in wikipedia. As usual, critiques, contributions, polite counterblasts and strong cups of coffee (cream but no sugar please) are welcome. Haploidavey (talk) 14:11, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
- Am getting Spaeth's volume delivered (see new refs and notes section in article). S'not perfick - what is? - but its price has plummeted and Spaeth deals with most of what's needed for an reasonably informative article. So unless I'm struck down by thunderbolts, measles or RSI I'll edit this one more intensively some time next week. Promise. Haploidavey (talk) 00:46, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
This section needs further review. The inaccuracy of its first statement is easily remedied. Neopagan Ceres should probably get a look-in. As for the rest, it seems rather a random grab-bag. Thoughts? Deeds? Haploidavey (talk) 15:19, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Or rather, source. Really, for modern scholarship on Ceres there seems to be only Le Bonniec (I've no access to that) or Spaeth (which I have). Spaeth's very methodical in outline, but oddly frustrating in detail, and not too hot on critical historiography. She has a few more-or-less controversial hobby-horses - like her insistence that the so-called Tellus figure on the Ara Pacis is really Ceres. OK, it sure looks very, very Cerean. Well, maybe. And she squeezes in an awful lot of modern sociological constructs; she gets very precise about those, but the things she's being precise about - I mean those things that make a cult a cult, rather than a sociological phenomenon - are sweeping and frustratingly sketchy. So if anyone passing this page has a copy of Henri Le Bonniec's reputedly meticulous and authoritative work on Ceres, their input here would, I'm sure, help improve, round off and balance this article. Haploidavey (talk) 02:44, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Wonderful article, as usual my congratulations.
Just a few points: it is impossible differentiate Ceres from Demeter if one says she was worshipped first at Enna. The place is connected with the abduction of Persephone by Pluton.
The adjective for the flamen and the ludi is cerialis, not cerealis.
The mundus and the dies comitiales-religiosi: this oddity should prove that originally Ceres was not related to the underworld: this is the view expressed by M. Humm. However the fact that her temple had to be built outside the pomerium contradicts it. My opinion is that the mundus of the foundation of the town and those of the temples of Ceres are 2 distinct and different things. Thus the opening of the mundus cerialis did not affect public life being located outside the pomerium. And how one can imagine the opening of the mundus of Romulus, being it what Ovid describes?Aldrasto11 (talk) 13:56, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
- Thank you - your compliments and critical input are very welcome; I'd welcome any corrections, should you wish to make them; but I'm also happy to fix them myself, no worries.
- I've had to rely on a single secondary source for most of this but I hope to find some English-language scholarship to confirm your well-informed observations. Frankly, the intrapomerial rule (? - I recently downloaded an interesting short work on the rigidity/flexibility of the "Pomerial Rule") hadn't even occurred to me in this case; and it should have, as a similar rule (?) very obviously restricted Vestal supervision of Bona Dea's cult to its intra-pomerial forms; and Ceres' cult being much older... you get my drift. Spaeth provides some interesting interpretations and quite bold (even contentious) revisions; but on the mundus, and many other important aspects of Cerean cult, she's sketchy and summary. She admits that hers is a sociological approach, compared to Le Bonniec's more methodologically conservative tome. And we had some difficulty on the Glossary mundus entry, even with the Humm pdf available. There's some interplay here, perhaps, between Ceres, and her chthonic daughter (not in her maiden-form) and Dis: which I'm not seeing. I'll get back to this straight after my Big Sunday Shop (ugh). Meantime... I don't suppose you've access to Le Bonniec's work on Ceres? Haploidavey (talk) 14:32, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
- Romulus' foundation pit, leastways Ovid's version of it, sits ill with Warde Fowler's speculated penna. I'm less sure, though, why you associate the mundus cerialis with her temple: or rather, her temples, whether in Rome or the provinces. Haploidavey (talk) 01:22, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
- I have not got Le Bonniec's work but Dumezil gives a resume' , presumably accurate. I shall translate it here in the next days.
- On the question of the mundus and the dies: I do not mean the pomerian rule is necessarily connected with the quality of the dies, there may be many different reasons that require a temple to be built outside the pomerium. Cf. the cases of the temples of Mars, Venus, Diana, Vulcan, Summanus etc.
- In the case of Ceres I think this is significant (cf. Vitruvius) as the problem with her is her connexion with the underworld. However this did not create a problem for the Roman official political life because it was a dies religiosus marked as C(omitialis) i.e. a dies F(astus). This implies the Roman pointiffs considered it apt for the discharge of public offices. However Macrobius gives a long fragment of Cato in which it is stated that some activities are not advised on such days, such as leaving for war, engaging battle, starting a journey, marrying if I remember well, because it is a day in which the di Manes visit our world and the door of the underworld is laid open. On the Fasti there is no mention of such days, it was just common lore, as for the dies postriduani and others (Macrobius has an exhausting exposition around I 16). In the case on issue it is indeed the opening of the mundus that is the origin of the problem. Now as you have checked Ovid you can see how the romulean mundus cannot be called into question here for material reasons: it cannot be the mundus where the best seeds are stored in Fowlere's hypothesis, neither can it be the mundus described by Cato and Festus, i.e. one that could be opened, accessed and looked like a capsized heavenly vault. And the only other mundus attested (also epigraphically) is that of Ceres. These mundi were located within the sacred space of the temples of Ceres.
- A few words on Angerona: this deity is not presiding on delivery but on pain (angor). Hence she might have been invoked by women in the labours of delivery. As her festival was near the end of December (21st) she was considered the goddess that presides over the coldest period of the year, which causes that unpleasent constriction (angor, angustia). Also she was portrayed with a finger on her lips and thence many interpretations have been put forward, presumably the right one being that the highest pleasure comes from enduring one's sorrows and pains in silence (her statue being placed in the temple of Volupia): at least this one is supported by Macrobius/Vettius Praetextatus.Aldrasto11 (talk) 10:19, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
My memory tricked me: Dumezil just hints to Le Bonniec's work. Only a remark on the Latin nature of the couple Liber Libera as opposed to the Greek structure. My apologies.Aldrasto11 (talk) 13:59, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
- Not to worry: it was a sincere and thoughtful offer. Your memory's a deal more capacious than mine. And probably more accurate. I'll be drawing on your comments, insights and suggestions for improving this article. PS: just another observation on Cerean qualities and values (there's probably a better way to put this, though I can't think of it right now) - Vitruvius' description of her temple suggests (to me) a low, heavy-roofed structure, intrinsically rustic, visually grounded: borne down towards the earth but also horizontally open, as it were; not reaching upwards. And quite richly appointed. Even (dare I suggest) Ploutonic. Not only does this seem visually apt, but a mundus therein seems entirely plausible. Wish I could find some scholarship that makes something of the possibility. Haploidavey (talk) 14:20, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Here it is: Le Bonniec I mean. On the question of the Romanity or Grecity of Ceres Le Bonniec has done a patient and prudent work of distinction:
"The Cerialia of April 19 -then the end of a period begun the 12- follow after 4 days the Fordicidia of th 15: such an interval always denounces a relationship between the festivals it separates and thence connects Tellus and Ceres, though respecting their peculiarity.The 2 rituals in symbolic terms correspond exactly to the respective functions of the 2 goddesses: to the pregnant Earth were sacrificed pregnant cows; of the Cerialia we know, beside the sacrifice of the animal typic of Ceres the prolific saw (at least in the private cult, Ovid F 4. 413 at April 12 ) another only rite, that concerns, in advance, the riping of the harvest; the ludi of April 19 entailed a barabaric scene, magic and not sacrifical; foxes with lit torches on their backs were set free in the Circus (Ovid F 4. 679-682). The meaning of setting free the animals, the meaning of the foxes and that of fire have been much discussed; but regardless one understands them in lutrative or fecondating sense, they can only refer to the ears in formation, after their coming out from earth. Later in the Ambarvalia of May, could Ceres be absent? What remains of the song of the Arvals does notmention the goddess and beside Mars who is the armed protector of the field, mentions only the Semones, genii of the seeds, and the Lares, genii of the place; many descrptions of the festival (triple circumambulation, lustration both of the pagus and of a farm) are though reminiscent of the goddess of growth (Tib. 2. 1; Verg. Georg. 1. 338-350). Finally, before the harvest, a porca praecidanea was sacrificed to Ceres following a ritual that Cato has preserved to us in deatil (R. R. 134). Here is all that which we can consider, with great plausibility, exclusive property of the oldest Ceres: the dissociation from Tellus takes place, as is apparent, since the festivals of April, as if as it were the first goddess paled away in front of the second since that time onward.Aldrasto11 (talk) 10:57, 13 January 2011 (UTC) I could not find the name of Le Bonniec but it is there. I will translate it in instalments, perhaps 5.Aldrasto11 (talk) 13:46, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
On the opposite the feriae sementivae, double festival the mobility of which looks limited to the second half of January, unite the 2 gooddesses (Ov. F. 1. 657-696), and this is natural at this point of the cycle of wheat, at which all the mysteries of vegetation take place underground. Perhaaps already on Dec. 13, at the end of sowing, the 2 goddesses were united in a common festival, which is though attested only for the period at which it had taken the form of lectisternium (CIL I 2nd pp.336-7: fragment of the Praeneste calendar).
The sphere of fecundity is not resstricted only to the fields and to husbandry. At Rome as in Greece or in India the Mother Earth does not suffer such limitations, and the goddess "Growth" cannot be without interest for the human species. "Quidam Tellurem praeesse nuptiis tradunt" Servius II Aen. 4.166; as a proof he recalls that the young brides, both while heading for the house of the groom and after their arrival, sacrifice to Tellus variis nominibus vel ritu. Tellus in such circumstances was beside her usual companion, since as Festus says (p. 204 L 2nd), facem in nuptiis in honorem Cereris praeferebant. The link between Ceres and marriage lasted also after the nuptial rites: according to Plutarch Rom. 22,5 the law of Romulus that limited to 3 the cases in which the husband can legitimately divorce her wife (poisoning of the children, embezzlement of the keys and adultery), orders that if the husband sends his wife away for other reasons, "the half of his properties belongs to the wife herself and the other half must be consacrated to Demeter".
Finally as depositary of fecundity and of the future, the Earth hides in its deepest strata the obscure realm to which the dead have access from their tombs and with which the State keeps a controlled communication, through the mundus: there is a constant and mysterious link between that which disappears and that which is borne, between the evanescent shadows and life in gestation/pregnancy. Even though one cannot say that the 2 goddesses are "goddesses of death", they take part in 2 circumstances of the funeral rites: after every death, as it seems, a saw was offered to Ceres to purify the family, and since this rite took place at the presence of the corpse, the saw was named praesentanea (Fest. p. 357 L2nd); on the other hand (Varr. in Nonius p. 240 L), if a dead was not inhumated the family could become once again pure only by offering to Ceres a saw named in this case praecidanea as that sacrificed before harvest, with which it was sometimes confused. Finally let us recall that the mundus was of Ceres and doubtless was located within the sacred boundary of her temple.
We can thus get to discern dimly 2 important entities of the most ancient religion, mutually related but not identifible with each other, between whom there is no reason to see a chronologic succession.
Another couple of deities of the same grouping, that did not enjoy the same popularity of Ceres, or better that survived as a group only by uniting to Ceres is that of Liber and Libera. The Liberalia are celebrated on March 17. Owing to Varro (LL 6.14) and Ovid (F. 3. 713-790) we know some rites of this festival which looks to be ancient: old women crowned with ivy, who were generously named sacerdotes Liberi, sold cakes made with honey in the streets; they took with themselves little portable hearths on which a piece of the cake was offered to Liber in name of the buyer. Moreover on that same day the youngsters wore the clothing of the adults, the toga virilis or libera. Augustin says something more: the couple Liber-Libera would have presided over the male and female components of generation, and in particular (the word is just a pun) to the liberation of those components under the form of semen (Civ. D. 7.3.1); in some parts of Italy the cult would have taken particularly lecherous forms; a phallus would have been taken on a cart to the fields and then triumphally back to the town; at Lavinium an entire month would have been consacrated to the cult of the couple, during which everybody uttered obscenities til the time when the phallus, through the forum were placed back in the place where it was housed for the rest of the year; the most honest matronae were asked to publicly crown the phallus to ensure the good outcome of the sowing as crops and the repelling of the fascinatio (7.21); at Rome would have been placed in the temple of the couple 2 figures representing the sexual organs, one for Liber and one for Libera. From these details that denote an orgiastic taint in a known rite of the festival, one can gather that Liber and Libera enjoyed a quite general jurisdiction over fecundity and not limited to their specific competence on the growth of grapes, through which Liber was assimilated to Dionysos. This specialisation must though be rather ancient: at Falerii the inscription of a vase (ca. 600 B.C.) asks Ceres to provide spelt and Liber wine. The name of Liber has been explained by Benveniste: it is formed on an old derivate in -es- of the Italic and formerly IE stem *leudh-; its proper meaning is "the one of sprouting, the onw who guarantees bearing and crops" very close to the proper meaning of Ceres as Le Bonniec remarks.
These data that look clear are in fact the elements of one of the most complex problems of roman religion: when a temple was dedicated to Ceres on the first slopes of the Aventine at the beginning of the republic, it was a temple Cereris Liberi Liberaeque, a building of 3 cellae, traditionally ascribed to the first struggles among patricians and plebeians. How to understand this grouping that looks like the Greeks triads in which Demter and her daughter Persephone are united to a male character, who sometimes, but rarely, is Dionysos? Did at Rome preexist only the elements of the triad that were later united? Or the triad was imported already construed, and if so whence: Sicily, Campania? The plebeian tradition is authentic, or is it the projection onto the past of a well known situation of the following centueries, the monopoly of the plebs and its magistrates on the cult of Ceres? What part did politics play in the foundation of the cult? Le Bonniec has summarised and discussed with great clarity the great theses which confront one another with many variations, and has also put forward a hypothetical solution, however reasonable, that gives remarkable mportance to the properly Roman part and gives credit to the annalistic tradition too. From those foggs cleverly fathomed, many islets of probabilities are elicited.
The cult of the Aventine was not so much given to the Ceres of the paesants, technician of farming, that we have studied til now, but to the Ceres of the annona, who oversaw the supplying of food and who protected the urban people from the then frequent famines. Perhaps inspired by foreign models the triad that groups Ceres on one side and the couple Liber-Libera on the other, not the 2 goddesses on one side and the god on the other, is local in its structure. The institution of the triad of fecundity a few years after the deidication of the 3 cellae Capitolin temple shows an intention of replying, of counterweight. Under these condditions, since this is the time when the plebs obtains its official magistrates, is it not natural to accept the basic lines of the tradition, even if sacrificcing some nice legends and anachronistic proper names? the cult of the Aventine would itself too be a witness of the victory of the plebs: it would be one of the first results of the many compromises that would progressively guarantee to the plebs politic and religious equality; the classic framework would thus go back to the beginning of the V century, the time of the founding of the temple: the plebeian aediles had their office in the annexes of the sanctuary and there kept the archives of the plebs, the texts of the plebiscites and later for precaution the copy of the senatuconsulta of the rival class.
At any rate once established the triple cult, Demeter did never stop from imposing herself to the Romans through their Ceres. Started since the regal period the assimilation process shall have periods of slowing down and crises of acceleration(n. 26 J. Bayet "Les cerialia, alteration d'un culte latinpar le myhte grec' RPh. 29, 1951 pp.5-32, 341-346 now in Croyances.. 1971, pp. 89-129). In the 2nd half of the III century the cult of Demeter shall be introduced officially and entrusted to Greek female sacerdotes, defined as publicae. In a summer festival, certainly mobile, the sacrum anniversarium Cereris, the matronae shall celebrate the reunion of a Ceres and a Proserpina already Demeter and Persephone. Rome shall thus have- at least this is the most probable explanation- her own mysteries, the initia Cereris (Varr. RR 2.4.9; 3.1.5). Liber shall be ever more dominated by Dionysos -Bacchus and after the crisis of the Bacchanalia shall triumph with wine.(pp. 329-333)
I finished it in 2 times only...
- Your translation here is very helpful indeed. Well, more than that, honestly. All we need now is title, publisher and date for the work you've translated! And anything more will be most welcome. Haploidavey (talk) 13:59, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I have translated Dumezil La religion romaine archaique Paris 1974 part II chapter 5 "Forces and elements" 1.Third function; It. tr. Milano 1977 pp. 329-333. This passage is a summary of H. Le Bonniec "Le culte de Ceres a Rome des origines a la fin de la republique" 1958 (with review by P. Boyance' in Revue des Etudes Anciens 61, 1959 pp.111-120).Aldrasto11 (talk) 04:54, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
If you are interested there are 2 summaries/ presentations of Le Bonniec's work online at Persee': one is very long and authoritave (by J. Gage' in Revue de l' Histoire des Religions).Aldrasto11 (talk) 10:43, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I did some things here that may or may not be useful. First, I made a separate section for Ceres' assistant gods, so that it can be linked to more directly. Second, I changed the numerical list to a bullet list; come to think of it, this is probably in error, since there is definite sequence. Each of these should probably get an etymology. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:07, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
- And then you went through the article like a particularly fast-acting and accurately targeted silver bullet. Much better. I'll renumber the list, and provide etymologies where I can. Haploidavey (talk) 17:43, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I didn't tag this, but if I may be frank, I was just looking through this for links and such and started to nod off around the section on Tiberius Gracchus. I felt that I had (hypothetically) come to this article to learn about the goddess Ceres, and now I was getting a lesson in Roman politics. To me, Cult and cult themes, Priesthoods, and Mythology all come before Ceres as a political football. We have to understand her significance before we understand what role she played in politics, maybe. Or, the college freshman who looks up Ceres because Ben Jonson alluded to her (in my fairyland, college freshmen still read Ben Jonson) needs an summary overview of the goddess as goddess first. And then Gracchus comes up again later, under "Laws and liminality," two concepts that to me don't go together, since laws are all about setting definite boundaries. "Expiations" also covers some of the material already discussed pertaining to the Punic Wars. Grouping some of this material together differently might tighten up the article. (Having made similar comments elsewhere, let me also say in advance: now, Davey, don't overreact to this.) Cynwolfe (talk) 17:50, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
- Frank is fine. I soooo trust your judgment, y'know? and I hereby promise not to overreact. Quite honestly, I'd rather have based this rewrite on Le Bonniec (see above, vs Spaeth, for why). So any suggestions for shuffling, reconstruction and downright amputations would be welcome. Truly. Haploidavey (talk) 18:05, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Ambarvalia, Dea Dia, plebeian triad etc.
In the A. the honoured deity is Dea Dia, whether she is Ceres is not supported by evidence. The fratres were the 12 sons of Acca Larentia including Romulus as adoptive son. The cult of the arvals seems to point to an archaic propitiary and apotropaic rite. Sources agree it was founded by Romulus. It could mean a military protection of the harvest. The location at the lucus at limit of the territory conquered by Romulus is significant. But of course the agricultural cults bear a general earthly symbology anyway and cannot be seen as exclusively centred on this. It is certainly not Roman (i.e. preroman) since it is very archaic in the prohibition of the use of iron, the earth clods on the siver burner, the earthen olla.