Ceres, also known as Demeter of Greek, was the Roman Goddess of agriculture, harvest, grain, fertility, wheat, and motherly relationships. Ceres was the daughter of Rhea (Ops) and Cronus (Saturn) and the sister of Poseidon (Neptune), Zeus (Jupiter), Hades (Pluto), Hestia (Vesta), and Hera (Juno). Ceres was also the patron Goddess of Sicily.
Dei Consentes or Di Consentes was the name given to the twelve most powerful Roman Gods that includes six men and six women; wherein Ceres is the only Roman agricultural deity\. The list includes Juno (Hera), Vesta (Hestia), Diana (Artemis), Minerva (Athena), Venus (Aphrodite), Mars (Ares), Mercury (Hermes), Jupiter (Zeus), Neptune (Poseidon), Vulcan (Hephaestus), Apollo (Apollo), and Ceres (Demeter).
Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus was abducted by Hades and was grabbed into the underworld where she became his queen. This crime was made possible by Zeus, for he made permission to Hades that he can marry Demeter’s daughter without even consulting Demeter and Persephone. This was unknown to Demeter until he met Helios, who helped him to find the culprit.
Finding Persephone, Demeter wandered and found herself at Eleusis, under an Olive tree, sitting beside the well of Virgo. She transformed himself in an old woman when she was confronted by the four princesses of Eleusis. Demeter accidentally killed the King’s son when she was trying to make him immortal. The King ordered to make a temple for Demeter by her own request.
Symbols and Objects
Things that symbolize Ceres as a Greek and Roman God are the Cornucopia, sheaves of wheat, the autumn harvest, a torch, acorns, bread and honey. Also animals like lions, snakes, crane, and all domestic pets; plants like Poppies, Sunflowers, and Daisies; and stones like Emerald, Sapphire, and Pearls also symbolize Ceres.
Cerealia Munera means gift from Ceres. Festivals are celebrated in order to give thanks for all the blessings that Ceres gave in ancient Rome. Ancient Rome believed that Ceres was the one who gives them grain, thus they offered her wheat and barley. The word “cereal” came from Cerealia Munera.
The First Asteroid
Ceres, the first asteroid to be discovered was named after Ceres, the Roman Goddess. This asteroid was discovered by a Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. This asteroid was promoted to be a dwarf planet in 2006 and was said to have an existing bodies of water. The element Cerium was derived from this planet, thus making its name also derived from the Goddess.
The Ambarvalia Festival was an Italian festival celebrated during the month of May. They walked in processions sacrificing animals like hogs, rams, or bulls after making some prayers. This festival was usually dedicated to Ceres and other deities of agriculture.
This festival was for Demeter, as he was the founder of Roman agriculture and was celebrated in many parts of Greece, especially on Athens. It was held during the last days of October and the first part of November.
Demeter faced depression at the loss of her daughter; she sent calamities that struck the Earth. Zeus felt that it was most likely the time to bring back Persephone to her mother; he sent Hermes to the underworld and managed to convince Hades to return Persephone. However, Persephone was only allowed to be with her mother three-fourth of the time every year; the quarter of the year was spent with Hades, this is the time when Demeter longs for his daughter and Earth suffers winter.