Feb 182012

Spring (1894) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, depicting the Cerealia in a Roman street (J. Paul Getty Museum)

Cerealia was a seven day festival celebrated in ancient Rome to honor of the goddess Ceres, goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility, and motherly relationships. The exact dates of the April festival are uncertain. It may have started on April 12 and ended on April 19.

In Rome, this was the primary festival of Ceres and was accompanied by the Ludi Ceriales or “Games of Ceres” in the Circus Maximus. Ovid’s description (Fasti iv.494) mentions that Ceres/Demeter’s search for her lost daughter Proserpina was represented by women clothed in white, running about with lighted torches.

During the Republican era, Cerealia was organised by the plebeian aediles (junior magistrate). The festival included circus games, and the festival opened with a horse race in the Circus Maximus.


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 February 18, 2012  Posted by at 10:00 am April Tagged with: ,