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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Demeter or Ceres||View Options:  |  |  |   

Demeter or Ceres

The known mythology of Demeter and Ceres is identical. Demeter's (Ceres') virgin daughter Persephone (Proserpina) was abducted by Hades (Pluto) to be his wife in the underworld. Demeter searched for her endlessly, lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Demeter searched, preoccupied with her loss and her grief, the seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus (Jupiter) sent his messenger Hermes (Mercury) to the underworld to bring Persephone back. However, because Persephone had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. It was decreed that she must spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Demeter grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Persephone's return brings the spring.


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Perinthos, Thrace

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Perinthos, later called Heraclea and Marmara Eregli today, is 90 km west of Istanbul near a small pointed headland on the north shore of the Marmara Sea. It is said to have been a Samian colony, founded about 599 B.C. It is famous chiefly for its stubborn and successful resistance to Philip II of Macedon in 340 B.C.; at that time it seems to have been more important than Byzantium itself.
RP92876. Bronze AE 20, CN Online Perinthos CN_4717, Schonert Perinthos 380, Varbanov III 100 (R6), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, gVF, nice portrait, uneven patina, a little off center, weight 4.140 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CABINA - CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse Π-EPIN-ΘIWN, Demeter standing left, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical behind in left hand; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Anazarbus, Cilicia, 114 - 115 A.D.

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The torch is a symbol that can be related to either Artemis or Demeter. Although the goddess on the reverse is usually identified in references as Artemis, we believe it is Demeter. In year 132, this type was struck at Anazarbus with larger denominations depicting Trajan on the obverse, some with reverses depicting Trajan's sister Marciana, and others with reverses depicting her daughter, Trajan's niece, Matidia. Circulating alongside the other coins, these coins advertised the importance of Marciana and Matidia to the imperial family and suggested that they, similar to Demeter and her daughter Persephone, were essential to the prosperity of the empire.
GB93846. Bronze hemiassaria, Ziegler 122 (Vs1/Rs2); RPC III 3375; BMC Lycaonia p. 31, 3; SNG BnF 2026; cf. SNG Levante 1380 (year 132); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Righetti -, VF, nice dark green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches on reverse, beveled obverse edge, weight 4.661 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 114 - 115 A.D.; obverse KAICAPIA ANAZAP, veiled bust of Persephone right, grain ears and poppy before; reverse ET ΓΛP (year 133), veiled bust of Demeter right, wearing polos (resembling a pileus), flaming torch before; ex Agora Auctions sale 90 (3 Sep 2019), lot 38; ex Tom Buggey Collection; ex Saint Paul Antiques (London), auction 7 (11 Jun 17), lot 150; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Uncertain City (Panormos?), Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 211 - 190 B.C.

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In 254 B.C. Panormus was captured by the Romans. It retained its municipal freedom, and remained for many years one of the principal cities of Sicily. It continued to issue bronze coins, bearing the names of various resident magistrates, and following the Roman system. Under Augustus, Panormus received a Roman colony.
GI89312. Bronze triens, Semuncial standard; Calciati I p. 365, 205 (Panormos); SNG München 835 (Panormos); HGC 2 1691 (R1, uncertain Romano-Sicilian); SNG Cop -, aVF, off center but types on flan, a little rough, weight 3.239 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Romano-Sicilian mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Demeter-Ceres left, small cornucopia behind neck; reverse double cornucopia, overflowing with bunches of grapes, tied with fillets, four pellets (mark of value) in a vertical line to left; rare; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Priapos, Mysia, 3rd - 1st Century B.C.

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Unpublished in the references examined and the only example of the type known to Forum.

Priapos (Karabiga, Turkey today) is located on the Mysian coast, on a small east-facing bay at the mouth of the Biga River, about a third of the distance from ancient Parium to Cyzicus. Strabo mentions that the area produced fine wine and that the god Priapus gave the town its ancient name. Thucydides mentions the town as a naval station. In 334 B.C., the town surrendered to Alexander the Great without contest, prior to the Battle of Granicus. Deities worshiped there included Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, and Dionysus. Under the Eastern Roman Empire, the town was known as Pegae and was the site of a Byzantine fortress.
GB83634. Bronze AE 13, cf. BMC Mysia p. 177, 14 (AE20, full ethnic 2 lines, bucranium); SNG Tüb 2500 (same); SNG BnF 2410 (similar); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; Lindgren -, VF, green patina, corrosion, weight 2.400 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Priapos (Karabiga, Turkey) mint, 3rd - 1st century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, veiled and wreathed with grain; reverse ΠPIA within grain wreath; extremely rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $105.00 (€92.40)
 


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Perinthos, Thrace

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Perinthos, later called Heraclea and Marmara Eregli today, is 90 km west of Istanbul near a small pointed headland on the north shore of the Marmara Sea. It is said to have been a Samian colony, founded about 599 B.C. It is famous chiefly for its stubborn and successful resistance to Philip II of Macedon in 340 B.C.; at that time it seems to have been more important than Byzantium itself.
RP92875. Bronze AE 20, CN Online Perinthos CN_4717, Schonert Perinthos 380, Varbanov III 100 (R6), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, small edge splits, porosity, weight 5.147 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CABINA - CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse Π-EPIN-ΘIWN, Demeter standing left, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical behind in left hand; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Petelia, Bruttium, Italy, c. 216 - 204 B.C., Time of Hannibal

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"In 216, when most of South Italy joined Hannibal after Cannae, Petelia remained faithful to Rome and sought the dispatch of a Roman garrison. The Senate, however, felt it self unable to lend aid to so distant and ally; the town was besieged and after eleven months fell to the Carthaginians, who handed it over to the Bretti. After the defeat of Hannibal a substantial contingent of refugees who had escaped to Rome were restored to Petelia in recognition of their loyalty to Rome." -- N.K. Rutter, Historia Numorum Italy
GB88309. Bronze AE 21, BMC Italy p. 372, 8 (also Λ); HN Italy 2454; SNG ANS 602 var. (control); SNG Cop 1908 var. (same); SNG München 1551 - 1552 var. (same), F, uneven strike with weak areas, olive green and red patina, areas of corrosion, weight 7.431 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 90o, Petelia mint, under Hannibal, c. 216 - 204 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing veil and wreath of barley; reverse ΠETHΛINΩN (clockwise on left), Zeus in fighting stance left, head right, nude, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, transverse long scepter in left hand, star with five rays around a central pellet left, Λ (control letter) lower right; ex Rudnik Numismatics; scarce; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Menaion, Sicily, c. 204 - 190 B.C.

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In the West foothills of the Hyblaei Mountains of Sicily, an indigenous settlement on a high peak under the name of Menai, flourished until 453 B.C. when its inhabitants were moved to nearby Paliké near the well-known sanctuary of the Palici. No traces of life survive from between the second half of the 5th c. B.C. and the end of the 4th c. B.C. The city, under the name of Menainon, began once more to flourish in the Hellenistic period, as attested by its rich necropolis. After the Roman conquest the city minted its own coinage. Its existence during the Roman period is attested by Cicero (Verr. 3.22.55; 3.43.102) and Pliny (HN 3.91). The site continued to be inhabited until the Arab Conquest and again during the following centuries.
GI92062. Bronze trias, Calciati III p. 186, 7; SNG Cop 384; SNG München 617; BMC Sicily p. 97, 5; HGC 2 760 (R1); SNG ANS 290 var. (∆ vice IIII), VF, well centered, porous, weight 3.841 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Menaion (Mineo, Sicily, Italy) mint, Roman Rule, c. 204 - 190 B.C.; obverse veiled bust of Demeter right; reverse MENAINΩN, crossed torches, IIII (mark of value) below; ex Muenzen Ritter (Germany); scarce; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RB92800. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I 110, BMCRE I 197, BnF II 222, Hunter I 84, Cohen I 1, SRCV I 1856, F, rough, some legend weak, weight 11.306 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, bare head left; reverse CERES AVGVSTA, Ceres seated left on ornamented throne, veiled, two stalks grain in right hand, torch across lap cradled in left hand and arm, feet on footstool, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Leontini, Sicily, c. 207 - 200 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.

When the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus stormed the city in 214 B.C., Leontini was subject to Syracuse and the rulers of Syracuse actually resided there. Marcellus had 2000 Roman deserters who were hiding in the city killed, and then moved to lay siege to Syracuse itself.
GB65520. Bronze AE 16, Calciati p. 81, 9; SNG ANS 274; BMC Sicily p. 93, 66; SNG Cop 366, VF, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 207 - 200 B.C.; obverse veiled head of Demeter left, plow behind; reverse ΛEON, bundle of grain; $75.00 (€66.00)
 




  



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Demeter or Ceres