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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Demeter or CeresView 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.


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 330 - 290 B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH82666. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 502 (same dies); Noe-Johnston Class C, 8; BMC Italy p. 251, 102; SNG Cop 1229; HN Italy 1592, aEF, attractive iridescent toning, attractive classical style, tight flan, letters on obverse obscure on all examples known to Forum, weight 7.868 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 245o, Metapontion mint, c. 330 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath, triple pendant earring, and pearl necklace, uncertain letters (ΣU? or EY?) under chin; reverse barley ear of seven grains with leaf to right, META upward on left, ΛY lower left, star above leaf; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 2 (26 Nov 2017), lot 36 (From the old stock of a Swiss Numismatist, acquired before 2005.); $700.00 (595.00)


Dionysopolis, Moesia Inferior, Late 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

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Dionysopolis was founded by Thracians and later colonized by Ionians who named it Krounoi. The city was renamed Dionysopolis during the second half of the 3rd century B.C., after a statue of Dionysus was found in the sea nearby. Most of the types from Dionysopolis are scarce or rare. Today it is Balchik, Bulgaria, a Black Sea seaside resort town. IΦI is the only magistrate Draganov lists for this type.
SH75655. Bronze AE 17, Draganov Dionysopolis 5, SNG Stancomb 115 - 116, SNG BM -, SNG Cop -, AMNG II -, BMC Thrace -, aVF, tight flan, weak reverse center, weight 5.502 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 270o, Dionysopolis (Balchik, Bulgaria) mint, magistrate Iphia, c. 3rd - 2nd century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right wearing veil and crown made of city walls; reverse ∆IONY / IΦIA, poppy head on stalk on left, stalk of grain on right; very rare, unpublished until 1997; $180.00 (153.00)


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 Palik 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.
GI76345. Bronze trias, Calciati III p. 186, 7; SNG Cop 384; SNG Mnchen 617; BMC Sicily p. 97, 5; HGC 2 760 (R1); SNG ANS 290 var. (∆ vice IIII), VF, scratches, porosity, weight 3.135 g, maximum diameter 16.8 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; scarce; $155.00 (131.75)


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 Tb 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; $140.00 (119.00)


Akrai, Sicily, c. 211 - 80 B.C.

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Akrai was a small colony founded by Syracuse in 664 B.C. to secure the inland road to Gela. Constructed on the peak of a hill, Akrai was difficult to attack and ideal for watching the surrounding territory. Loyal to Syracuse, it nevertheless had administrative and military autonomy. Thanks to its strategic position, the city achieved great prosperity, peaking during the reign of Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C. Its coinage was only issued after the fall of Syracuse in 211 B.C. when it became part of the Roman province Acre. The city continued to be under Roman rule into the Byzantine period.
GI79952. Bronze AE 23, SNG ANS 902; SNG Cop 9; Calciati III p. 37, 1 var. (KP ligate); BMC Sicily p. 2, 1 var. (same); HGC 2 180 (S) var. (same); SNG Morcom -, aF, glossy lime-green patina, scratches, uneven strike, weight 7.517 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Akrai (Palazzolo Acreide, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 210 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley; reverse AK-P-AIΩN, Demeter standing left, wearing long chiton and peplos, torch in right hand, scepter in left hand; rare; $110.00 (93.50)


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RB64531. Bronze quadrans, RIC II.1 243, Cohen 17, VF, weight 2.181 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, obverse IMP DOMIT AVG GERM, bust of Ceres (possibly with the features of Domitia) left, wreathed with grain; reverse bundle of three poppies and four stalks of grain, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; rare; $105.00 (89.25)


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; $95.00 (80.75)


Pella, Macedonia, c. 187 - 168 B.C.

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Pella was founded in 399 B.C. by King Archelaus (413 - 399 B.C.) as his capital. It was the seat of Philip II and of his son, Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C., it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later the city was destroyed by an earthquake. By 180 A.D., Lucian could describe it in passing as "now insignificant, with very few inhabitants."
GB79966. Bronze AE 19, SNG ANS 572; SNG Cop 257 var. (no monogram upper right); BMC Macedonia p. 92, 29 var. (same), aVF, attractive patina, well centered on a tight flan, scratches, weight 7.510 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Pella mint, c. 187 - 168 B.C.; obverse veiled facing head of Demeter; reverse cow grazing right; ΠEΛ/ΛHΣ in two lines, starting above, ending below; monogram upper right, monogram below; ear of barley right on right in exergue; $95.00 (80.75)


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 215 - 150 B.C.

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Rhegion reached great artistic and cultural heights. It was home to academies, such as the Pythagorean School, and to well-known poets, historians and sculptors such as Ibycus, Ippy, and Pythagoras. It was an important ally of the Roman Republic. Rhegium flourished during the Imperial Age but was devastated by several major earthquakes and tsunami. St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage to Rome (Acts XXVIII:13).
GI79581. Bronze triens, HN Italy 2557; SNG ANS 766; SNG Cop 1981; SNG Mnchen 1710; BMC Italy p. 384, 105, aF, rough, weak reverse strike, weight 3.330 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rhegion (Reggio, Calabria, Italy) mint, Second Punic War, c. 211 - 201 B.C.; obverse jugate heads of the Dioskouroi right, wearing pilei and laurel wreaths, two stars above; reverse Demeter standing facing, head left, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand, crescent over IIII (mark of value) on left, PHΓINΩN downward on right; ex John Jencek; $34.00 (28.90)







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Catalog current as of Wednesday, September 19, 2018.
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Demeter or Ceres