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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.

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
One explanation for Nero's slight beard on this coin is that it is his "beard of mourning" for the death of his wife Poppaea. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. The story of her death may have been a lie, part of a larger effort to denigrate Nero after his suicide. Certainly Poppaea was deeply mourned by Nero. During the mourning period, Nero may have followed Roman customs and not shaved his face. A similar light beard also occurs on some tetradrachms of Antioch dated 65 - 66 A.D.
RB112056. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 138, BMCRE I 129, Mac Dowall WCN 128, Cohen I 18, BnF II -, Hunter I -, SRCV -, aVF/F, brown tone, corrosion, a few pits, weight 27.266 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus Pontifex Maximus Tribunicia Potestate Imperator Pater Patriae), laureate head left, short beard visible, no globe at point of bust; reverse ANNONA AVGVSTI CERES, Annona standing right, right hand on hip, cornucopia in left hand, facing Ceres enthroned left, veiled, feet on footstool, stalks of grain in right hand, torch in left hand; in center modius on garlanded altar, prow behind, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||AE| |29|
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, the Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP110620. Bronze AE 29, HHJ Nikopolis 8.36.5.1, AMNG I/I 2048, RPC VII.2 1265.1, SNG Budapest 482, Varbanov I 4186 var. (rev. legend arrangement), Choice VF, broad flan with full borders and legends, green patina, central depressions, weight 13.556 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Sabinius Modestus, 241 - 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANTW ΓOPΔIANOC AVΓ (AVΓ ligate), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse VΠ CAB MOΔECTOY NIKOΠΟΛEITΩN ΠP,O/C/I/C (ΩN & ΠP ligate, last 4 letters in column in left field), Demeter standing facing, head left, grain-ears in right hand, long torch in left hand; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00


Agrippina Junior, Augusta 50 - March 59 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia

|Hierapolis|, |Agrippina| |Junior,| |Augusta| |50| |-| |March| |59| |A.D.,| |Hierapolis,| |Phrygia||assarion|
Hierapolis (Greek: "Holy City") was located on hot springs in Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century B.C., with many patrons retiring or dying there. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi.
RP110002. Bronze assarion, RPC I 2983 (4 spec.); SNGvA 3649; BMC Phrygia p. 249, 127, VF, rough areas of light corrosion, legends weak, weight 3.731 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, magistrate Magytes Neoteros, c. 55 A.D.; obverse AΓPIΠΠINA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust right; reverse MAΓYTHΣ NEΩTEPOΣ IEPAΠOΛEITΩN, Demeter seated left on throne, stalk of grain and two poppies in right hand; rare; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


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

|Claudius|, |Claudius,| |25| |January| |41| |-| |13| |October| |54| |A.D.||dupondius|
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.
RB110715. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I 110, BMCRE I 197, BnF II 222, Hunter I 84, Cohen I 1, SRCV I 1856, aF, porosity, corrosion, marks, slightly off center, weight 10.850 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, 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; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D., Sardes, Lydia

|Sardes|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.,| |Sardes,| |Lydia||AE| |27|
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.
SL111601. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online III 2390 (7 spec.); BMC Lydia p. 256, 130; McClean 8712; Lindgren 816, NGC Ch F, 4/5, 2/5 (5770978-001), weight 12.21 g, maximum diameter 27 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, obverse AYTOKPATΩP NEPBAC CEBACTOC, laureate head right; reverse CAPΔIANΩN, Demeter standing facing, head left, clad in long chiton with peplos and veil, ears of grain in right hand, long scepter in right hand; NGC| Lookup; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Anazarbus, Cilicia, 114 - 115 A.D.

|Cilicia|, |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia,| |114| |-| |115| |A.D.||hemiassarion|
The torch is a symbol that can be related to either Artemis or Demeter. Although 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.
GB110042. Bronze hemiassarion, Ziegler 122; RPC III 3375; BMC Lycaonia p. 31, 3; SNG BnF 2026; cf. SNG Levante 1380 (year 132); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Righetti -, F, dark green patina, scratches, reverse edge beveled, weight 3.023 g, maximum diameter 17.0 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 veiled bust of Demeter right, wearing polos (resembling a pileus), flaming torch before, ET ΓΛP (year 133) upward behind; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Kibyra, Phrygia, c. 138 - 192 A.D.

|Other| |Phrygia|, |Kibyra,| |Phrygia,| |c.| |138| |-| |192| |A.D.||AE| |21|
Kibyra (Cibyra) near the modern town of Glhisar in south-west Turkey, was possibly originally settled by Lydians. The city was in the far south of Phrygia adjoining Lycia. It is uncertain whether the city was part of the Province of Asia or of Lycia in the early imperial period. According to Strabo, the Lydian language was still being spoken by a multicultural population in the 1st century B.C. Thus Kibyra was the last place where the Lydian culture, by then extinct in Lydia proper, persevered.
RP110161. Bronze AE 21, RPC IV.2 T1953 (10 spec.); Kurth Demos 358; SNG Cop 276; SNGvA 3724; BMC Phrygia p. 135, 25; SNG Mu -; Lindgren -, aVF/VF, dark green patina, rough, porous, earthen deposits, broad flan, weight 6.631 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Kibyra (near Golhisar, Turkey) mint, c. 138 - 192 A.D.; obverse ΔHMOC (clockwise from upper right), laureate head of Demos right, unbearded; reverse KIBYPATWN, Demeter standing slightly left, head left, wearing long chiton and veil, poppy and grain in right hand, long torch in left hand; rare; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50


Philadelphia, Arabia Petraea, 164 - 165 A.D.

|Roman| |Arabia|, |Philadelphia,| |Arabia| |Petraea,| |164| |-| |165| |A.D.||AE| |17|
Rabbath-Ammon of the Old Testament, was renamed Philadelphia by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, and is today Amman, Jordan. Genesis identifies the Ammonites as descendants of Ben-ammi, who was born of an incestuous union between a drunken Lot and his younger daughter (Genesis 19:38). The Israelite Jephthah crossed the Jordan River "to attack the Ammonites, and the Lord delivered them into his hands" (Judges 11:32). Before the battle, he swore an oath that, for victory, he would sacrifice the first thing to greet him when he returned home - it was his daughter, his his only child, who came out to meet him with tambourines and dancing. At the sight of her, he tore his clothes and said, "Oh, my daughter, you have broken my heart!" and he fulfilled the vow he had made (Judges 11:34-39).
GB110783. Bronze AE 17, RPC Online IV.3 6656.4; Sofaer 8; SNG ANS 1379; Spijkerman 3; Rosenberger 28; BMC Arabia p. 37, 2; Meshorer City Coins 257, aF, dark brown patina, earthen deposits, porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.190 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Philadelphia (Amman, Jordan) mint, rule of Marcus Aurelius, 164 - 165 A.D.; obverse ΦΙΛ KOI CYPI, wreathed in grain, veiled and draped bust of Demeter right, two stalks of grain before her; reverse ETOYC ZKC (year 277 [of the Pompeian Era]), two snakes with two stalks of grain between them, rising from cista mystica (wicker basket); Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; rare; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00







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