Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships in Roman religion.

Symbols: Sickle, sheaf of wheat, cornucopia, cereal
Parents: Saturn and Ops
Siblings: Juno, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Vesta
Children: Proserpina
Festivals: Cerealia, Ambarvalia 
Greek equivalent: Demeter

Ceres of Mérida (cropped).jpg
Seated Ceres from Emerita Augusta, present-day Mérida, Spain, National Museum of Roman Art, 1st c. AD.

Ceres was credited with the discovery of spelt wheat, the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing, protection and nourishing of the young seed, and the gift of agriculture to humankind; before this, it was said, man had subsisted on acorns, and wandered without settlement or laws. She had the power to fertilise, multiply and fructify plant and animal seed, and her laws and rites protected all activities of the agricultural cycle.

Sestertius of Nero, 66 AD. OBVERSE: the emperor’s garlanded head. REVERSE: a standing Annona holds cornucopiae and enthroned Ceres holds grain-ears and torch. Between them on a garlanded altar, a modius (grain measure) and in the background, a ship’s stern.

Ceres was also patron and protector of plebeian laws, rights and Tribunes. Her Aventine temple served the plebeians as cult centre, legal archive, treasury and possibly law-court.

Funerary statue of an unknown woman, depicted as Ceres holding wheat. Mid-3rd c. AD, Louvre.