Ceres/Demeter – Goddess of the Harvest

~ Ceres with Two Nymphs by Frans Snyders and Peter Paul Rubens

Ceres was the Goddess of the Harvest (corn, wheat, barley and etc.). She was one of the twelve great Olympian Gods due to her importance in agriculture (all major ancient civilizations were agrarian).

Other information:

  1. Ceres is usually depicted with her daughter Persephone who was abducted by Hades.
  2. Many legends tell of how Ceres searched far and wide on Earth for Persephone in various disguises. On Earth, she taught humans the art of agriculture.
  3. One legend tells of how Ceres became a nurse to Metanira, Queen of Eleusis. She tried to make Metanira’s son immortal by holding him over a fire to burn away his mortality but she was stopped when a very horrified queen thought that her baby was being killed.
  4. Revealing herself to Metanira, Ceres ordered the Eleusinians to build a temple which she retreated in mourning for the lost of her daughter. As a result, there was worldwide famine until Jupiter intervened and decreed that Persephone be returned from the Underworld for the months during spring and summer every year. Thus, the four seasons occur in the same cycle every year. 
  5. The word ‘cereal’ comes from the word Ceres.

Classical References:

Hesiod, TheogonyHomeric Hymn to Demeter


Wheat; Horn of Plenty; sickle; chariot; flaming torches; snakes

Ceres (Summer) Jean-Antoine Watteau

Ceres (Summer) by Jean-Antoine Watteau

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