Pomona was a goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion and myth. Her name comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," orchard fruit. Pomona was said to be a wood nymph. In the myth narrated by Ovid, she scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman, she and Vertumnus shared a festival held on August 13. Her priest was called the flamen Pomonalis; the pruning knife was her attribute. There is a grove, sacred to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome. Pomona was the goddess of fruit trees and orchards. Unlike many other Roman goddesses and gods, she does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is associated with Demeter, she cares for their cultivation. She was not associated with the harvest of fruits itself, but with the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia; the City of Pomona in Los Angeles County, California, is named after the goddess.
Pomona College was founded in the city and retained its name after relocating to its present-day location, Claremont. The Pomona Docks were built on the site of the Pomona Gardens. A former public house nearby was named the Pomona Palace. A bronze statue of Pomona sits atop the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza in New York; the fountain was funded by newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer, designed by the architect Thomas Hastings, crowned by a statue conceived by the sculptor Karl Bitter. The fountain was dedicated in May 1916. Pomona is mentioned in C. S. Lewis's children's book Prince Caspian. Pomona is the title of a play by Alistair McDowell, commissioned in 2014 for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Karpo, one of the Horae; the ballet Pomona, with music by Constant Lambert, choreography by Frederick Ashton and scenery and costumes by Vanessa Bell, was first performed by the Vic-Wells Ballet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre on 17 January 1933. Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Pomona". Encyclopædia Britannica.
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In Roman religion, the genius is the individual instance of a general divine nature, present in every individual person, place, or thing. Much like a guardian angel, the genius would follow each man from the hour of his birth until the day he died. For women, it was the Juno spirit; each individual place so did powerful objects, such as volcanoes. The concept extended to some specifics: the genius of the theatre, of vineyards, of festivals, which made performances successful, grapes grow, celebrations succeed, respectively, it was important in the Roman mind to propitiate the appropriate genii for the major undertakings and events of their lives. The Christian theologian Augustine equated the Christian "soul" with the Roman genius, citing Varro as attributing the rational powers and abilities of every human being to their genius. Although the term genius might apply to any divinity whatsoever, most of the higher-level and state genii had their own well-established names. Genius applied most to individual places or people not known.
Houses, gates, districts, each one had its own genius. The supreme hierarchy of the Roman gods, like that of the Greeks, was modelled after a human family, it featured a father, the supreme divine unity, a mother, queen of the gods. These supreme unities were subdivided into genii for each individual family; the male function was a Jupiter. The juno was worshipped under many titles: Iugalis, "of marriage" Matronalis, "of married women" Pronuba, "of brides" Virginalis, "of virginity"Genii were viewed as protective spirits, as one would propitiate them for protection. For example, to protect infants one propitiated a number of deities concerned with birth and childrearing: Cuba and Rumina. If those genii did not perform their proper function well, the infant would be in danger. Hundreds of lararia, or family shrines, have been discovered at Pompeii off the atrium, kitchen or garden, where the smoke of burnt offerings could vent through the opening in the roof. A lararium was distinct from the penus, another shrine where the penates, gods associated with the storerooms, was located.
Each lararium features a panel fresco containing the same theme: two peripheral figures attend on a central figure or two figures who may or may not be at an altar. In the foreground is one or two serpents crawling toward the genius through a meadow motif. Campania and Calabria preserved an ancient practice of keeping a propitious house snake, here linked with the genius. In another, unrelated fresco the snake-in-meadow appears below a depiction of Mount Vesuvius and is labelled Agathodaimon, "good daimon", where daimon must be regarded as the Greek equivalent of genius; the word is loaned from genius, deriving from gēns from the Indo-European root *gene-, "give birth, produce". The genius appears explicitly in Roman literature as early as Plautus, where one character in the play, jests that the father of another is so avaricious that he uses cheap Samian ware in sacrifices to his own genius, so as not to tempt the genius to steal it. In this passage, the genius is not identical to the person, as to propitiate oneself would be absurd, yet the genius has the avarice of the person.
Horace, writing when the first emperor was introducing the cult of his own genius, describes the genius as "the companion which controls the natal star. Octavius Caesar on return to Rome after the final victory of the Roman Civil War at the Battle of Actium appeared to the Senate to be a man of great power and success a mark of divinity. In recognition of the prodigy they voted. In concession to this sentiment he chose the name Augustus, capturing the numinous meaning of English "august." The household cult of the Genius Augusti dates from this period. It was propitiated at every meal along with the other household numina, thus began the tradition of the Imperial cult, in which Romans worshipped the genius of the emperor rather than the person. If the genius of the imperator, or commander of all troops, was to be propitiated, so was that of all the units under his command; the provincial troops expanded the idea of the genii of state. Inscriptional dedications to genius were not confined to the military.
From Gallia Cisalpina under the empire are numerous dedications to the genii of persons of authority and respect. Sometimes the dedication is combined with other words, such as "to the genius and honor" or in the case of couples, "to the genius and Juno."Surviving from the time of the empire hundreds of dedicatory and sepulchral inscriptions ranging over the entire t
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may refer to the modern study of these representations, to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period. The Romans treated their traditional narratives as historical when these have miraculous or supernatural elements; the stories are concerned with politics and morality, how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme; when the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual and institutions than with theology or cosmogony. The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, by the artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors.
In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks, to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks. While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse; because Latin literature was more known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical; because ritual played the central role in Roman religion that myth did for the Greeks, it is sometimes doubted that the Romans had much of a native mythology.
This perception is a product of Romanticism and the classical scholarship of the 19th century, which valued Greek civilization as more "authentically creative." From the Renaissance to the 18th century, Roman myths were an inspiration for European painting. The Roman tradition is rich in historical myths, or legends, concerning the foundation and rise of the city; these narratives focus on human actors, with only occasional intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny. In Rome's earliest period and myth have a mutual and complementary relationship; as T. P. Wiseman notes: The Roman stories still matter, as they mattered to Dante in 1300 and Shakespeare in 1600 and the founding fathers of the United States in 1776. What does it take to be a free citizen? Can a superpower still be a republic? How does well-meaning authority turn into murderous tyranny? Major sources for Roman myth include the Aeneid of Vergil and the first few books of Livy's history as well as Dionysius' s Roman Antiquities.
Other important sources are the Fasti of Ovid, a six-book poem structured by the Roman religious calendar, the fourth book of elegies by Propertius. Scenes from Roman myth appear in Roman wall painting and sculpture reliefs; the Aeneid and Livy's early history are the best extant sources for Rome's founding myths. Material from Greek heroic legend was grafted onto this native stock at an early date; the Trojan prince Aeneas was cast as husband of Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, patronymical ancestor of the Latini, therefore through a convoluted revisionist genealogy as forebear of Romulus and Remus. By extension, the Trojans were adopted as the mythical ancestors of the Roman people; the characteristic myths of Rome are political or moral, that is, they deal with the development of Roman government in accordance with divine law, as expressed by Roman religion, with demonstrations of the individual's adherence to moral expectations or failures to do so. Rape of the Sabine women, explaining the importance of the Sabines in the formation of Roman culture, the growth of Rome through conflict and alliance.
Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome who consorted with the nymph Egeria and established many of Rome's legal and religious institutions. Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, whose mysterious origins were mythologized and, said to have been the lover of the goddess Fortuna; the Tarpeian Rock, why it was used for the execution of traitors. Lucretia, whose self-sacrifice prompted the overthrow of the early Roman monarchy and led to the establishment of the Republic. Cloelia, A Roman woman taken hostage by Lars Porsena, she escaped the Clusian camp with a group of Roman virgins. Horatius at the bridge, on the importance of individual valor. Mucius Scaevola, who thrust his right hand into the fire to prove his loyalty to Rome. Caeculus and the founding of Praeneste. Manlius and the geese, about divine intervention at the Gallic siege of Rome. Stories pertaining to the Nonae Caprotinae and Poplifugia festivals. Coriolanus, a story of politics and morality; the Etruscan city of Corythus as the "cradle" of Trojan and Italian civilization.
The arrival of the Great Mother in Rome. Narratives of divine activity played a more important role in the system of Greek religious belief than among the Romans, for whom ritual and cult were primary. Although Roman religion did not have a basis in scriptures and exegesis, priestly literature was one of the earliest written forms of Latin prose; the books and commentaries of the College of Pontiffs and
Venus is a Roman goddess, whose functions encompassed love, desire, fertility and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles; the Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the classical tradition of the West, Venus became one of the most referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. Venus embodies sex, beauty, enticement and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods, it has connections to venerari and venia through a possible common root in an Indo-European *wenes- or *u̯enis. Their common Proto-Indo-European root is assumed as *wen- or *u̯en- "to strive for, wish for, love"). Venus has been described as "the most original creation of the Roman pantheon", "an ill-defined and assimilative" native goddess, combined "with a strange and exotic Aphrodite".
Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome's official pantheon and the state, the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic. The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root *venes- with Latin venenum, in the sense of "a charm, magic philtre". In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life, her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection, she is assimilative and benign, embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes. Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals and household shrines.
Petronius, in his Satyricon, places an image of Venus among the Lares of the freedman Trimalchio's lararium. Prospective brides offered Venus a gift "before the wedding"; some Roman sources say. In dice-games, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as "Venus". Venus' signs were for the most part the same as Aphrodite's, they include roses, which were offered in Venus' Porta Collina rites, above all, cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. Venus' statues, her worshipers, wore myrtle crowns at her festivals. Before its adoption into Venus' cults, myrtle was used in the purification rites of Cloacina, the Etruscan-Roman goddess of Rome's main sewer. Roman folk-etymology transformed the ancient, obscure goddess Murcia into "Venus of the Myrtles, whom we now call Murcia". Myrtle was thought a potent aphrodisiac; the female pudendum the clitoris, was known as murtos. As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets.
Marriage itself was not a seduction but a lawful condition, under Juno's authority. Venus was a patron of the ordinary, everyday wine drunk by most Roman men and women. In the rites to Bona Dea, a goddess of female chastity, Venus and anything male were not only excluded, but unmentionable; the rites allowed women to drink the strongest, sacrificial wine, otherwise reserved for the Roman gods and Roman men. Under these special circumstances, they could get virtuously, religiously drunk on strong wine, safe from Venus' temptations. Outside of this context, ordinary wine tinctured with myrtle oil was thought suitable for women. Roman generals given an ovation, a lesser form of Roman triumph, wore a myrtle crown to purify themselves and their armies of blood-guilt; the ovation ceremony was assimilated to Venus Victrix, held to have granted and purified its "easy" victory. The first known temple to Venus was vowed to Venus Obsequens by Q. Fabius Gurges in the heat of a battle against the Samnites, it was dedicated in 295 BC, at a site near the Aventine Hill, was funded by fines imposed on Roman women for sexual misdemeanours.
Its rites and character were influenced by or based on Greek Aphrodite's cults, which were diffused in various forms throughout Italian Magna Graeca. Its dedication date connects Venus Obsequens to the Vinalia rustica festival. In 217 BC, in the early stages of the Second Punic War with Carthage, Rome suffered a disastrous defeat at the battle of Lake Trasimene; the Sibyllin
Egeria was a nymph attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of Numa Pompilius, the second Sabine king of Rome, to whom she imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female counselor. Egeria may predate Roman myth: she could have been of Italic origin in the sacred forest of Aricia in Latium, her immemorial site, the grove of Diana Nemorensis. At Aricia there was a Manius Egerius, a male counterpart of Egeria; the name Egeria has been diversely interpreted. Egeria as a nymph or minor goddess of the Roman religious system is of unclear origin. Described sometime as a "mountain nymph", she is regarded as a water nymph and somehow her cult involved some link with childbirth, like the Greek goddess Ilithyia, but most of all, Egeria gave wisdom and prophecy in return for libations of water or milk at her sacred groves. This quality has been made popular through the tale of her relationship with Numa Pompilius.
According to mythology she counseled and guided the King Numa Pompilius in the establishment of the original framework of laws and rituals of Rome. Numa is reputed to have written down the teachings of Egeria in "sacred books" that he had buried with him; when a chance accident brought them back to light some 500 years the Senate deemed them inappropriate for disclosure to the people, ordered their destruction. What made them inappropriate was some matter of religious nature with "political" bearing that has not been handed down by Valerius Antias, the source that Plutarch was using. Dionysius of Halicarnassus hints that they were kept as a close secret by the Pontifices, she is gifted with oracular capabilities. In another episode she helps Numa in a battle of wits with Jupiter himself, whereby Numa sought to gain a protective ritual against lightning strokes and thunder. Numa invoked communicating with other deities, such as Muses; the precise level of her relationship to Numa has been described diversely.
She is given the respectful label coniuncta. By Juvenal's day that tradition was treated more critically. Juvenal called her Numa's Amica in a sceptical phrase. Numa Pompilius died in 673 BC of old age. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, with Numa's death Egeria melted into tears of sorrow, thus becoming a spring, traditionally identified with the one nearby Porta Capena in Rome. A spring and a grove once sacred to Egeria stand close to a gate of the Porta Capena, its waters were dedicated to the exclusive use of the Vestals. The ninfeo, a favored picnic spot for nineteenth-century Romans, can still be visited in the archaeological park of the Caffarella, between the Appian Way and the more ancient Via Latina, nearby the Baths of Caracalla. In the second century, when Herodes Atticus recast an inherited villa nearby as a great landscaped estate, the natural grotto was formalized as an arched interior with an apsidal end where a statue of Egeria once stood in a niche; the primeval spring, one of dozens of springs that flow into the river Almone, was made to feed large pools, one of, known as Lacus Salutaris or "Lake of Health".
Juvenal regretted an earlier phase of architectural elaboration: Nymph of the Spring! More honour’d hadst thou been, If, free from art, an edge of living green, Thy bubbling fount had circumscribed alone, And marble ne’er profaned the native stone. In Nathaniel Lee's English Restoration tragedy Lucius Junius Brutus, Egeria appears in a vision to Brutus' son Titus. Letitia Elizabeth Landon's poem Egeria's Grotto in The New Monthly Magazine, 1826, descriptive of an artistic representation of Egeria's Spring.. In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ear
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops and motherly relationships. She was the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres", her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales. She was honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, during Roman marriages and funeral rites. Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii 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. Ceres' name derives from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root *ḱerh₃-, meaning "to satiate, to feed", the root for Latin crescere "to grow" and through it, the English words create and increase. Roman etymologists thought ceres derived from the Latin verb gerere, "to bear, bring forth, produce", because the goddess was linked to pastoral and human fertility.
Archaic cults to Ceres are well-evidenced among Rome's neighbours in the Regal period, including the ancient Latins and Sabellians, less among the Etruscans and Umbrians. An archaic Faliscan inscription of c. 600 BC asks her to provide far, a dietary staple of the Mediterranean world. Throughout the Roman era, Ceres' name was synonymous with grain and, by extension, with bread. Ceres was credited with the discovery of spelt wheat, the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing and nourishing of the young seed, the gift of agriculture to humankind, she had the power to fertilise and fructify plant and animal seed, her laws and rites protected all activities of the agricultural cycle. In January, Ceres was offered spelt wheat and a pregnant sow, along with the earth-goddess Tellus, at the movable Feriae Sementivae; this was certainly held before the annual sowing of grain. The divine portion of sacrifice was the entrails presented in an earthenware pot. In a rural context, Cato the Elder describes the offer to Ceres of a porca praecidanea.
Before the harvest, she was offered a propitiary grain sample. Ovid tells that Ceres "is content with little, provided that her offerings are casta". Ceres' main festival, was held from mid to late April, it included circus games. It opened with a horse-race in the Circus Maximus, whose starting point lay below and opposite to her Aventine Temple. After the race, foxes were released into the Circus, their tails ablaze with lighted torches to cleanse the growing crops and protect them from disease and vermin, or to add warmth and vitality to their growth. From c.175 BC, Cerealia included ludi scaenici through April 12 to 18. In the ancient sacrum cereale a priest the Flamen Cerialis, invoked Ceres along with twelve specialised, minor assistant-gods to secure divine help and protection at each stage of the grain cycle, beginning shortly before the Feriae Sementivae. W. H. Roscher lists these deities among the indigitamenta, names used to invoke specific divine functions. Vervactor, "He who ploughs" Reparator, "He who prepares the earth" Imporcitor, "He who ploughs with a wide furrow" Insitor, "He who plants seeds" Obarator, "He who traces the first ploughing" Occator, "He who harrows" Serritor, "He who digs" Subruncinator, "He who weeds" Messor, "He who reaps" Conuector, "He who carries the grain" Conditor, "He who stores the grain" Promitor, "He who distributes the grain" In Roman bridal processions, a young boy carried Ceres' torch to light the way.
The adult males of the wedding party waited at the groom's house. A wedding sacrifice was offered to Tellus on the bride's behalf. Varro describes the sacrifice of a pig as "a worthy mark of weddings" because "our women, nurses" call the female genitalia porcus. Spaeth believes Ceres may have been included in the sacrificial dedication, because she is identified with Tellus and, as Ceres legifera, she "bears the laws" of marriage. In the most solemn form of marriage, the bride and groom shared a cake made of far, the ancient wheat-type associated with Ceres. From at least the mid-republican era, an official, joint cult to Ceres and Proserpina reinforced Ceres' connection with Roman ideals of female virtue; the promotion of this cult coincides with the rise of a plebeian nobility, an increased birthrate among plebeian commoners, a fall in the birthrate among patrician families. The late Republican Ceres Mater is described as alma. Several of Ceres' ancient Italic precursors are motherhood. Ceres was patron and protector of plebeian laws and Tribunes