Ceres wearing a polos? Or is it a modius?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The depiction of Ceres on this antoninianus of Salonina from Antioch strikes me as odd because the goddess appears to be wearing a polos, which isn't one of her usual attributes. Rather, she is typically depicted as veiled or wearing a crown made of grain.

    Salonina Antioch CERERI AVG antoninianus.jpg
    Cornelia Salonina, AD 253-268.
    Roman silvered billon antoninianus, 3.15 g, 22.7 mm, 5 h.
    Antioch, AD 265
    Obv: SALONINA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent.
    Rev: CERERI AVG, Ceres, veiled and wearing polos, seated left, holding grain head with right hand and long torch in left. Branch in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 90; Göbl 1637e, Cohen 22; RCV 10627.

    Cohen describes the headdress as a modius:

    Capture 1.JPG

    Compare, for example, these other Roman coins in my collection depicting Ceres, none of which portray her wearing a polos:

    Faustina Sr CERES seated denarius.jpg
    Faustina Jr CERES denarius type 1.jpg
    Domna CERERI FRVGIF denarius.jpg
    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres standing denarius.jpg
    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres Denarius.jpg
    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres long torch Dupondius.jpg
    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres short torch sestertius.jpg

    It's not entirely unheard of, however, and this small 1st-2nd century AD figurine portrays the goddess with a polos and holding a torch (bent) and grain ears. But I'm unaware of Roman coins depicting her in this way.


    While I'd love to see any examples you have of Demeter or Ceres wearing a polos, please feel free to post anything you feel is relevant.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
    dlhill132, Curtisimo, Andres2 and 9 others like this.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    These provincial coins of Faustina II from Pautalia in Thrace depict Demeter, the Greek equivalent of Ceres. She doesn't wear a polos on these coins, either:

    Faustina Jr Pautalia Demeter Standing.jpg
    Faustina Jr Pautalia Demeter.jpg
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Interesting! Might it indicate the influence of Serapis?
    benhur767 likes this.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    More likely Cybele, I think.

    Severus Anchialos.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    M Volteius.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Head of Bacchus or Liber right, wreathed with ivy
    REVERSE: Ceres holding two torches, in biga of serpents right. Symbol in left field (double headed axe)
    Rome 76BC
    3.75g, 18mm
    Volteia 3; Cr385/3; Sear 314
    L Furius CNF Brocchus.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Bust of Ceres right between wheat-ear and barley-corn; III VIR across field, BROCCHI below
    REVERSE: Curule chair between fasces; L. FVRI/CN. F above
    Rome 63 BC
    3.9g, 20mm
    Cr414/1; Furia 23
    Vespasian 1.jpg
    VESPASIANAR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right
    REVERSE: TR POT X COS VIIII, Ceres seated left, holding grain ears and torch
    Struck at Rome, 79AD
    3.4g, 18mm
    RIC 1062
    Faustina 1.jpg
    AE As
    OBVERSE: DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right
    REVERSE: AVGVSTA S-C, Ceres standing left holding torch & corn-ears
    Struck at Rome, 148-161AD
    13.5g, 27mm
    RIC 1171
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I love how clearly Ceres is rendered as wearing a crown of grain ears.
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I regret that I only have one Ceres, and she is pretty worn:

    RI Titus 79-81 CE AR Denarius Ceres seated corn ear poppy torch.jpg
    RI Titus 79-81 CE AR Denarius Ceres seated corn ear poppy torch

    I always felt that Ceres was similar to Tanit and Demeter:

    Carthage mint 2nd Punic War 203-201 BCE BI 1½ Shekels 24mm 9.4g Grain Wreathed Head of Tanit - Horse standing R head L, raised foreleg Pellet SNG COP 394
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
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