, CERIA´LES LUDI
(the spelling Cereales
is incorrect: Mommsen,
. 2.451, note 2), festivals celebrated at Rome in
honour of Ceres. In B.C. 493 the worship of Demeter (under the name of the
old Italian goddess Ceres) was introduced at Rome by the direction of the
keepers of the Sibylline books, and a temple was built in her honour
(aedes Cereris Liberi Liberaeque,
called aedes Cereris
) near the Circus Maximus.
The ritual was entirely Greek, the priestesses were Greeks, and the prayers
offered were in Greek (Cic. pro Balb.
, 55; de Leg.
2.9, 21; 15, 37). In connexion
with this worship, games were instituted under the direction of the plebeian
aediles. The festival was properly a plebeian one, but the patricians were
invited to take part in it (Gel. 18.2
). At first the games were held only on
extraordinary occasions (Liv. 10.23
), but afterwards they were celebrated
annually from the 12th to the 19th of April, the last day being called
especially the Cerialia.
This spring festival
was intended to commemorate the return of Proserpine to earth; hence all who
took part in it were dressed in white. No bloody sacrifice was permitted,
except that of a sow (Ov. Fast. 4.414
offerings consisted of cakes, honey, and incense. It was celebrated with
games in the circus, but with no scenic representations before the time of
Augustus (Ritschl, Parerga,
p. 287). On the
last day there was in the country a procession round the fields (Verg. G. 1.345
), in the town a procession to
the circus (Ov. Fast. 4.389
de Re Rust.
A second festival, the sacrum anniversarium
was held in August (Liv.
), and was a thanksgiving feast, belonging to the sacra publica
de Leg. 2.9
, 21), but observed only by women,
who were dressed in white, and brought the first-fruits to the goddess. They
prepared themselves for it by fasting and separating themselves from their
husbands for nine days. (Ov. Met. 10.431
ff.) (Marquardt, Röm. Staatsv.
iii. pp. 346-350;
Preller, Röm. Myth.
pp. 432 ff.)