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Townley Caryatid

Townley Caryatid - British Museum - Joy of Museums

Townley Caryatid

This Townley Caryatid depicts a woman with cereal motifs on her modius headdress who is dressed to take part in religious rites possibly fertility rites related to Demeter or Ceres. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.

The Townley Caryatid dates to the Roman era, of 140 AD, and is in the Neo-Attic style adapted from the 5th century BC Athenian workmanship. It is one of a group of five surviving caryatids found on the same site, arranged to form a colonnade in a religious sanctuary built on land fronting on the Via Appia. The sanctuary was probably dedicated to Demeter.

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Photo Credit: 1) JOM