Seller: wear-the-past (2,025) 99.7%, Location: Salisbury, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 371786093412 This is an ancient late Hellenistic Greek agate intaglio, dating to the 3rd - 2nd century B.C. It is a larger example, designed to be mounted as a pendant. It depicts a profile portrait of Demeter, wearing crown and elaborate headdress. The mother goddess Demeter (Roman Ceres) was the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. She also presided over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.Demeter's virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her if she had eaten nothing while in his realm; but Persephone had eaten a small number of pomegranate seeds. This bound her to Hades and the underworld for certain months of every year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter.Judging by the sombre appearance of Demeter, this intaglio depicts her in grief for her daughter and associates the wearer with the Eleusinian Mysteries. The hope signified by a sprig of leaves growing out of her, symbolic of life, resurrection and motherly devotion.OBJECT: IntaglioCULTURE: Hellenistic GreekDATE: c. 3rd - 2nd century B.C.MATERIAL: AgateSIZE: 21.53mm x 14.97mm x 5.24mmWEIGHT: 2.6 gramsThis item is guaranteed authentic and dates to the period described. A written guarantee can be provided on request. We accept returns if you are not satisfied with your purchase.I am a fully qualified Archaeologist and small finds specialist. All items can be viewed in person on request at Grays, Mayfair in London. Please see my website for details. Condition: good excavated condition, Type: Intaglio, Material: Agate, Culture: Hellenistic Greek, Date: c. 3rd - 2nd century B.C.