The generall history of vvomen containing the lives of the most holy and prophane, the most famous and infamous in all ages, exactly described not only from poeticall fictions, but from the most ancient, modern, and admired historians, to our times
Heywood, Thomas, d. 1641.


THE Goddesse of fruits and grain, and daughter to Saturn and Ops, a Law-giver to the Sicilians: there∣fore by Virgil called Segifera. In Eleusis, a City of Artica, she had divine worship; because she there taught planta∣tion and agriculture; and of that place had the name of lusina; she was honoured in the mount Aetna: in Aeona and Catana, two Cities of Cicily, From whence, as Claudian••lates, she had the name of Aetnaea, Aennaea, and Catanensis the like doth Selius, &c. Lactantius reports, that into these her Temples erected in these Cities, it was not lawfull o Page  23 any man to enter. The manner of the rights among the Philagenses were, that no sacrifices should be slain, only the fruits of planted trees, Honycombs, and new shorn wool, were laid upon the Altar, and sprinkled with sweet oile, and were set a fire, burnt and offered: these Customes were privately and publickly observed yearly, as Pausanias left recorded. The Argives sacrifice to this goddesse by the name of Ceres Clithonia, upon certain set daies in the Summer, after this manner: Their sacrificial pomp is atten∣ded by the chiefe Magistrats of the City: after which com∣pany, the women and children next followed, the boies all in white robes with chaplers about their browes of Hyacin∣thes interwoven: and in the lag end of the same troop were driven a certain number of faire and goodly Oxen, but bound in the strict bands, and drag'd towards the Tem∣ple: being thither come, one of these beasts with his cords loosed was driven in, the rest of the people standing with∣out the gates, and looking on; who, no sooner see him en∣tred, but shut the gates upon him: within the Temple, are four old women Priests with hatches and knives, by whom he is slain, and one of them hath by lot the office to cut off the head of the sacrifice. This done, the doors are againe set open, and the rest, one by one forc'd in, and so in order by the same women slain and offered. In a book of the scituation of Sicily, composed by Cl. Marius Aretius, a Patritian, and of Syracula: Intituled Charographia Siciliae; In the City Aenna saith he (as Strabo consenting with him) were born Ceres, and her daughter Libera, whom some call Proscrpina; From which place she was rapt, and therefore is this City to her sacred. Neer to this City is a river of an infinite depth, whose mouth lieth towards the North, from whence it is said Dis or Pluto; with his chariot made ascent, and hurrying the virgin thence, to have penetrated the earth againe not far from Syracusa. This is that most an∣cient Ceres, whom not Sicilia only, but all other nations whatsoever celebrated. Most certain it is, that she was Queen of the Sicilians, and gave them lawes, taught them the use of illage and husbandry; and that her daughter Libera, was transported thither by Ocus, or Dis, King of the Molossians. In her Temple (part of which, not many years since was standing) were two statues of Marble; one sa∣cred to her, another to Proserpina; another of brasse, beau∣tifull and faire, but wondrous ancient. At the entrance into Page  24 the Church in an open place without, were two other faire portraictures; one of her, another of Triptolemus, large, and of exquisite workmanship: In Ceres right hand was the image of victory most curiously forged. This History with many other, is with much nimble and dextrous with fabula∣ted by Ovid;* to whose Metamorphosis I refer you.

In Ceres is figured to us, an exhortation to all men to be carefull in the manuring and illing of the earth, since Ceres is taken for the Earth, the treasuress of all riches whatsoever; and just is that usury, and commendable, which ariseth from thence: for the fertility that growes that way, is begot by the temperature of the weather, and the industry of mans labours. She is therefore said to wan∣der round about the earth, and over the spacious Universe, because of the obliquity of the sign-bearing circle, and the progress of the Sun beneath that, by which Summer is in some parts of the world at all seasons of the year, and elsewhere, when not here. Besides, from hence this mora∣lity may be collected, No man unpunished can despise the gods: for miseries are the hand-maids of dishonesty, there∣fore of force, a wicked and irreligions man is subject and incident to fall into many distresses and casualties: there∣fore Piety towards heaven, Wisdome in managing our af∣fairs, and Thri•••〈◊〉 in the disposing of our private for∣tunes, me all requisite in an honest, religious, a parsimo∣nious, and well disposed man.