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Annona is an ancient Italic goddess. Annona is goddess of abundance and supplies, not to be confused with the goddess Abundantia, as Annona presided over only one season.
Considered the personification of crops, she was often depicted with Ceres and depicted holding ears of corn. She was worshiped along with Libera and Liberalitas, and Copia and Abundantia, all goddesses of the harvests. She represented and guaranteed the annual harvest of the crops with propitiatory and thanksgiving rites, equivalent to the harvest festival.
Her name is derived from Annualis, derivative of annus, thus occurring every year. The Romans had state services, the Annona, that screened the harvest for tax collection but also to ensure supplies in case of famine. In fact, the goddess was also in charge of partitioning the harvest for subsequent planting and as a reserve granary for famines. The sacredness of partition obligated farmers, even before it became law, to provide for such needs.
Featured image: Annona (standing right) holds a cornucopia, facing Ceres (seated left) holding grain-ears and torch, with a modius on the garlanded altar between them and a ship’s stern behind on a sestertius of Nero.
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