Libera

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Libera was the female counterpart of Liber Pater in early Roman religion.

She was a goddess of wine, masculine fertility, and liberty who was compared to the Greek Bacchus or Dionysus. Libera was initially an Italic goddess who, at some point in Rome’s Regal or very early Republican eras, was coupled with Liber as a “etymological duality.” She first appears in Roman history as a member of the so-called Triadic cult, together with Ceres and Liber, in a temple built at public cost on the Aventine Hill in 493 BC as a reward for the plebs (Rome’s citizen-commoners), who had threatened secession.

Together, these three gods served as the commoners of Rome’s inhabitants’ heavenly patrons and protectors, as well as the keepers of the written laws and senate records that were kept within the temple soon after it was built. Libera may have received cult on March 17 at Liber’s festival, Liberalia, or at some point during the seven days of Cerealia, which took place in the middle to late April. Both Liber and Libera’s names were later additions to Ceres’ festival. When Libera and Ceres received the ritus graecia cereris, a Romanized variation of the Greek mystery ritual, in 205 BC, Libera was formally recognized as Proserpina.

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