Ops was one of the ancient Sabine
goddesses of Rome. She was the goddess of the harvest and of agriculture
, but also of fertility in general - her name means "plenty" or "bounty
". She was believed to be the sister and wife of Saturn
and shared the Saturnalia
celebrations with him. She also had her own thanksgiving festival, the Opalia
, straight after the Saturnalia, on December 9th, and several other festivals the year round. When praying to Ops, one made sure to touch the earth
, for she was the mother of all things mortal and earthly.
The temple of Ops Capitolina (on the Capitoline Hill in Rome) is famous for Julius Ceasar's placing the Roman treasury there. It was also the repository of military diplomas (which were nailed to its walls) and posibly for the standard weights and measures of the Republic. She also had a sanctuary in the Forum Romanum which she shared with Ceres, another fertility goddess, in their shared role as protectors of the harvest.
Being one of the oldest Roman deities, Ops fell somewhat out of favour with the ruling classes towards the end of the Republic and in Imperial times. The Greek pantheon was imported wholesale, and the cults of other gods, from Egypt or the East gradually grew in influence and numbers of believers. Nevertheless, the common people of Rome and Italy largely stayed loyal to their traditional cults of ancestor worship, the Lares and Penates, and the Old Roman pantheon of which Ops was a major part.
A mysterious and forbidding goddess like many if not most of the Old Roman deities, Ops gradually came to be worshipped most actively by women, who also served in active roles as initiates and priestesses (rather than second-tier spectators, as they were in most of official Roman State Religion), alongside Bona Dea and Mater Matuta. Parallel to this shift away from the mainstream, Ops became associated more and more with Ceres to the point of being almost interchangeable. The mystery rites of this new multy-faceted Mother/Earth/Fertility goddess gradually came to include Ops as well under the umbrella of the Bachannalia.
Of the early, original cult of Ops almost nothing is known, or more, exactly, nothing whatsoever that I could find. The Romans not being generally given to ecstatic mystery rites, one would be safe in assuming that they were more of the sedate procession kind than the Dionysian frenzy kind. No statues that I know of survive. The pre-Hellenised Romans were not great fans of statuary, on the premise that the gods might be offended by a bad portriat, and it's better not to take unnecessary risks.