Originally a Phrygian goddess, Cybele (Greek Κυβέλη) was a deification of the Earth Mother who was worshiped in Anatolia

from Neolithic times. Like Gaia (the "Earth") or her Minoan equivalent Rhea, Cybele embodies the fertile earth, a goddess of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals (especially lions and bees). Her title potnia theron, which is also associated with the Minoan Great Mother, alludes to her ancient Neolithic roots as "Mistress of the Animals". She becomes a life-death-rebirth deity in connection with her consort, her son Attis. Her Roman equivalent was Magna Mater or "Great Mother". Walter Burkert, who treats Meter among "foreign gods" in Greek Religion (1985, section III.3,4) puts it succinctly: "The cult of the Great Mother, Meter, presents a complex picture insofar as indigenous, Minoan-Mycenean tradition is here intertwined with a cult taken over directly from the Phrygian kingdom of Asia Minor" (p 177). Save that it reveals that the Greeks considered "Cybele" to be Greek, the traditional derivation of her name, as "she of the hair" can be ignored, now that the inscription of one of her Phrygian rock-cut monuments has been read matar kubileya.[1] The inscription matar occurs frequently in her Phrygian sites (Burkert). Her name was not original to the Phrygian language, however, but has been traced to Luwian origin, derived from Kubaba, the name by which she was known in Carchemish, as Mark Munn has shown in detail (Munn 2004). "The monuments to the Phrygian Mother all belong after the rise of the Mermnad Lydians, when Kubaba was a sovereign deity at Sardis, known to Greeks as Kybebe," Munn points out, instancing Herodotus 5.102.1 and other Greek sources. The goddess was known among the Greeks simply as Meter or Meter oreie ("MountainMother"), or, with a particular Anatolian sacred mountain in mind, Idaea, inasmuch as she was supposed to have been born on Mount Ida in Asia Minor, or equally Dindymene or Sipylene, with her sacred mountains Mount Dindymus (in Mysia) or Mount Sipylus in mind. Cybele's most ecstatic followers were males who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women's clothing and assumed "female" identities, who were referred to by the third-century commentator Callimachus in the feminine Gallai, and who other contemporary commentators in ancient Greece and Rome referred to as Gallos or Galli. Her priestesses led the people in orgiastic ceremonies with wild music, drumming, dancing and drink. She was associated with the mystery religion concerning her son, Attis, who was castrated and resurrected. The dactyls were part of her retinue. Other followers of Cybele, Phrygian kurbantes or Corybantes, expressed her ecstatic and orgiastic cult in music, especially drumming, clashing of shields and spears, dancing, singing and shouts, all at night.


1 Cult history o 1.1 Anatolia and Greece

when its aniconic cult object was removed to Rome. an archaic version of Cybele had been venerated as Agdistis. from Mount Ida") rather . Bactria (Afghanistan).2 Roman Cybele  1.[2] At Pessinos in Phrygia. In 203 BC. where she is often referred to euphemistically as Meter Theon Idaia ("Mother of the Gods. Ai Khanoum. a votive sacrifice and the Sun God. a sculpture carved into the rock-face of a spur of Mount Sipylus was still held sacred by the Magnesians. [edit] Anatolia and Greece Plate depicting Cybele pulled by lions.1.2. the son of Tantalus.1 In Roman poetry  1.3 Aegean Cybele o 1.2.1 Anatolian Cybele 1.2 Cybele and Attis 1.• • • • 1. Rome adopted her cult as well. in 203 BC.1. At the time of Pausanias (2nd century CE). Greek mythographers recalled that Broteas. 2nd century BCE.1 Cybele in the Aeneid 2 Notes 3 References 4 Further reading    5 External links [edit] Cult history Her cult moved from Phrygia to Greece from the 6th century BC to the 4th BC.1. time out of mind by the time. was the first to carve the Great Mother's image into a rock-face.1. Her cult had already been adopted in 5th century BC Greece.

Lions are sometimes related to her. which has two handrests in the form of lion's heads. with a temple at the great trading city Pessinos. among others. In the 2nd millennium BC Cybele was known to the Hittites and Hurrians as Kubaba. III. Cybele's cult in Greece was closely associated with. the city goddess of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates in the Bronze Age: "on the basis of inscriptional and iconographical evidence it is possible to trace the diffusion of her cult in the early Iron Age. In Archaic Phrygian images of Cybele of the sixth century. . and a veil covering the whole body. in the process of giving birth while seated on her throne. A figurine found at Çatalhöyük. It was at Pessinos that her son and lover Attis was about to wed the daughter of the king. and he castrated himself. (Archaeological Museum. and apparently resembled. dating about 6000. the cult of Dionysus. p. In Phrygia Rhea/Cybele was venerated as Agdistis.4. standing in the doorway. however. At her shrine at Çatalhöyük she was depicted with the mural crown that promised she could be a protector of cities. in an aggressive but tamed manner. the cult reached the Phrygians in inner Anatolia. The façade itself can be related to the rockcut monuments of the highlands of Phrygia. although they did know of the castration of Attis. when Agdistis/Cybele appeared in her awesome glory. mentioned by the geographer Strabo. her typical representation is in the figuration of a building’s façade. her usual attributes are the bird of prey and a small vase. She is wearing a belted long dress. They also identified Cybele with the Mother of the Gods Rhea. already betraying the influence of Greek style (Burkert). In Phrygia. and cured him of Hera's madness. either did not know of or did not mention the transgendered galli. where it took on special significance" (Burkert. whom Cybele is said to have initiated.than by name.3. Ankara). [edit] Anatolian Cybele Cybele's Anatolian origins probably predate the Bronze Age. depicts the corpulent and fertile Mother Goddess. Classical Greek writers. Mentions of Cybele's worship are found in Pindar and Euripides. 177). a polos (high cylindrical hat).

It showed her still seated on a throne but now more decorous and matronly. her hand resting on the neck of a perfectly still lion and the other holding the circular frame drum. under Hellenic influence along the coastlands of Asia Minor. (4th century BC. Athens) Later. which evokes the full moon in its shape and is covered with the hide of the sacred lunar bull. (tymbalon or tympanon). the sculptor Agoracritos. [edit] Cybele and Attis Cybele with her attributes. . a pupil of Pheidias. similar to a tambourine.Athenian seated Cybele with tymbalon. produced a version of Cybele that became the standard one.

willingly castrated themselves in imitation of Attis. He. for they welcomed so many of the foreign rites . and hyes attes. were an acceptable substitute. one of the Great Mother's sacred animals. Grieving. The geographer Strabo (book x. in an ecstasy.The goddess appears alone. The evergreen pine and ivy were sacred to Attis. when he casts the reproach upon Aeskhines' mother and Aeskhines himself. For Roman devotees of Cybele Mater Magna who were not prepared to go so far. so also in their worship of the gods. castrated himself. that he joined her in leading the Dionysiac march. Some ecstatic followers of Cybele. Cybele resurrected him. from Nicaea in Bithynia. Marble statuette of Cybele wearing the polos. Thia tale is told by Catullus in one of his carmina (short poems). for these words are in the ritual of Sabazios and the Mother [Rhea]. 3:18) made some useful observations: "Just as in all other respects the Athenians continue to be hospitable to things foreign. She was particularly welcomed at Athens. and to mainland Greece.. (Istanbul Archaeology Museum) [edit] Aegean Cybele The worship of Cybele spread from inland areas of Anatolia and Syria to the Aegean coast. known in Rome as galli.. 8th–6th centuries BC." . attes hyes. Later she is joined by her son and consort Attis. An inscription of AD 160 records that a certain Carpus had transported bull's testes from Rome to Cybele's shrine at Lyon. the testicles of a bull. to Crete and other Aegean islands. the Phrygian [rites of Rhea-Cybele are mentioned] by Demosthenes. France. who incurred her jealousy. and that many a time he cried out evoe saboe. as many inscriptions show. that he was with her when she conducted initiations. and subsequently died.

12 April. accompanied by all the matrons. marking the official beginning of her cult there. an inspection had been made of the Sibylline Books. the wife of Augustus. the Ephesia. the Temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. Cybele enjoyed greater prominence thanks to her inclusion in Augustan ideology. was observed afterwards as a festival. ordered cameo-cutters to portray her as Cybele." Ephesus. From Herodotus (4. together with a band of ruffians. and when brought to land he was to place her in the hands of the matrons who were to bear her to her destination.[5] The Malibu statue of Cybele bears the visage of Livia. and the city's ecstatic celebration. time out of mind.In Alexandria. See also: Temples of Cybele in Rome At Pessinos in Phrygia. an archaic version of Cybele had been venerated as Agdistis. the tympanon of Cybele lies at the feet of the goddess Tellus. Pompeius. He was to receive her as she left the vessel. Battakes. A. and some oracular verses had been discovered that announced that if a foreign foe should carry war into Italy. Pompeius supposedly died of a fever a few days later. As lions they then drew Cybele's chariot. to meet the goddess. Livia. The goddess was not welcome among the Scythians north of Thrace. the Megalesian. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica was ordered to go to the port of Ostia. chased Battakes off of the Rostra. the Accessible One. he could be driven out and conquered if the Mater Magna were brought from Pessinos to Rome. was devoted to Cybele as early the 10th century BC. after traveling among the Greeks and acquiring vast knowledge. The previous year. honored her. which was located next to his own palace on the Palatine Hill. plebeian tribune. was put to death by his fellow Scythians for attempting to introduce the foreign cult of Magna Mater. the Savior who Hears our Prayers" and as "The Mother of the Gods. in the Plaza de Cibeles. Another account says that Aphrodite turned them into lions for forgetting to do her tribute.[3] In 103 BC. Atalanta and Hippomenes were turned into lions by Zeus or Cybele as punishment for having sex in one of his/her temples because the Greeks believed that lions could not mate with other lions. Pessinos's aniconic cult object that embodied the Great Mother was ceremoniously and reverently removed to Rome. one of the major trading centers of the area. Cybele was worshiped by the Greek population as "The Mother of the Gods. In 203 BC.[4] Under the emperor Augustus. [edit] Roman Cybele The famous fountain in Madrid depicting Cybele in a chariot drawn by lions.[6] . Augustus restored Cybele's temple. On the cuirass of the Prima Porta of Augustus. journeyed to Rome to announce a prediction of Gaius Marius's victory over the Cimbri and Teutoni.76-7) we learn that the Scythian Anacharsis (6th century BC). a high priest of Cybele. Rome was then embroiled in the Second Punic War. The day on which this event took place.

[edit] In Roman poetry In Rome. Roman citizens were later forbidden to become priestesses of Cybele. with tassels in the form of fir cones. the ceremonial "tree-bearers" and the faithful (religiosi) restored the temple of Cybele and Attis after a disastrous fire in AD 288." In the second book of his De rerum natura. After Cybele had given her sacred trees to the Trojans so that they could build their ships. where the clash of cymbals ring. she went to Zeus and begged him to make the ships indistructable.[citation needed] However. even as far as Mauretania. Lucretius appropriately uses the image of Cybele. His description of the followers of the goddess is thought to be based on autopsy of the celebration of her cult in Rome. She is described as the mother of the gods. where ivy-crowned maenads toss their heads wildly. The leader of the Rutulians. to the Phrygian forests of the goddess. in recognition of her Phrygian origins (though this title was also given to Rhea). The worship of Cybele was exported to the empire. Lavish new fittings paid for by the private group included the silver statue of Cybele and the chariot that carried her in procession received a new canopy. p 581.) The popularity of the Cybele cult in the city of Rome and throughout the empire is thought to have inspired the author of Book of Revelation to allude to her in his portrayal of the mother of harlots who rides the Beast. [edit] Cybele in the Aeneid In his Aeneid. (Robin Lane Fox. there is a flashback to mount Olympos years before the Trojan War. she was given the name Magna Mater deorum Idaea ("great Idaean mother of the gods"). the Trojans are in Italy and have kept themselves safe in a walled city according to Aeneas's orders. a modern monumental statue of Cybele can be found in one of the principal traffic circles of Madrid. Pagans and Christians. whose famous poem on the theme of Attis includes a vivid description of Cybele's worship: "Together come and follow to the Phrygian home of Cybele. alluding to her place of birth.In Roman mythology. orders his men to burn the ships of the Trojans. where the Phrygian flute-player blows deeply on his curved reed. At this point in the story. the Plaza de Cibeles (illustration. Virgil called her Berecyntian Cybele. when a Christian basilica was built over the site of a temple to Cybele to occupy the site. just outside Setif. Turnus. where tambourines resound. Today. where. her Phrygian origins were recalled by Catullus. In the story. upper left). who were eunuchs like their Asiatic Goddess. the Great Mother. Zeus granted . Not coincidentally. Roman devotion to Cybele ran deep. it was syncretistically dedicated as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. as a metaphor for the earth.

The Aeneid trans from Latin by West. ^ Livy. ^ P.3.H." 17. noted in Walter Burkert.4. especially section III. 2. who live to the north of Mount Sipylus.14 (written circa AD 10). Walter Woodburn Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire (U. History of Rome. Haspels. 1971. notes 17 and 18. Pp. . ^ C. Greeks and Their Neighbors in Central Anatolia".4 Roller. "Greek and Roman Portraits in North American Collections Open to the Public. I 293 no 13. 1985. ISBN-13: ISBN 978-0-8248-2884-4." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 108 (1964): 106. fig. Vermeule." La Nouvelle Clio 4 (1952): 251-60.10-11. of California Press) pp. have on the rock Coddinus the most ancient of all the images of the Mother of the gods. University of Hawai'i Press. Victor H. 1982.189-190 ISBN 0-14-044932-9 [edit] Further reading • • Hyde. (2006). ^ Plutarch. 29. Lynn E. The Highlands of Phrygia. Walter. as Turnus approached with fire. 4. ISBN-10: ISBN 0-8248-2884-4 (An article showing the probable derivation of the Daoist goddess. Xi Wangmu. 5. Lambrechts. Elfried R." (Description of Greece) 3. [edit] Notes 1.E. 62-115." In: Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World. "Livie-Cybele. 6. dove beneath the sea and emerged as nymphs. from Kybele/Cybele) . III. 1999. the ships came to life. So. The Magnesians say that it was made by Broteas the son of Tantalus. 126.In Search of God the Mother: the cult of Anatolian Cybele (U.230-231 Mark Munn. ^ C. C. Ed.3. 2004 (Abstracts) Virgil. 18. Mair.her request by saying that when the ships had finally fulfilled their purpose (bringing Aeneas and his army to Italy) they would be turned into sea nymphs rather than be destroyed. "Kybele as Kubaba in a Lydo-Phrygian Context": Emory University cross-cultural conference "Hittites. [edit] References • • • • Burkert. Greek Religion. 2003) p. ^ Pausanias: "the Magnesians. "Life of Marius.. "The Queen Mother of the West: A Study of the Influence of Western Prototypes on the Iconography of the Taoist Deity. 1946) Knauer. David (Penguin Putnam Inc. of Pennsylvania Press. Greek Religion (Cambridge:Harvard University Press).

org/wiki/Cybele" Categories: Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007 | All articles with unsourced statements | Phrygian goddesses | Life-death-rebirth goddesses | Nature goddesses | Mother goddesses | Fertility goddesses | Roman goddesses | Hittite deities | Earth goddesses | Animal goddesses | Mystery religions Views • • • • Article Discussion Edit this page History . Lynn E. Lemmers (Thames and Hudson. Vermaseren (E.edu/halsall/ancient/romrelig2. The Aeneid trans from Latin by West. Brill. Maarten Jozef.• • • • • Lane. 1969) Vermaseren.gallae.gendercentre. Cybele. from Dutch by A. Eugene. H. In Search of God the Mother: the cult of Anatolian Cybele (U.wikipedia. M.magnamaterproject.fordham. and Related Cults: Essays in Memory of M. David (Penguin Putnam Inc. 1977) Virgil.org. Grant The Great Mother of the Gods (Argonaut.J. 1996) Roller. Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult trans.J.html Classical Mythology.org/ A site devoted to the cult of Magna Mater and her temple on the Capitoline Hill Retrieved from "http://en.com/ http://www. Attis.au/37article3. Ed. of California Press. 1999) Showerman.htm http://www. translates the Catullus poem "Attis. 2003) [edit] External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cybele • • • • • http://www." http://www.