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The Cult of Cybele
Roxana Chan
CLCV 3202-A
November 07, 2013
Origins
• Originated as an earth
goddess in Asia Minor
• Phrygian god of fertility
• Also known as “Magna
Mater”, the Great Mother
• Was introduced into Rome
during the Second Punic
War in the late 3rd c BC.
• Associated with mountains,
nature, and animals
Characteristics
• Usually seated on a
throne with two lions;
in the older images they
were leopards
• Wears a crown
• A libation bowl in her
right hand and a drum
in her left hand
Her Roman Cult
• Cult led by female priestesses and the Archigalli, high
priest of the subordinate Galli
• Consisted mostly of female followers
• Men who were also interested of being part of the
cult must be castrated
• Roman cult associates Cybele with the Greek
goddess Rhea
Festivals
• Megalesia festival was celebrated on April the 4th; the
day which she arrived in Rome
• April 10th celebrates the anniversary of the
consecration of her temple on the Palatine; chariot
races were held and public performances of plays
and other entertainments were held
Works Cited
• "Roman Cults and
Worship.", http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist%26Civ/
chapters/12CULTS.htm.
• Hemelrijk, Emily A. 2007. "Local Empresses: Priestesses of the
Imperial Cult in the Cities of the Latin West." Phoenix 61 (3/4).
• Roller, Lynn E. 1991. "The Great Mother at Gordian: The
Hellenization of an Anatolian Cult." The Journal of Hellenic
Studies 111.
• Sandberg, Anders. "The Cult of Magna
Mater.", http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/churchhistory220/l
ectureone/MagnaMater.htm.
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