Megalesia

Megalesia

April 4
The cult of the Phrygian goddess Cybele (also known as Kybele, the Great Mother or Magna Mater; see also Bona Dea and Opalia) was established in Rome on this day in 204 b.c.e., when her image was installed in the temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. Eventually her own temple was built on the same hill, but April 4 continued to be set aside as a commemoration of the foreign goddess' arrival in Rome.
Her festival was given a Greek name, the Megalesia, and in the beginning, no Roman citizens were allowed to take part in it. But over time it spread to the streets of Rome, where Cybele's image was carried in a chariot drawn by lions with her castrated priests leaping and gashing themselves in a frenzy of devotion. The procession went from the Palatine to the Circus, where games known as Ludi and plays known as ludi megalenses were held. The task of keeping the festival under Phrygian control—and within the bounds of propriety—eventually proved to be difficult, and the Megalesia became little more than a holiday celebrated in honor of the Magna Mater.
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 246
DictRomRel-1996, p. 150
EncyRel-1987, vol. 4, p. 186
FestRom-1981, p. 97
NewCentClassHandbk-1962, p. 689
OxYear-1999, pp. 147, 152
SeasFeast-1961, p. 185
References in periodicals archive ?
Claudia's miracle, performed on the stage, means that it must have been part of the annual celebration of the Megalesia, probably a mime, a dramatic form which overlapped with the genres of literature.
63) Knox 2002:172 and Littlewood 1981:385 read post-AD 4 politics in Ovid's Megalesia.