Cybele

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Related to Magna Mater: Atys

Cybele

(sĭb`əlē), in ancient Asian religion, the Great Mother GoddessGreat Mother Goddess,
in ancient Middle Eastern religions, mother goddess, the great symbol of the earth's fertility. She was worshiped under many names and attributes. Similar figures have been known in every part of the world.
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. The chief centers of her early worship were Phrygia and Lydia. In the 5th cent. B.C. her cult was introduced into Greece, where she was associated with Demeter and Rhea. The spread of her cult to Rome late in the 3d cent. B.C. was marked chiefly by her Palatine temple. Cybele was primarily a nature goddess, responsible for maintaining and reproducing the wild things of the earth. As guardian of cities and nations, however, she was also entrusted with the general welfare of the people. She was attended by the Corybantes and Dactyls, who honored her with wild music and dancing. At her annual spring festival, the death and resurrection of her beloved AttisAttis
or Atys
, in Phrygian religion, vegetation god. When Nana ate the fruit of the almond tree, which had been generated by the blood of either Agdistis or of Cybele, she conceived Attis.
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 were celebrated. She frequented mountains and woodland areas and was usually represented either riding a chariot drawn by lions or seated on a throne flanked by two lions. Cybele is frequently identified with various other mother goddesses, notably Agdistis.

Cybele

 

a Phrygian goddess, the embodiment of the productive forces of nature; also known as the Great Mother or Mother of the Gods. The cult of Cybele, along with the cults of Mithra and Isis, was widespread in Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, and, later, throughout the Roman Empire. In 204 B.C. the cult was officially recognized in Rome. To honor Cybele, the priests of the cult conducted ritualistic mysteries, in which self-inflicted tortures, ablution in sacrificial blood, and self-castration played an important role. The orgiastic character of this Asia Minor cult was toned down considerably in the Roman Republic.

Cybele

[′sib·ə·lē]
(astronomy)
An asteroid with a diameter of about 167 miles (269 kilometers), mean distance from the sun of 3.423 astronomical units, and C-type surface composition.

Cybele

hermaphroditic goddess honored orgiastically, usually by emasculation. [Phrygian Myth.: Parrinder, 68]

Cybele

nature’s fruitfulness assured by orgiastic rites honoring her. [Phrygian Myth.: Parrinder, 68; Jobes, 400]

Cybele

protector of cities and mother-goddess. [Phrygian Myth.: Avery, 345]

Cybele

Great Mother; goddess of nature and reproduction. [Phrygian Myth.: Parrinder, 68; Jobes, 400]
References in periodicals archive ?
Diodorus Siculus offers a version of the arrival of the Magna Mater in which there is no participant named Claudia.
In our literary sources Claudia Quinta is identified not by a father or husband's name, but by her famous act, freeing the Magna Mater from the banks of the Tiber.
One of the Magna Mater's prime functions in Roman society was to forge a cultural connection between Rome and the Greek East, thus allowing the Romans to reinforce the narrative of their Trojan origin.
(25) Fritz Graf (1985) connects the story of the Magna Mater's trapped barge with a similarly themed tale in Pausanias.
While the Magna Mater legend's plot may be indebted to the trapped ship narrative, Claudia Quinta herself is a product of the semi-mythic tradition of Vestal Virgins who prove their innocence in the face of false accusations of incestum.
Although the stories of Tuccia and Aemila appear to be purely legendary, the Romans dated them both to the latter half of the third century BCE, about a generation before Claudia Quinta pulled the Magna Mater's ship out of the Tiber's shallows.
Given the inherent positive value of maternity in De rerum natura, why would Lucretius focus his attention on religion through the maternal figure of the Magna Mater? One effect of juxtaposing the maternal and the religious is to allow the poet to exploit what is unnatural and perverse in the religious experience.
Although the Magna Mater's lions are fairly unremarkable by comparison, Lucretius certainly had in mind their savage potential (realized in Book 5), since 5.1315 is almost identical to 2.632 where he describes the Phrygian dancers (terrificas capiturn quatientes numine cristas).
In fact, Lucretius ends the Magna Mater episode by stressing the significance of the armed band that accompanies her:
In keeping with the militaristic introduction of the Magna Mater is the notion of dominance and submission: adiunxere feras, quia quamvis effera proles / officiis debet molliri victa parentum ("They added the lions since, however savage, / the child must bow [be softened] before the parent's love," 2.604-05).
Just as the lions of the Magna Mater represent the submissive child, her priests (the Galli) represent the punished child.
I cannot agree with Stewart's contention that the Magna Mater is a doublet of Venus, (26) for her representation here is completely eclipsed by the violence and emblems of Mars which surround her.