21 Facts About Cybele


Cybele's became partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, of her possibly Minoan equivalent Rhea, and of the harvest–mother goddess Demeter.

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In Greece, Cybele became associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

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Cybele's is ancient Phrygia's only known goddess, the divine companion or consort of its mortal rulers, and was probably the highest deity of the Phrygian state.

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Some Phrygian shaft monuments are thought to have been used for libations and blood offerings to Cybele, perhaps anticipating by several centuries the pit used in her taurobolium and criobolium sacrifices during the Roman imperial era.

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Cybele's is depicted as a Potnia Theron, with her mastery of the natural world expressed by the lions that flank her, sit in her lap or draw her chariot.

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Cybele's stands alone within a naiskos, which represents her temple or its doorway, and is crowned with a polos, a high, cylindrical hat.

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Around the 5th century BC, Agoracritos created a fully Hellenised and influential image of Cybele that was set up in the Metroon in the Athenian agora.

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Cybele's appears with Dionysus, as a secondary deity in Euripides' Bacchae, 64 – 186, and Pindar's Dithyramb II.

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Cybele was the focus of mystery cult, private rites with a chthonic aspect connected to hero cult and exclusive to those who had undergone initiation, though it is unclear who Cybele's initiates were.

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In literary sources, the spread of Cybele's cult is presented as a source of conflict and crisis.

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Many of Cybele's cults were funded privately, rather than by the polis, but she had publicly established temples in many Greek cities, including Athens and Olympia.

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When shown with Cybele, he is always the younger, lesser deity, or perhaps her priestly attendant.

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Romans believed that Cybele, considered a Phrygian outsider even within her Greek cults, was the mother-goddess of ancient Troy .

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Cybele's was promoted as patrician property; a Roman matron – albeit a strange one, "with a stone for a face" – who acted for the clear benefit of the Roman state.

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Cybele's gives the Trojans her sacred tree for shipbuilding, and begs Jupiter to make the ships indestructible.

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Cybele's priests find Attis at the base of a pine tree; he dies and they bury him, emasculate themselves in his memory, and celebrate him in their rites to the goddess.

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Cybele would have cut a remarkable figure, with "colourful attire and headdress, like a crown, with regal associations unwelcome to the Romans".

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The cult was deeply integrated into civic life; the Metroon was used as the state archive and Cybele was one of the four main gods, to whom serving councillors sacrificed, along with Zeus, Athena, and Apollo.

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The highly influential fifth-century BC statue of Cybele enthroned by Agoracritus was located in this building.

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Cybele drew ire from Christians throughout the Empire; when St Theodore of Amasea was granted time to recant his beliefs, he spent it by burning a temple of Cybele instead.

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Cybele's herself is uncreated, and thus essentially separate from and independent of her creations.

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