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date: 31 January 2023



  • Francis Redding Walton
  •  and John Scheid


Cybele (Κυβέλη; Lydian form Κυβήβη, Hdt. 5. 102), the great mother-goddess of Anatolia, associated in myth, and later at least in cult, with her youthful lover *Attis. *Pessinus in Phrygia was her chief sanctuary, and the cult appears at an early date in *Lydia. The queen or mistress of her people, Cybele was responsible for their well-being in all respects; primarily she is a goddess of fertility, but also cures (and sends) disease, gives oracles, and, as her mural crown indicates, protects her people in war. The goddess of mountains (so Μήτηρ ὀρεία; Meter Dindymene), she is also mistress of wild nature, symbolized by her attendant lions. Ecstatic states inducing prophetic rapture and insensibility to pain were characteristic of her worship (cf. especially Catull. 63).

By the 5th cent. bce Cybele was known in Greece; she was soon associated with *Demeter (H. Thompson, Hesp.


  • Near East
  • Roman Myth and Religion

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