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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Cybele||View Options:  |  |  | 

Cybele

Cybele, the Phrygian "Great Mother" earth goddess, was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Phrygia's only known goddess, she was probably its national deity. Greek colonists in Asia Minor adopted and adapted her Phrygian cult and spread it to mainland Greece and to the more distant western Greek colonies around the 6th century B.C.

In Greece, Cybele became partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, of her possibly Minoan equivalent Rhea, and of the harvestmother goddess Demeter. Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following.

After dire prodigies, including a meteor shower and a failed harvest, seemed to warn of Rome's imminent defeat to Hannibal, the Roman senate consulted the Sibylline oracle. Heeding the oracle's advice, the senate brought worship of Cybele to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval, they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
Cybele

Salonina, Augusta, 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Salonina,| |Augusta,| |254| |-| |c.| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Tarsos,| |Cilicia||AE| |29|
The inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek number one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ (Γ is the Greek number three) indicates the city held three neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult.
RP99408. Bronze AE 29, SNG BnF 1837; SNG Levante 1198; SNGvA 6082; BMC Lycaonia p. 230, 329, aVF, full flan, some reverse roughness, weight 15.837 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse KOPNHΛIAN CAΛΩNINAN CE, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders, all within wreath; reverse TAPCOV MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Cybele seated right, wearing tall turreted crown (kalathos?), long scepter in left hand over left shoulder, drum on seat behind, two lions at her feet, A M / K - Γ / Γ across fields in two lines; ex Savoca Numismatik auction 118 (21 Nov 2021), lot 336; $160.00 (152.00)


Trapezopolis, Caria, c. 150 - 200 A.D.

|Other| |Caria|, |Trapezopolis,| |Caria,| |c.| |150| |-| |200| |A.D.||AE| |23|
In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called eponymous archon. Archon means "ruler" or "lord," frequently used as the title of a specific public office, while "eponymous" means that he gave his name to the year in which he held office, much like the Roman dating by consular years.
RP99558. Bronze AE 23, RPC Online IV.2 T2743.4 (this coin, 4 spec.); Weber 6596; Imhoof-Blumer GRMK p. 98, 1, Choice aF, nice green patina with light highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weight 5.102 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Trapezopolis (near Boli, Turkey) mint, pseudo-autonomous, c. 150 - 200 A.D.; obverse ∆HMOC TPAΠEZOΠO (Z retrograde), laureate youthful head of the Demos right; reverse EΠI AP AI AΠOΛΛΩN (eponymous archon Ai. Apollonios), Cybele standing, facing, head, left, wearing kalathos, flanked on each side by a seated lion; from the M. Arslan Collection, one of four specimens in RPC Online, the first of the type handled by FORVM; very rare; $140.00 (133.00)


Titus and Domitian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Claudiolaodicea Combusta, Lycaonia

|Lycaonia|, |Titus| |and| |Domitian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Claudiolaodicea| |Combusta,| |Lycaonia||AE| |19|
Claudiolaodicea, founded by Seleucus I Nicator, was one of five cities he named after his mother Laodice. Restored by Claudius in the 1st century A.D., it was renamed Claudiolaodicea in his honor. Its Latin epithet Combusta indicates it was once destroyed by fire. Located northwest of Iconium (now Konya), on the high road from the west coast to Melitene on the Euphrates, it is now Ladik, Konya Province, Turkey. Some ancient authors describe it as located in Lycaonia, others in Pisidia, and Ptolemy places it in Galatia. This discrepancy is easily explained because these territories were often extended or reduced and the city was likely in each of them at one time. The few imperial coins of Claudiolaodicea all belong to the reigns of Titus and Domitian.
RP97865. Bronze AE 19, SNGvA 152 (same dies), RPC Online II 1613 (14 spec.), vA Lykien 151 - 153, SNG BnF 2322, Waddington 4779, F, earthen adhesions, weight 6.794 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea Catacecaumene (Ladik, Turkey) mint, as caesars under Vespasian, 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse TITOC KAI ∆OMITIANOC KAICAPEC, confronted bare heads Titus (on left) and Domitian; reverse KΛAY∆IOΛAO∆IKEWN, Cybele seated left on high-backed throne, kalathos on head, patera in right hand, resting left arm on tympanum, lion couchant left on near side of throne; scarce; $80.00 (76.00)







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Catalog current as of Monday, September 26, 2022.
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