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Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.
Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born around 86 A.D. to a distinguished family. After a typical senatorial career, he made a name for himself as proconsul of Asia. He was adopted as Emperor Hadrian's heir in February 138 A.D. and succeeded soon after. His reign was long and peaceful, a Golden Age of tranquility and prosperity. He died in 161 A.D., leaving Marcus Aurelius as his successor.
|Cybele, the Phrygian "Great Mother" earth goddess, was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. 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.|