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

Cybele

Cybele was the Phrygian deification of the Earth Mother.


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship 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.
RS85130. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, gVF, choice obverse, struck with a worn reverse die, edge cracks, weight 3.229 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 205 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods), Cybele seated left between two lions, wearing towered crown, branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, resting left arm on drum; scarce; $125.00 (111.25)


Domitia, Wife of Domitian, 81 - 96 A.D., Eumeneia, Phrygia

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Domitia Longina was the daughter of the famous general Cnaeus Domitius Corbulo and was taken from her husband and married to Domitian in 70 A.D. In 83 A.D. she was exiled for her affair with the actor Paris. Later Domitian seems to have forgiven her, as ancient sources indicate her as a part of the plot that ended the emperor's life. She died in the reign of Trajan or Antoninus Pius.
RP84551. Bronze AE 15, RPC II 1388 (8 spec.), SNG Newham Davis 315, Lindgren III 588, vA Phrygiens -, BMC Phrygia -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, aVF, dark patina, porosity, weight 2.654 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Eumeneia (near Civril, Turkey) mint, 81 - 96 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITIA CEBACTH, draped bust right, hair rolled in front and in que behind; reverse KΛ TEPENT YΛΛA APXIE (Kl. Terent. Hylla, αρχιερέας (high priest or priestess), counterclockwise from upper left), Cybele seated left on throne, patera in extended right hand, resting left forearm and hand upon tympanum (drum) at near side; EYME-NEΩN, in fields, starting downward on right, ending downward on left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 42 (3 Apr 2016), lot 519; ex Dr. P. Vogl collection, ex Bankhaus Aufhuser (sold 30 Dec 1992, with dealer's ticket); rare; $110.00 (97.90)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship 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.
RS84676. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered and struck, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.747 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 205 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods), Cybele seated left between two lions, wearing towered crown, branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, resting left arm on drum; scarce; $110.00 (97.90)


Plakia, Mysia, c. 4th Century B.C.

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Plakia, called Cilician Thebe in Homer's Iliad, was near the Troad, at the foot of Mount Placus, in a small region once called Cilicia (not the Cilicia in southern Anatolia). According to myth, it was founded by Heracles after his sack of Troy and named after his birthplace, Thebes in Boeotia. At the time of the Trojan War, people were known as the Cilicians, and ruled by King Eetion. Eetion's daughter Andromache was given in marriage to Hector, son of King Priam of Troy. The Achaians, led by Achilleus, sacked the city during the latter part of the war, killed King Eetion, his wife and his sons. They also carried off several women, including Chryseis, who became the concubine of Agamemnon. Chryseis' father attempted to ransom his to ransom his daughter, initiating the plot of the Iliad.
GB72008. Bronze AE 14, SNG BnF 2378 ff, SNG Cop 545; SNGvA 1432; BMC Mysia p. 174, 5, VF, nice dark green patina, weight 1.538 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 180o, Plakia mint, c. 4th century B.C.; obverse turreted head of Cybele right; reverse ΠΛAKIA, lion right devouring prey, grain-ear right below; rare city; $65.00 (57.85)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
RP69751. Bronze AE 20, Apparently unpublished; Jurukova -, Varbanov -, Moushmov -, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, F, green patina, a little rough, weight 3.792 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT - [CEVHPOC Π] (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANO−ΠOΛITΩN, Cybele enthroned left, throne flanked by two lions, kalathos on head, patera in right hand, resting left forearm on drum; extremely rare, we were unable to find another example, possibly unique(?), from the Butte College Foundation; ex Lindgren; $60.00 (53.40)







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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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Cybele