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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Cybele||View 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.
SL89816. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, NGC Ch AU, strike 4/5, surface 5/5 (2412811-051), weight 3.32 g, maximum diameter 18.1 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; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; scarce; $180.00 (158.40)


Roman Republic, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

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In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his was to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
RR91410. Silver denarius, RSC I Plautia 13, Sydenham 932, Crawford 431/1, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, VF, old collection toning, reverse a little off center, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II High Priest and King of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; SOLD


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."Cybele
SH57714. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV S859, Cohen IV 124, VF, nice portrait, grainy, weight 22.191 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 196 - 211 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods) S C, Cybele enthroned left between two crouching lions, turreted, branch in right hand, resting left forearm on drum, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Friday, September 20, 2019.
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Cybele