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The Cult of Cybele

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I was reading through Sumerian King lists recently when I came across an interesting anecdote; which I wonder might be true or not. According to the list, one of the queen's of Sumeria was a woman called Kubaba of Caracemish. She might have been a historical personage; a woman who was a tavern owner who later became queen of a city-state. Then again she might equally be a mythical figure, a goddess, as the tablets records that she reigned for a hundred years. She was the third ruler of the dynasty of Kish (Early Dynastic III period).


During the later Hurrian/early Hittite era she became associated with the city of Caracemish, becoming its patron goddess. Later on, after the fall of the Hittite Empire she became a prominent goddess in Anatolia- until she was adopted by the Phrygians, becoming known as Kebele.


It was in the periods afterwards, that her cult came to Rome after the Sibylline prophecy demanded it in 204 BC. It remained a restricted cult, as the Romans were never fond of the rites, which included castration and self-flaggellation. The cult was shown in the first episode of Rome, where Atia visited the shrine in order to bring luck to Octavian before he set off to Gaul.


Could the cult of Cybele have its origins in an ancient Sumerian tavern owner? Or is this all just speculation? It would be strange to believe that the Romans built a shrine in London (and all over Europe) to a woman who lived several millennia before their time.

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If anyone is interested in some really nice scholarly pictures of her, here's the link

See! a big, fat female figure flanked by animals (Cybele) has very little in common with a regal, thin woman who typically held two mirrors...

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Thanks for the information Pantagathus. I thought there was something suspicious about this claim as it was not backed up with referances, like other information in the text. Thanks for the links FVC and Pantagathus, there are good photographs there. You're right about the Atia scene, that was Magna Mater not Cybele. Does anyone remember which scene contained the worship of Cybele?

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