FILES,  MYTHOLOGY

ANATOLIAN MOTHER GODDESS CYBELE

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There is no god or goddess in mythology has been named as various names as Mother Goddess. In Kültepe tablets Kubaba is encountered, Kybebe in Lydia, Kybele in Phrygia, and Hepat in Hittite sources. Marienna in Sumer, Isis in Egypt, Lat in Syria, Rhea in Greeke, Artemis in Ephesus, Venus in the Nemu lake district in Italy.

Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess; she may have a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where statues of plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations. She is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BC.

(2.100 years old marble mother goddess sculpture of Cybele was found in 2016.)

Excavations at Çatalhöyük and Hacılar proved Mother Goddess figurines coming from 6500- 7000 B.C.

“Mother Goddess”, Sitting Female Figure, Clay, Çatalhöyük, B.C.6500
This goddess usually carries a much smaller male figure  in her arms or on her  chest. This man is both a child and a lover of the Goddess, and he is  Attis.

Cybele was born to the sky god and the earth goddess in Phrygia, an old country in Asia Minor. The goddess was born a hermaphrodite, meaning she was both male and female. This scared the gods, so they castrated her and tossed the male organ to the ground. From it, grew an almond tree. One day, a daughter of the River Saggarios came upon the tree and plucked its fruit. Holding it to her chest, it disappeared, and suddenly she was pregnant. The child she bore was named Attis.

Cybele eventually fell in love with the beautiful Attis and had the boy promise to always belong to her. Instead of remaining loyal, however, he asked a king for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Enraged and in a jealous frenzy, Cybele appeared at the wedding and drove everyone mad, including Attis who ran off into the hills. Screaming and thrashing about, he cursed himself for forsaking the goddess. Then, he castrated himself. Cybele came upon his bloodied body at the foot of a pine tree. Feeling so guilty for what she had done, she repented her actions to Zeus. Empathetic to the goddess, Zeus decreed that Attis’ body would never decay and that the pine tree would forever be considered sacred.

Sculpture of Attis. Museum of Ephesus

Cybele is referred to as the Magna Mater, or Great Mother, she was the personification of Mother Earth. In art, she’s usually depicted on a throne or in a chariot wearing a tall cylindrical crown and in the constant presence of a lion.

Goddess Matar / Kybele Statue, Boğazköy

Kybele represents fertility and also called as the protector of virginity as all the mother goddess. Artemis is one of the most typical examples of this.We can tell the last example of a girl figurine devoted to self-god is Mother Mary (Virgin Mary)

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Undergraduate student at Ege University, Classical Archaeology. Contact: yascalis83@gmail.com

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