In Search of God the Mother
The cult of Anatolian Cybele
Lynn E. Roller
400 Blz., ISBN 9780520210240
University of California Press, 1999
The Great Mother was always a figure of contradiction, at once protective, benign, and awesome.
Hailed as a mother, she rarely appeared with a child. Although in some manifestations she symbolized
fertility, her closest divine associate was a youthful castrated male. She first appears in the early
firts millennium B.C. in Phrygia, part of present-day Turkey, but her worship spanned centuries and
continents, encompassing the whole of the Greek and Roman worlds. She reached her apex in imperial
Rome, where Catullus, Virgil, and many other poets and philosophers reflect her strong impact on ancient
society. Some found her fearfull and appalling, while others acclaimed her as a savior and liberator.
This book is the first comprehensive assembly and discussion of the entire extant evidence concerning
the worship of this goddess, called Matar Kubileya in Phrygia, Kybele in ancient Greece, and Magna Mater
(the Great Mother) in Rome. Lynn E. Roller presents and analyzes literary, historiographic, and archaeological
data ranging from the prehistoric record to the early centuries of the Roman Empire. Roller has been able
here to give a surprisingly detailed account of the growth, spread, and evolution of the Mother´s cult,
her ceremonies, and her meaning to her adherents, and has carefully portrayed the settings of the Great
Mother´s worship in its various cultural milieus in Phrygia, Greece, and Rome and the Roman world.
This book will interest classicists, archeologists, ancient historians, historians of religion and
religious ecology, and everyone who has ever been piqued by curiosity about the Great Mother goddess in
the ancient Mediterranean world.
"In Search of God the Mother is a masterly contribution, especially from the archaeological viewpoint,
to our knowledge of an important chapter in the history of ancient religion. One of the foremost experts
in both archaeology and ancient religion, Lynn Roller knows how to organize and clarify this most complicated,
and vexed, question." Philippe Borgeaud
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