Who was Cybele?
Cybele was also called Magna Mater or the Great Mother. She was a West Asian fertility goddess like Isis or Demeter. You sacrificed to Cybele to make sure the wheat and barley would grow well.
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What is sacrifice?
West Asian religion
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Attis and Cybele
There are many versions of this story. But according to Ovid‘s story in the Metamorphoses, Cybele fell in love with a beautiful young man. The man’s name was Attis, and he lived in Phyrgia. Today, that’s in south-west Turkey.
Who was Ovid?
Cybele demanded that Attis be completely faithful to her alone. But a nymph (like a fairy) called Sagaritis kept trying to get Attis for her boyfriend. Sagaritis eventually did convince Attis to get with her. Cybele was super angry when she found out. She killed the nymph. And Cybele made Attis go crazy. He went so crazy that he cut off part of his body. He died, and grew again as an evergreen pine tree.
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Bibliography and further reading about Attis and Magna Mater:
Ancient Mesopotamians, by Elena Gambino (2000). For kids, retellings of Mesopotamian stories and lots of context.
Gods, Goddesses, and Monsters: An Encyclopedia of World Mythology, by Sheila Keenan (2000). Easy reading.
Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia : An Illustrated Dictionary, by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green (1992).
Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia, by Jean Bottero (2001).
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