Thursday, December 04, 2008

Death by Self-Castration?

The bones of a priest of Cybele who lived in Roman Britain suggest that his career as a devotee of the goddess might have been short.

Experts in Roman religion believe that the Yorkshire cleric belonged to the officially sanctioned and important religious cult of a mother goddess called Cybele, who originated in Anatolia, present-day Turkey.

The cult was based on the great mother goddess and her toy-boy lover Attis who, guilt-ridden for having sexually betrayed her, went mad, castrated himself and, consequently, died.

The cult's tradition dictated that its priests had similarly to mutilate themselves in painful solidarity with Attis, often using a piece of flint or a sharp fragment of pottery. Ritual clamps were then used to staunch the blood, but Cybelean priests often died in the process.

Has the worship of Cybele been revived? With better medical care? There could have been a temple in Trinidad, Colorado, among other places.

(Via Rogue Classicism.)

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OpenID rozewolf said...

Oh Chas! I haven't laughed so hard all week! It isn't every day that I find such a lovely segue from goddess worship to surgery! Dan about inhaled his tea when I read the post outloud.

5:31 PM  

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