Category: Gods > Chthonic Gods


  1. Introduction
  2. The name ‘Mother-of-Gods’
  3. Who is the Mother-of-Gods?
    1. Earth
    2. Demeter
    3. Hera and Hestia
    4. Rhea
    5. The Phrygian Mother
    6. Cybelē and other place-based names
    7. Agdistis
    8. Cybēbē
    9. The Mother-of-Gods at Rome
    10. The Syrian Goddess
    11. Caelestis
    12. Other goddesses
  4. []
  5. Mother(s) in Asia Minor and in the corpus of the Orphic Hymns
  6. The introduction of the Mother to Rome
  7. The temple of Isis and the Great Mother at Mogontiacum
  8. The Roman calendar and Julian’s prose hymn To the Mother-of-Gods
  9. Life-originating deities, not ‘mother goddesses’

1 Introduction

Hesiod and the Homeric epics resound with praise of “the father of gods and humans”, the Savior Zeus, but it is only in the later Homeric Hymns that we encounter “the mother of all gods and of all humans”:

Hymn the Mother of all gods and of all humans for me,
O Muse, clear-voiced daughter of Zeus the great!,
Whom castanets’ and drums’ clack and the roaring of flutes
Delight, and the howls of wolves and ferocious lions,
And mountains echoing, forests resounding with pipes.
And so, I greet you, and all the goddesses, with my song!
(Homeric Hymn 14, 6th century BCE)

Μητέρα μοι πάντων τε θεῶν πάντων τ‘ ἀνθρώπων
ὕμνει Μοῦσα λίγεια Διὸς θυγάτηρ μεγάλοιο,
ᾗ κροτάλων τυπάνων τ‘ ἰαχὴ σύν τε βρόμος αὐλῶν
εὔαδεν, ἠδὲ λύκων κλαγγὴ χαροπῶν τε λεόντων,
οὔρεά τ‘ ἠχήεντα καὶ ὑλήεντες ἔναυλοι.
Καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε θεαί θ‘ ἅμα πᾶσαι ἀοιδῇ.
(ed. Allen, Halliday, Sikes 1936)

The Mother-of-Gods with hand drum and patera, enthroned and flanked by lions (from Wikimedia Commons)

Who then is this this Mother, this Mother-of-Gods, and why was she not mentioned in the Theogony, Iliad or Odyssey?

2 The name ‘Mother-of-Gods’

The first odd thing about the Mother-of-Gods is her name. Unlike Zeus or Artemis, its meaning is obvious, and unlike almost any other deity, it is a noun phrase rather than a single word. As such, it is also subject to more grammatical variation than other gods’ names. In Greek, we find Mḗtēr Theôn, ‘Mother of Gods’, as well as the fuller hē Mḗtēr tôn Theôn, ‘the Mother of the Gods’. In Latin, we see the elevated Māter Deum, but also the more prosaic Māter Deōrum, and the highly poetic Mater Dīvum.

Besides, in both languages, the goddess can simply be called ‘Mother’ (gr. Mḗtēr, lat. Māter), as she also is in Phrygian (Matar), and this can be combined with various bynames, to produce names like ‘Phrygian Mother’ or ‘Great Mother’. Sometimes, other words meaning ‘mother’ can also be used for this purpose, something that is of course impossible with gods’ names that do not have a transparent common-noun meaning.

For instance, one Greek inscription calls her Kybélē, Genétira Makárōn, ‘Cybele, Mother of the Blessed (Gods)’ (SEG 32:1047); Vergil, Deum … Genetrīx Berecyntia, ‘Berecyntian Mother-of-Gods’ (Aeneid 9.82) and Alma Parēns Īdaea Deum, ‘Idaean Nourishing Parent of the Gods’ (Aeneid 10.252); Ovid, MagnaeParentis, ‘Great Parent’ (Ibis 457).

3 Who is the Mother-of-Gods?


The next step of establishing the identity of a god, after determining their name, is usually their genealogy, at least if we are looking at mythical discourse. Now, since Zeus is not literally the father of all gods, we cannot conclude from her name alone that the Mother-of-Gods is the mother or ancestor of all gods – but there is a goddess who is called “the mother of all” in an almost literal sense, namely the Earth (Greek , or poetically Gaîa). According to Hesiod’s Theogony, she was one of the first three gods to come into being, and she is the ultimate ancestor of almost all deities born after her, largely but not exclusively through her son and husband Ouranos, ‘Heaven’. Pindar even begins Nemean Ode 6 with the words “One is humanity’s, one the gods’ ancestry, and we both draw breath from one mother”, an expression the ancient scholia refer to the Earth, no doubt correctly; this presupposes that it was accepted knowledge that the Earth is mother of gods and humans.

The scholium runs as follows: “We exist from one mother, he says, and we live from the Earth, both gods and humans. He indicates […] that we humans have a certain commonality with the gods by nobility of birth and through the works of our mind. That humans have a common ancestry with the gods is also attested by Hesiod, who says about the origin of the gods, ‘Earth first of all gave birth to her equal, starry Heaven, to envelop her on all sides’ (Theogony 126–127). Those around Kronos and the other Titans are the children of Heaven and Earth, and the later gods those of the Titans. Hephaestus creates Pandora […], and from Pandora, the lineage passes down to us. Thus, there is one ancestry of gods and humans.”

Fittingly, then, does Homeric Hymn 3, entitled To Earth Mother of All, at one point address the goddess as theôn mḗtēr “mother of gods” (HH 3.17). But would we be justified in capitalizing this, in taking the Earth as the Mother-of-Gods? We cannot peer into the Homeric poet’s mind, of course, but as we will see, this identification is routinely made in later text, so that it is not at all far-fetched to recognize it here, too.

On the other hand, we should not confound divine motherhood in general with the specific deity, the Mother-of-Gods. There are certainly many passages, especially poetic and worshipful ones, where the Earth is simply called “mother”, not “Mother”:

  • iṑ Gaîa maîa (Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 43), glossed ô Gê mḗtēr, ‘o mother Earth!’, in the ancient scholia.
  • mâ Gâ, mâ Gâ, […] ô bâ Gâs paî Zeû (Aeschylus, Supplicants 890;892 = 900;902). The first phrase is again glossed ô Gê mḗtēr; the second as ô páter Zeû, Gês paî, ‘o father () Zeus, child of the Earth’. The scholium continues: “because Rhea and Earth is the same.” But this is an identification of the Earth with Zeus’ mother in specific, not with the Mother-of-Gods per se.
  • In the Agamenon, Aeschylus calls her ; a scholium explains this as “Doric for Earth (); wherefore she is also (called) Dēmḗtēr” – Doric Dāmā́tēr – “as if it were Gēmḗtēr”, i.e., ‘Earthmother’. Again, motherhood serves as an identificatory link between two goddesses, but the Mother-of-Gods as such is not invoked.

We may say there is a productive ambiguity at play here.


Another identification suggested by the name Mother (Mḗtēr) is with Demeter (Dēmḗtēr). But while, in terms of mythical genealogy, this would be an alternative explanation to the previous one, they really are mutually supportive, because Dēmḗtēr can easily be taken as if Gēmḗtēr, i.e., Gê Mḗtēr, ‘Mother Earth’, as we just saw.

For instance, Diodorus Siculus writes: “Taking the Earth as a kind of vessel of growing things, they named it a mother; and the Greeks, very similarly, call her Demeter, the word having changed a little over time; for anciently, the name was Gē Mētēr, as Orpheus further attests, since he says, ‘Earth (Gē), mother of all, wealth-giving Demeter!’” (1.12.4).

This is attractive because the fruits of the Earth are attributed to Demeter; and once the one equation is admitted, further ones will occur, and already quite early. In the Derveni Papyrus (which gives a text probably from the late 5th century BCE, quoting an earlier Orphic poem), we read the following:

“Gē, Mētēr, Rhea and Hērē is the same. She is called Gē by convention, and Mētēr because all things come (lit. ‘are born’) from her. Gē and Gaia (both ‘Earth’), depending on each person’s dialect. She is named Dēmētēr as if Gē Mētēr, one name out of both; for it is the same. It is also said in the Hymns: ‘Demeter Rhea Gē Mētēr Hestia Dēiōi’. For she is called Dēiō because she was ‘injured’ (edēiōthē) in intercourse” (P.Derveni column 5).

Unfortunately the further explanation for this last point and for ‘Hestia’ and ‘Rhea’ are too fragmentary to be intelligible, but it should be noted that Dē(i)ō is simply a poetic shortening of Demeter. Thus, this line of poetry itself teaches us how to read it, even if we had no ancient commentary at all. Firstly, the same goddess is called both Demeter and Dē(i)ō without difference in meaning, establishing that one god can have more than one name. Secondly, the name Demeter has to be understood as Gē Mētēr, so that ‘Mother Earth’, or ‘Earth’ and ‘Mother’, can be referred to the same deity. Consequently, the names Rhea and Hestia too should be taken as names of the goddess Earth; and so, the anonymous exegete tells us, should ‘Hera’.

Hera and Hestia

Hera: Philodemus (two passages). Serv. Aen. 8.84. Procl. In Remp. vol. 1 p.137
Hestia: Lact. Plac. 4.456; Earth (Servius? Porphyry)
Both: Dam. In Parm. p. 164 and Procl. In Tim. vol. 3, p. 249


As common as the equation with Earth and Demeter is, the Mother-of-Gods is even more frequently identified as Rhea – although, again, these are not necessarily contrary options. The Orphic poems treated Demeter (ordinarily Zeus’ sister) as his mother (otherwise called Rhea). [Eusebius: mhtera Dhmhtran] In one Orphic fragment, quoted and interpreted metaphysically by Proclus, Demeter is explained as meaning ‘mother of Zeus (gen. Diós)’:

“When Orpheus says that Demeter is the same as Rhea, he means that ‘above’, when she is with Kronos and not emanating, she is Rhea; but when she emanates and generates Zeus, she is Demeter. For he says: ‘She who before was Rhea came to be Demeter, because she had become the mother of Zeus’. Hesiod calls Demeter the daughter of Rhea, but it is clear that the two theologoi (‘mythic poets’) are in harmony; for whether she emanates from the Kronian unity into the secondary order, or whether she is the first child of Rhea, it amounts to the same thing” (Proclus, On the Cratylus 167):

I consciously say “identified as”, not “identified with”, because the Mother-of-Gods, despite her name, does not have a strong genealogical profile of her own. So, whereas identifying Demeter with Rhea or with the Earth, overturns conventional mythic genealogy, identifying the Mother as one of these three goddesses serves to give her a place in the genealogy at all, which she otherwise would not have.

Indeed, in her Homeric Hymn, the Mother is praised only in relation to a mode of worship (with rattles, drums and flutes), wild animals (wolves and lions) and places where those animals dwell and that worship might take place (mountains and forests). Conversely, Rhea was prominent in genealogy and myth, but little worshipped; she does not have a Homeric Hymn devoted to her, for instance, nor a distinct iconography. In other words, identifying Rhea as the Mother-of-Gods does not involve any contradictions, but actually makes both the mythical tradition about Rhea and the tradition of worship surrounding the Mother-of-Gods more intelligible.

[Mother in ‚Greek‘ myth; Oppian Cyn. 3.9?]
Dam. In Parm. p. 150

Serv. Georg. 4.150. Aen. 1.304
Serv. Aen. 3.111;131;

In turn, the further association of Rhea, the Mother-of-Gods, with the Earth roots both myth and worship in philosophical reasoning, which came to partially supplant, partially support mythology and genealogy as a framework for understanding the gods.


“The Mother-of-Gods is said to drive in a chariot because she is the Earth (terra), which is suspended in air; and she is carried on wheels, because the cosmos spins and whirls; lions are obedient to her/yoked to it to show that maternal piety can overpower everything; and the Corybantes, her servants (ministri) are depicted (lit. ‘invented’) as having drawn swords to indicate that all are obliged fight for their land (terra). And that she wears a mural (lit. ‘towered’) crown shows that cities – which of course are adorned with towers – are located upon the Earth” (Servius, On the Aeneid 3.113).

The augmented version of Servius adds that “they hand down that she is called era (= gr. éra, ‘earth’), that is, the Lady (domina = lat. era, ‘lady of the house, female ruler’),” explaining why Vergil here calls the goddess Domina.

Serv. Aen. 10.253
Serv. Aen. 3.43: domina
Serv. Georg. 4.64

[power of the Earth: Sextus. Porphyry – or later? Re: absence from Iliad etc.]
[lead over to Phrygia: origin of the iconography etc. lions]

The Phrygian Mother

“When someone said to Diogenes that ‘Your mother is Phrygian’, he said, ‘Well, so is (the mother) of the gods’” (Plutarch, On Exile 607b). The goddess could even simply be called Phrygía, ‘the Phrygian’, as well as ‘Phrygian Mother’ or ‘Phrygian Goddess’. This is because the Mother, called Matar in the Phrygian language, was the most revered goddess in the land of Phrygia in central Asia Minor (Anatolia). It is also from here that the name Cybele (gr. Kybélē, earlier Kubélē) derives, from the Phrygian phrase Mater Kubileya or Kubeleya.

It is curious, however, that Lynn Roller, in her monograph on the Phrygian goddess, takes (gr.) Kybélē and (lat.) Cybelē as “the goddess’ customary Greek and Latin names”, in distinction to Phrygian, where Kubileya is “not a proper name but an adjective”, and “Matar could be used without an epithet or with another epithet” (Lynn E. Roller, In Search of God the Mother. The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, 1999, p. 66). We have already seen that the habitual name of the goddess in Greek is ‘Mother’ or ‘Mother-of-Gods’, and so it is in Latin. Further, I will contend in the next section that, while the goddess was not usually called ‘Mother Cybele’ or ‘Mother Cybeleia’ in Greek or Latin, the name or byname ‘Cybele’ was perceived as having adjectival character, and not just when the rarer form Kybeleía was used, as Roller presupposes (ibid., pp. 87–89). (Indeed, with Greek theonyms, name versus byname/epithet – ‘epithet’ simply meaning ‘adjective’ – is generally often a distinction without a difference.)

It seems to me that the strong distinction that Roller makes between Phrygian (native) and Greek (non-native) usage is rooted in a general Greek–indigenous binary that does not fit with historical reality. In the rich body of Greek-language inscriptions from Phrygia, we find dedications to:

  • Mḗtēr, the ‘Mother’ (e.g., Haspels, Highlands of Phrygia 319,52, off-site link).
  • Mḗtēr Theā́, the ‘Goddess Mother’ (e.g., MAMA X 527, off-site link).
  • Mḗtēr Theôn, the ‘Mother of Gods’ (frequent as elsewhere in the Greek-speaking world).
  • Mḗtēr + byname, including but not limited to:
    • Mḗtēr Kybélē, ‘Mother Cybele’ or ‘Cybelian Mother’ (MAMA V 213, off-site link).
    • Mḗtēr + variants of the name Agdistis (see section about her below).
    • Mḗtēr Lētô, ‘Mother Leto’ (e.g., MAMA IV 314, off-site link).

As far as I can see, the dedication to Mḗtēr Kybélē cited above is the only one to Kybélē in Phrygia, and one of only a handful across the Greek-speaking world. So, all this (a) appears like a continuation of indigenous Phrygian practice much more than a break with it, while simultaneously (b) connecting to a wider Anatolian devotional landscape of Greek-language dedications to the goddess Mother / goddesses called Mother (plus proper name or byname), and (c) integrating these rich local traditions with the wider Mediterranean conception of one goddess called ‘Mother-of-Gods’ taking her place among the major gods of Greek myth and worship.

As with the unduly binary approach to Phrygian versus Greek and Latin language, Roller (like many others) also takes a strangely essentialist view of the goddess. Phrygia is “her homeland as well as her place of origin” (In Search of God the Mother, p. 64). Thus, she speaks of a “reception outside of Phrygia” (ibid., p. XVI), briefly characterized as follows: “After the conquests of Alexander and the more frequent contacts between Greece and the Near East that ensued, the Phrygian Mother’s homeland came within the cultural sphere of the Greek world; as a result, the Hellenized face of the goddess became more complex, comprising the older Phrygian deity, the Greek Meter, and the composite goddess of the newly Hellenized East” (ibid., p. 120).

Accordingly, when Roller discusses the Homeric Hymn to the Mother-of-Gods, she raises the question: “Was this Meter the Anatolian goddess? One complication lies in the fact that the Greeks used the title Meter for more than one divinity. The Greeks knew that Mother Kybele had come to Greece from Anatolia, but they also addressed the divinity Rhea, the Mother of the original six Olympian gods, as a mother goddess. The hymn, however, provides several strong allusions to the Phrygian goddess: her home in the mountains, her accompanying predators, her music. As we shall see, these points are all present in the Greek visual representations of Meter, drawn from the images of Matar’s homeland, suggesting that the goddess honored by this hymn was still close to her Phrygian forebear” (ibid., p. 123).

There are serious theoretical problems here. For one thing, to treat Matar and Meter as two different goddesses or two different names – when both words have the same etymological origin, the same meaning and virtually the same form (some Greek dialects even used the form Mā́tēr) – as if there were a neat correlation of language, ethnicity and deity, is completely ahistorical: Greek-speaking Phrygians referred to their own goddess as Mḗtēr as a matter of course.

Secondly, the imagined history, of an essentially self-contained Phrygia that becomes integrated into a Greek-speaking world, is fatally oversimplified. If the Homeric Hymn, composed centuries before Alexander, already reflects Anatolian influence, then there must also have been cultural integration long before Alexander, not simply of Greece and Phrygia (which Roller often virtually conflates with Anatolia), but of the various ethnic groups in Anatolia, including Greeks, Lydians, Phrygians, and so on. In other words, the widespread worship of a goddess/goddesses designated Mḗtēr in ancient Anatolia that is attested in Greek literature and inscriptions cannot be purely due to the spread of the Phrygian goddess and displacement of local deities, which would require a much greater hegemony of Phrygian culture than is historically plausible. Much less is it due simply to the imposition or adoption of Greek culture, since then we should see the replacement of local deities with Rhea or Demeter, not the retention of local theonyms and their combination with the name Mḗtēr, which was recognized by both Greeks and Anatolians as especially Anatolian (and pre-eminently Phrygian), not Greek. So, we should rather say that a shared Greco-Anatolian conception of Mḗtēr emerged out of longstanding but dynamic intercultural interactions and widespread multilingualism, so that it is arguably inherent to the Mother-of-Gods that she is understood through being “the same as” this or that goddess. The special importance of Phrygia and, later on, the Greeks (and subsequently the Romans) in shaping this conception or applying it to others should not lead us to disregard the agency of non-Phrygians or non-Greeks (or non-Romans), nor to think in terms of essential origin and derivative alteration. This process of meaning-making was active and transregional, not just “reception” from one region into others. That it was also always conditioned by the prevailing political circumstances and an asymmetry of power and influence does not change the basic fact.

Finally, the evidence simply does not support the essentialistic separation of Rhea as “a mother goddess” from the Phrygian Goddess proper. The ancients did not have a category of ‘mother goddesses’, they had a goddess ‘Mother’, and if Rhea was she, then by virtue of that, she was Phrygian. Indeed, as we have seen, far from using the same names for goddesses that remain essentially distinct, there was a strong tradition in antiquity of seeking a deeper and fuller understanding of the gods and their names by investigating the possibility that multiple names might refer to one and the same deity. And such speculation should not be understood as contrary to a pluralism of traditions: instead, it justifies that pluralism by anchoring it in an underlying truth, which authorizes the use of all the names and customs that have been incorporated into the explanation. Thus, “identification” or “syncretism” (in this case at least) is a form of emergent multicultural theology, not chauvinistic reductionism.

Cybelē and other place-based names

Scholia on Aristophanes, Birds 877 (oreia gar hê theos)
Hesychius, Stephanus, ps.Apollodorus, Aelius Herodianus: Kubela

the fort

Diodorus Siculus: Kubelon. Etymologicum Magnum: Kubelon.
Aelius Herodianus: Kubelwn orous
Strabo: Kubelwn
Anth. Gr. 9.340
Orph. Arg. 22

Serv. Aen. 6.784, 9.81
Search: Kybelêi-
Etymologica: Kubel-, kubêl-, etc.
Photius: Kubelên
Clement/Eusebius: Kubelên
Heliodorus: Kubelê??

Stephanus, Hesychius, etc.
PHI: Kybel
Pindar, fragment 80 (Snell), Despoina Kubela Mātēr ([δέσπ]οιν[αν] Κυβέ[λαν] ματ[έρα]).
Mountain mother? (Porphyry?)
Strabo (Kybele, Kybebe, Pessinountida)
Cybele: Festus
Ιδαια η Δινδυμηνη; Mhtera dindumihn
ρεας δε δυας

Hesychius: Dindumhnh, Kimmeris qea?, Kybelh, Kubhbh, numfh
Aristophanes + scholia: kubelhn / despoina kubelh (preceeded by Sabazius pass.)
Mountain Mother: Magoula tablet; Thurii tablet: Kybeleia
montium dea
Ovid: Cybeleia
Λυδια και Διδυμηνη
ορειαν μητερα
Scholia on Argonautica: Δινδυμιην (subsequent stuff)

Etymologic.: Dindymon


Agdistis: Strabo, Pausanias, Arnobius (Acdestis)
Inscriptions: Agdist-, Agdissid-, Agdis-, Andiss-, Andx-, Angdis(s)-
Agdisdis? Agdo?

Agdistis separate from Mother-of-Gods/Kybele?


Kubaba, Kuvav-
TLG: Kubhb-
Cybebe: Festus

„direct forerunner“ (there is no direct forerunner)
„The cult of Kubaba was already“, etc.
„Whether this was the Mother Goddess“, etc.

kubabos qeos (Hesychius)

Serv. Aen. 10.220

Cybus in Mart. Cap.
John Lyd. Mens. 463
Procl. In Eucl. p. 173

apo tou kybikou sxhmatos

The Mother-of-Gods at Rome

The Latin names of the Mother-of-Gods are for the most part direct translations or transliterations of Greek ones, and should therefore not be separated from them, as if they were different names. I am referring to the likes of ‘Mother of Gods’ (), ‘Great Mother’ (), ‘Idaean Mother’ (), Cybele () and Cybebe (), which were all recognized as coming from Greek. [Serv. Aen. 1.287]

According to Servius, the goddess actually received Greek-language hymns only, even among the Latins: [Serv. Georg. 2.394]. At the same time, it was said that “the Romans observed the rituals of the Mother-of-Gods according to Phrygian custom” (Servius, On the Aeneid 12.836), the Phrygians in question evidently being Greek-speakers, but not Greeks per se. Indeed, the Mother’s worship in the Latin-speaking world seems in many ways to have had closer ties to Greek-speaking Asia Minor than the traditions in mainland Greece did.

The only real Roman peculiarity when it comes to the name of the goddess is that, whereas Greek inscriptions tend to spell out words in full, Latin favors abbreviations and, relatedly, more formulaic phrasings. Consequently, there are certain naming conventions peculiar to Latin, or rather, peculiar to a certain formal register of Latin in distinction to Greek and to other registers of Latin. They are as follows:

  • The abbreviation MM stands for Matri Magnae, ‘to the Great Mother’.
  • MDM is Matri Deum Magnae, ‘to the Great Mother-of-Gods’. Analogous expressions are also used in Greek, although not in a fixed word order.
  • MDMI means Matri Deum Magnae Id(a)eae, ‘to the Idaean Great Mother-of-Gods’. This combination of titles is unique to Latin, although all the elements are taken over from Greek.

All that said, Rome did develop some unique traditions surrounding the goddess, which in turn influenced the Greek-speaking world, including Phrygia. Of special importance were the story of the transfer of a cult object from Pessinus (in Phrygia) to Rome, and the sequence of festivals in the Roman calendar, which was adopted to various degrees across the Mediterranean (as I will discuss below). But there is no consistent Roman narrative of her myth to undergird the events of the festival, beyond the importance of the goddess, of Attis and his castration, and of the pine tree. As usual in Ancient Mediterranean myth, the narrative details are in flux.

The Romans also adopted the Greek view that the Mother-of-Gods is Rhea, who in Latin is sometimes called by that name, sometimes by the native Roman name Ops. They also turned to her in order to situate some of their local deities in a Greek framework.

Thus, for instance, Servius writes that “Pales is a goddess of the pasturage (dea pabuli), whom some believe to be Vesta, others the Mother-of-Gods; Vergil refers to Pales in the feminine gender, others, including Varro, in the masculine” (Servius, On the Georgics 3.1). The equation with the Mother-of-Gods may here be inspired by the fact that Vergil invoked “great Pales” (magna Pales), recalling the Great Mother.

A similar reasoning underlies the following passage: “Cornelius Labeo [argues] that the Maia for whom a sacrifice is celebrated in the month of May” – not Maia the mother of Apollon and Artemis, but Maia the wife of Vulcan, cf. Maia (and Maiesta) – “is the Earth, having received this name” – which resembles the word maior, ‘greater’ – “from her magnitude, just as she is also called Mater Magna in her rites; and and they add to the authority of his opinion that a pregnant sow is sacrificed to her (Maia), which is the proper sacrifice for the Earth” (Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.12.20).

The Syrian Goddess

Lucian. Macrobius. Other?


Other goddesses

Tacitus, PGM, Astronoe, Tauthe; Adrastia, Anahitis (Artemis), Martianus 2.170
Hesychius: Ammas
? Hesychius: Akhêrô, Graia

Phasiana (Arrhian)

Ma (?) : Strabo on Koman-, Inschriften

Tetraprosôpô (!)


Euripides‘ Bacchae, 64 – 186, and Pindar’s Dithyramb II.6 – 9
Manilius, Lucretius
Astrology: Pliny alii matris deum; Ptolemy mhtera qewn
. Vs. Serv. Aen. 12.118
The Metroon?

Attis between myth and history: king, priest and God
Asia Minor Studien Muenster
Allmächtige Götter und fromme Menschen im kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasien

Firmicus Maternus

Attis / pine: Serv. Aen. 2.16, 7.24, 9.84, 9.115

Diodorus Siculus 5.49, other examples of genealogy surrounding her?

relation to Dionysus: D-Scholia 6.130

Fulgentius 3.5?

Mother(s) in Asia Minor and in the corpus of the Orphic Hymns

Die Lydischen Kulte!!
Proclus on Hippa (Hipta?), ‚kai thn idhn‘
OH 23
Hesychius: Misatis

The introduction of the Mother to Rome

Livy (search Pessinu-; also for Cic, VMax?)
Arrian, Tactics 33.4; Herodianus, Ab excessu 1.11.2

Serv. Aen. 3.279 (senex)
Serv. Aen. 7.188

The temple of Isis and the Great Mother at Mogontiacum

Serv.: matri deum Attis

The Roman calendar and Julian’s prose hymn To the Mother-of-Gods

[Fasti; Ovid? Julian, Sallustius, Damascius (Hilaria). Marinus? Cf. to Hippolytus?]

Julian, Letters (search ‚pissinounti‘)

Life-originating deities, not ‘mother goddesses’

Rheiê in Proclus/Chald.
Xaire qewn mhthr
Damascius, In Parm. p. 154; 157
Cf. Artemidorus (legomenê M. th.)