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Gifts to the Gods in Greece and Rome

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Altar to the goddess Cybele

This altar held sacred relics of Cybele, a fertility goddess who originated in Phrygia, Asia Minor. On the front of the altar Cybele towers over two priests. On the right side is a sacred pine tree, with musical instruments used in her worship. On the left side, priests carry the throne of the goddess on which stands a basket for sacred relics.

In the Greek and Roman world Cybele was associated with her lover, Attis. In one popular version of their story, Cybele drove Attis mad after he rejected her: he castrated himself and died; she then brought him back to life.

Production place: Italy
Date: around AD 150–300 
Bequeathed by Warren, G.A.

Object Number: GR.5.1938

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