Great Anatolian mother goddess
, accepted into the Greek pantheon
at least by the 5th century B.C. and identified with Rhea
as the mother of Zeus
. She cared for her people in almost all aspects, overseeing fertility
, the shepherdless herds of wild beasts
, and even success in war
. Her worship was marked by frenzied dancing
s, and the rythmic clashing of drums
She arrived in Rome during the second Punic war, and became associated with the bona dea, spreading quickly to the provinces. During the later Roman empire, a statue of her in a chariot drawn by lions sat in the middle of the Circus Maximus.
Probably the most famous myth involving Cybele is recorded in Catullus, poem 63, about her follower (or, in some other versions, son), Attis, who, in a fit of ritual madness, castrated himself.