Sardis 3: Temple of Cybele

Has the whimsical artistry of Renaissance sculptors shaped amcient history?

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8 Responses to Sardis 3: Temple of Cybele

  1. Pingback: Sardis 3: Temple of Cybele – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

  2. Cybele as Earth Mother had a much earlier beginning, from a time when man discovered he could induce fertility to the land; ie the beginnings of agriculture. She has many anthropomorphic shapes. What we see in these later statues are more later site specific varieties, some rather monstrous in form from exaggerated features. The more ancient figurines are from Europe and near east. But older, as per

    But not the Greeks. The Greeks, according to “J E Harrison, in the introduction to a second reprint of her book on ancient Greece “Themis; A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion”, says that “—the religion of Homer was no more primitive than his language—(the gods were) severed from their roots”. Further on she says that “—their divinity was shorn of each and every ‘mystical or monstrous’ attribute.”. The Greeks also achieved artistic beauty in their statuary.

    The Romans copied the Greeks. But also they were astute statesmen, and adopted any deities and religions as long as it was to their advantage. See Constantine the great.

    Another form of the goddess here, possibly Isis (the mother of all things – L Apuleus) Decorated with birds, a ring of rams heads, plus more; possible girdle and Isis knot.

    There is also something for one to figure out. There is evident much cultural diffusion, the reason not just climate change, but as Dodwell perceived, dynamic earth changes that forced civilisations to move for survival.

  3. Boris Tabaksplatt says:

    Good stuff Tim – lots of food for thought. I often wonder whether the historic narrative is created from the archaeology found, or the narrative is based on often forged texts, with objects created to confirm the narrative?

    The other puzzle that bothers me is why so many ancient statues have had a rhinectomy. This is a well known issue, but I’ve yet to find a good explanation of the who, when and why of this unhappy procedure. The problem is worse than it seems, as many complete statues have each been given a fake plaster proboscis. Here’s a few examples of the fakes,which were removed to return the statues to their as found condition…

    More info on website here…

    • malagabay says:

      why so many ancient statues have had a rhinectomy?

      That’s an interesting question that prompts a few guesses:

      a) Earthquakes => Falling Debris will hit heads first.
      b) Earthquakes => Falling Statues => Fair chance of falling face first.
      c) Ears & Nose => Easy targets for feeding to the lime kilns.
      d) Farnese Fakes => Made from studio spare parts, failures and breakages.
      e) Busts tend to be top heavy => Fair chance of falling face first.
      f) When you’re fraudulently passing off a bust of [let’s say] a Cardinal as [let’s say] Attila the Hun then it’s important the Cardinal doesn’t recognise his own image.

    • melitamegalithic says:

      Since their creation, gods promised much, imposed even more, but never delivered. On the rare occasion a delivery took place it was more routine nature and charlatanism than fact.
      Many times the aggrieved, when all hope was lost and who likely paid in advance, settled the matter . Easily done with a decent hammer. A bloodied nose said much about false promises.
      But there is also the clash of competing religions, but those affairs are usually settled in more cruel and destructive ways.

    • melitamegalithic says:

      Looking further into this matter turned up something (to me ) interesting, being of local origins.
      Quote section “As already shown above, the statuettes’ heads were detached as if to annihilate their identity and, thus, possibly also any memory associated with them (as in Alcock 2002: 26-7; Van Dyke and Alcock 2003: 3, 5). Thus, this head detachment or outright destruction of the statuettes might have been a deliberate act of iconoclasm or, in a context like ours, what John Chapman (2008: 187) terms as the ‘ritual “killing” of objects’.”

  4. malagabay says:

    As Diana was the great deity, and chief object of adoration to the Ephesians, so Cybele was to the Lydians, among whom she was said to be born. Her great temple stood at Sardis.

    Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor
    Robert Walsh – 1839 – Illustrated by Thomas Allom

  5. malagabay says:

    Herodotus mentions a temple dedicated to Cybebe, or Cybele, as damaged in the conflagration of Sardes by the Milesians. The same goddess is invoked in Sophocles as inhabiting by the great Pactolus, abounding in gold.

    Travels in Asia Minor 1764-1765 – Richard Chandler
    Edited by Edith Clay – 1971 – Page 203

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