A Roman festival in honour of Rhea
games are also styled Megalensia and Megalenses
Ludi. The name is derived from the title of Cybelé, ἡ
(De Harusp. Resp.
12, 24), whose image, a black stone,
was brought to Rome in the year B.C. 204 at the time of the Second Punic
War, and placed in the temple of Victory on the Palatine.
The games were scenic and probably circenses
(Mommsen, C. I.
i. 391), and were held on the Palatine and later in the theatres. They were
directed by the curule aediles till B.C. 22, when Augustus placed them in charge of the
praetor. At the celebration, the galli
or eunuch priests of
Cybelé carried the sacred ensign in procession through the city, singing Greek
hymns and collecting coins from the people in the streets. This procession is described by
Lucretius (ii. 618 foll.
). The ceremony lasted seven days, on the
third of which the scenic exhibitions especially took place, and the whole celebration ended
with a grand carnival. The date of the Megalesia was April 4th to April 10th. Four of the
existing plays of Terence were first performed at the Megalesia. See Marquardt,
, pp. 367-374.