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THE goddess commonly identified by the Greeks with Rhea and the Asiatic Cybele was almost certainly in her origin Hellenic, and was widely worshipped, from early times, as simply “μήτηρ θεῶν”. At Athens, for example, her cult was important, in the “Μητρῷον” (see Frazer on Paus.i. 3. 5, Harrison M. M. A. A. p. 43 f.). The absence of a personal name (Rhea or Cybele) is therefore no indication of a late date. Nor is there any question of Orphic influence in the hymn. Two Orphic hymns are dedicated to the goddess; one (xiv) mentions “Ῥέα” by name, the other (xxvii) calls her the Mother of the Gods. Whatever the date of the present hymn, it is far removed from the spirit of the Orphic compositions, and, as Baumeister remarks, is quite “Homeric.”

For Rhea cf. h. Dem. 60, 442, 459, h. Aphr. 43. She appears as mother of the gods in Il. 15.187, Theog. 453 f., 625, 634; as mother of gods and men Orph. h. xiv. 9, xxvii. 7.

[3] βρόμος αὐλῶν = h. Herm. 452; cf. Anth. Pal. vi. 165. 5 “τυπάνου βρόμον”, ib. 217. 5 “Κυβέλης ἱερὸν βρόμον”, Apoll. Arg. 1.1139ῥόμβῳ καὶ τυπάνῳ Ῥείην Φρύγες ἱλάσκονται”. The unmetrical “τυμπ-” is also found in Apollonius and the Anthology. Examples of the connexion of “τύμπανα” with the goddess, in literature and art, are too numerous to quote.

4, 5. Cf. h. Aphr. 70λύκοι χαροποί τε λέοντες”, and ib. 74 “κατὰ σκιόεντας ἐναύλους”. The resemblance, as Gemoll notes, is hardly accidental. The lion is the constant symbol of the Mother in art, from the time of Pheidias (see Harrison l.c., Rapp in Roscher Lex. ii. 1644 f.).

[5] ὑλήεντες ἔναυλοι=xxvi. 8.

6=ix. 7.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Homer, Iliad, 15.187
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 2 to Demeter, 60
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 4 to Hermes, 452
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 5 to Aphrodite, 43
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 5 to Aphrodite, 70
    • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1.1139
    • Cornelius Nepos, Pausanias, 1.3
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