, in post-classical authors only). The eunuch
priests of Cybelé or the Great Mother, whose worship, so far as it can be traced
historically, had its original seat in Phrygia (Marmor Parium, ap.
i. 544, where it is placed under the reign of
Erichthonius, king of Attica, B.C. 1506; Strabo, x. pp. 469, 472, xii. p. 567, where the names
, etc., are said to be derived from
Phrygian localities; Κυβέλην ἀπὸ τοῦ τόπου
, Diod.iii. 58
). The Phrygian language was Indo-European, as appears from
the extant inscriptions (Rawlinson's Herod.
vol. i. App. 666); and the worship
of Cybelé has been thought to be also IndoEuropean; Avestan names have been traced
in it —Berecyntus=Berezat;
(Labatut in Rev. Numism. Belge
1868, p. 286). Other names, however, are of distinctly Semitic affinities; Rhea perhaps=the
Babylonian Ri (Mulita
or Mylitta), and Nana more certainly=the Babylonian Nana
modern Syrian Nani.
The origin of the name of Galli is not absolutely certain, but it was doubtless a native
Phrygian word; of course it has nothing to do with the Galatae or Gauls, whose first
appearance in these countries dates only from B.C. 278. There is no reason to reject the
tradition which derives it from a river in Phrygia; there were two small
rivers called Gallus , both tributaries of the Sangarius, and the one which flows by Pessinus
must be meant, whose water was fabled to cause this particular form of religious madness
Fast. iv. 363
; Plin. H. N. v.
; Plin. H. N. xi. 261
; Plin. H. N. xxxi. 9
). A form gallantes
, as if from gallare
, “to rave like a priest of Cybelé,”
is cited from Varro (ap.
Non. p. 119, 5).
In their wild, enthusiastic, and boisterous rites the Galli recalled the legends of the Corybantes
(q.v.). According to an ancient custom,
they were always castrated (spadones, semimares, semiviri, nec viri nec
), and it would seem that, impelled by religious enthusiasm, they performed this
operation on themselves (Ovid,
Fast. iv. 237
; Plin. H. N.
; Plin. H. N. xxxv. 165
; Martial, iii. 81,
xi. 74; Juv.vi. 512
foll.; Catull. Attis
). See Rhea