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CORYBANTES (κορύβαντες). The history and explanation of the deities bearing this name, in the early mythology of Greece, cannot be given in this place, as it would lead us to enter into historical and mythological questions beyond the limits of this Dictionary. The Corybantes, of whom we have to speak here, were the ministers or priests of Rhea or Cybele, the great mother of the gods, who was worshipped in Phrygia. (See Dict. of Biogr. and Mythol., art. RHEA.) In their solemn festivals they displayed

Corybantes and Cybele, with infant Zeus. (Museo Capitolino.)

the most extravagant fury in their dances in armour, as well as in the accompanying music of flutes, cymbals and drums. (Eur. Ba. 125; Hor. Carm. 1.16.8; Ov. Fast. 4.210; Juv. 5.25; Mart. 1.71, 10.) Hence κορυβαντισμὸς was the name given to a disease in which persons felt as if some great noise was rattling in their ears. (Plat. Crit. p. 54 D; Hermann, Gottesdienstl. Alterth. § 3, 8.) they were subsequently confounded with the Curetes, who are said to have brought up Zeus in Crete, and concealed him from his father Cronos. (Strab. x. p.470; Lucr. 2.630; Verg. G. 4.151, Aen. 3.131; Ov. Met. 4.282, Fast. 4.210.) In the festival of the Corybantica (κορυβαντικά) celebrated at Cnosus in Crete, the person to be initiated was seated on a throne, and those who initiated him formed a circle and danced around him. This part of the solemnity was called θρόνωσις or θρονισμός. (Strab. l.c.; Plat. Euthydem. p. 277 D; Dion Chrysost. Orat. xii. p. 387; Proclus, Theol. Plat. 6.13.) The Corybantes were associated with the mysterious divinities called Cabeiri. (Dict. of Biogr. & Myth., art. CABEIRI.)


hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Euripides, Bacchae, 125
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.282
    • Vergil, Georgics, 4.151
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 2.630
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 1.10
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 1.71
    • Ovid, Fasti, 4
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