), a Phrygian divinity, commonly described as a son of Rhea or Cybele ; but in later times he was identified with the mystic Dionysus, who hence is sometimes called Dionysus Sabazius. (Aristoph. Birds 873
; Hesych. s. v.
) For the same reason Sabazius is called a son of Zeus by Persephone, and is said to have been reared by a nymph Nyssa; though others, by philosophical speculations, were led to consider him a son of Cabeirus, Dionysus, or Cronos.
He was torn by the Titans into seven pieces. (Joan. Lydus, De Mens.
p. 82; Orph. Fragm.
8.46, p. 469, ed. Herm., Hymn.
47; Cic. de Nat. Deor.
The connection of Sabazius with the Phrygian mother of the gods accounts for the fact that he was identified, to a certain extent, with Zeus himself, who is mentioned as Zeus Sabazius, both Zeus and Dionysus having been brought up by Cybele or Rhea. (V. Max. 1.3.4
.) His worship and festivals (Sabazia) were also introduced into Greece; but, at least in the time of Demosthenes, it was not thought reputable to take part in them, for they were celebrated at night by both sexes with purifications, initiations, and immoralities. (Diod. 4.4
; Demosth. de Coron.
p. 313 ; Strab. x. p.471
; Aristoph. Wasps 9
389.) Serpents, which were sacred to him, acted a prominent part at the Sabazia and in the processions (Clemens Alex. Protrept.
p. 6; Theophrast. Char.
16): the god himself was represented with horns, because, it is said, he was the first that yoked oxen to the plough for agriculture. (Diod. 4.4