Cybele, Or Rhea, a Greek and Roman divinity, daughter of Uranus or Ccelus and Ge or Terra, wife of Cronos or Saturn, and mother of the highest gods and goddesses. As Saturn insisted on devouring his children, the goddess mother, when she found herself pregnant with Zeus, proceeded, by the advice of her parents, to Lyctus in Crete, where she gave birth to her son. The moment the infant was born, certain pious youths of the neighborhood assembled round him with clashing arms and loud instruments of music, and drowned the child's cries, while his crafty mother hied away to offer her husband a stone wrapped up like a child. The stratagem was successful, and Saturn swallowed the stone. The infant was nursed by shepherd youths, whom Cybele rewarded by initiating them into the mysteries of her worship, and appointing them to be priests and ministers at her altars. Her worship, wherever established, was of the same Bacchanalian character. Her priests in Phrygia were called Corybantes; in Crete, Curetes; at Rome, Galli; but everywhere they must be both youths and eunuchs. Though this worship had prevailed from very early times in Greece and Asia, where it may be traced under various names in various countries, it was not introduced at Rome till the period of the second Punic war.

Then the image of Cybele or Rhea was brought from Pessinus in Galatia, a temple was raised to her on the Palatine hill, and the festival of the Megalesia was instituted in her honor by the Roman matrons. Cybele is usually represented seated on a throne, with a mural crown from which a veil is suspended. Crouching lions are frequently on the right and left of the throne, and occasionally she appears in a chariot drawn by lions.

Cybele.

Cybele.