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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIII - Faith and Manners


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 19

Worship of Cybele

Chaldaean astrologers and casters of nativities were already in the sixth century spread throughout Italy; but a still more important event--one making in fact an epoch in the world's history--was the reception of the Phrygian Mother of the Gods among the publicly recognized divinities of the Roman state, to which the government had been obliged to give its consent during the last weary years of the Hannibalic war (550). A special embassy was sent for the purpose to Pessinus, a city in the territory of the Celts of Asia Minor; and the rough field-stone, which the priests of the place liberally presented to the foreigners as the real Mother Cybele, was received by the community with unparalleled pomp.

Indeed, by way of perpetually commemorating the joyful event, clubs in which the members entertained each other in rotation were instituted among the higher classes, and seem to have materially stimulated the rising tendency to the formation of cliques. With the permission thus granted for the -cultus- of Cybele the worship of the Orientals gained a footing officially in Rome; and, though the government strictly insisted that the emasculate priests of the new gods should remain Celts (-Galli-) as they were called, and that no Roman burgess should devote himself to this pious eunuchism, yet the barbaric pomp of the "Great Mother" --her priests clad in Oriental costume with the chief eunuch at their head, marching in procession through the streets to the foreign music of fifes and kettledrums, and begging from house to house--and the whole doings, half sensuous, half monastic, must have exercised a most material influence over the sentiments and views of the people.

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