Magna Mater

But in Rome, the centre of Western civilization, it was otherwise: there it was the Phrygian god who was in possession; the dominating position held by the cult of Attis and Magna Mater […]

The first of the Oriental cults to gain a footing in the Imperial city, the worship of the Magna Mater of Pessinonte was, for a time, rigidly confined within the limits of her sanctuary. The orgiastic ritual of the priests of Kybele made at first little appeal to the more disciplined temperament of the Roman population. By degrees, however, it won its way, and by the reign of Claudius had become so popular that that emperor instituted public feasts in honour of Kybele and Attis, feasts which were celebrated at the Spring solstice, March 15-27th.

As the public feast increased in opularity, so did the Mystery feast, of which the initiated alone were privileged to partake, acquire a symbolic significance: the foods partaken of became ‘a food of spiritual life, intended to sustain the initiate in the trials of existence.’ […]

– Jessie Weston From Ritual to Romance


Tra l’altro il fiume Almone era protagonista di un imprtante culto di origine orientale, la “Lavatio Matris Deum“, che si svolgeva il 27 marzo di ogni anno proprio dove le acque sfociano nel Tevere: dal tempio sul Palatino, una solenne processione portava la pietra sacra alla Magna Mater (la dea Cibele) fino all’Ostiense, e li si purificavano l’immagine e gli arnesi del culto nell’acqua dell’Almone. L’importante cerimonia duro’ fino al 389 d.C., anno in cui fu abolita per incompatibilita’ con la religione cristiana.

La storia ci racconta: visita guidata al patrimonio storico-artistico della via Latina e della valle della Caffarella


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