Friday, 8 March 2013

The Golden Ass and the Catamite

Patera depicting Cybele and Attis, 4th century CE, source:
As the traditional time to mourn and then celebrate the death and resurrection of Cybele's beloved Attis (a festival since subsumed by Easter) draws near there is perhaps no better time to look at the role of the galli in ancient Rome. The galli were priests of the great Goddess Cybele, also called the Magna Mater. In imitation of her lover, Attis, who was said to have castrated himself after being driven into a frenzy by a jealous Cybele, the galli castrated themselves during the festival of Attis. Thereafter these “mad eunuch priests” (to quote Lucretius) dressed in women’s clothing, which were typically brightly coloured, wore earrings and heavy make up, and became well known for their wild rites in which they ritualistically flogged and mutilated themselves whilst in an ecstatic frenzy brought on by boisterous music and dancing. They were also well known fortune tellers and were perhaps the only priests permitted to beg during the Roman era.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Greco-Roman Pagan Lego

There are no shortage of Lego set ups engaging with Greco-Roman themes, however they tend to be scattered across cyberspace. Here follows my attempt to bring the best of them together in a Pagan setting. I humbly acknowledge that I became aware of many of these set ups through, which is a blog dedicated to Lego set ups with a religious motif.

"Legionaries Ready!" by ACPin. The God of the temple is not indicated (presumably a military God would be appropriate, such as Mars or Bellona) but it is still a great set up. The Sphinxes at the front of the temple are a nice touch.
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In another Lego tribute to the God of war (in this case it is definitely Mars), this is "Roman Temple" by Casper.
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Even great soldiers may be felled by Cupid's arrows. This beautiful set up is called "Amor's Arrow" by Jojo.
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"Templum Vestae" by Gema. Vesta is the Roman Goddess of protecting hearth fire and ritual fire. Within her famous temple/shrine at Rome a continuous fire burnt. Extinguishment of the fire was associated with ill fortune. Indeed, within 20 years of Vesta's protecting flame being permanently put out, during Emperor Theodosius' persecution of Paganism in the 390s, the Visigoths sacked Rome and the fall of the western Roman empire was essentially complete.
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"Palladium in ignis" by lokosuperfluoLEGOman. I love this one - it depicts Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome), Lucius Caecilius Metellus, rescuing the sacred Palladium (a wooden statue of Minerva/Pallas Athena said to have been brought to Rome by mythological founding father of Rome, Aeneas) from a fire in the temple of Vesta in 241 BCE. 
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