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Date(s) - 04/04/2021 - 10/04/2021
All Day


Under the continuing strain of the Hannibalic War the Romans in 204 BC introduced the cult of the Great Mother Goddess (Mater Magna, Cybele) from Phrygia: the sacred black stone of the goddess was brought from Asia Minor and arrived in Rome on 4 April. After temporary lodgement it was placed in a temple on the Palatine, which was dedicated to the goddess on 10 April 191 BCE. An annual festival, the Megalesia was established to recognize this event.

These Games included theatrical performances and spectacles in the Circus. Artistic events seemed to play a large role in these games. The ceremony was opened by an offering at the temple which included a dish of herbs by an aedile who was responsible for the Games. Her eunuch priests (Galli) were carried her image in procession through the streets of Rome and sang hymns in Greek, to the sound of drums and clashing cymbals, and sought alms from passers-by. The statue, which was carried on a litter, showed Cybele riding in a chariot drawn by a pair of lions.

On the evening of the 4th that patrician families invited each other to banquets (mutitationes). These dinners were presumably linked to the clubs (sodalitates) which were established in honour of Cybele

Thus 4 April was a very lively day in Rome, with plays to suit all tastes, horse-racing, an exotic procession through the streets, and dinners.

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