Last Updated on 2022/09/22
In Greek and Phrygian mythology, Attis was Cybele’s husband. According to origin stories about Attis castrating himself, his priests were eunuchs, or Galli.
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Another Phrygian vegetation deity was Attis. The fruits of the soil, which perish in the winter and then reappear in the spring, are represented by his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection. Ovid’s Metamorphoses claims that Attis became into a pine tree.
The main center of his cult was Pessinunte in Phrygia, from which through Lydia it passed approximately in the 7th century B.C. to the Greek colonies of Asia Minor and later to the continent, from which it was exported to Rome in 204 B.C.
In Rome, the eunuch followers of Cybele were called galli because they abstained from pork.
Related articles: Eunuchs in ancient China
Featured image: Attis is shown on a reclining statue at the Attis Shrine at Ostia Antica, close to Rome. Attis was regarded as a solar deity and identified with the moon-god Men. He is leaning on a bust, probably the personification of the river Gallos, where he had died. His posture is reminiscent of river gods (the river Gallos), but the statue also brings to mind sarcophagi, with a depiction of the deceased on the lid. The statue is a dedication by C. Cartilius Euplus
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