Cybele was a Mother Goddess with local manifestations in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. Some scholars believe that she originated in Anatolia around 6000 BCE. She appears in literature and sculpture from about the 5th century BCE onward. She presides over the gods, humans and beasts.
The lion was her sacred symbol. In statues, reliefs and coins she’s often depicted seated on a throne with a lion on either side.
Sir William Smith in his Smaller Classical Dictionary says
The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances. In Rome the Galli were her priests.¹
In Rome she was introduced as an official state religious figure and hence closely regulated and officiated by upper class priests.
Today, some people are drawn to her cult and, perhaps, numinous power – or what they believe is her numinous power. So her worship continues in the 21st century among New Age and neoPagan religious groups.²
¹ Sir William Smith, Smaller Classical Dictionary [revised by E. H. Blakeny and JohnWarrington], New York: Dutton, 1958.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) was an outstanding Roman orator, statesman and scholar born in Latium.
He was elected consul in 63 BCE. He managed to abort a revolutionary plot but executed some Roman conspirators without trial, which countered Roman law.
To avoid charges he flew into exile to Thessalonica (58 BCE). A year later he was recalled by the citizens of Rome but lost support from both Caesar’s and Pompey’s followers after trying to appease both.
Retiring in Rome in (46-44 BCE), he wrote on rhetoric and philosophy. Following the murder of Julius Caesar in the Ides of March, he gave speeches against Antony (43 BCE). Antony’s military assassinated him in response.
His most accessible and, perhaps, popular work for modern readers is De natura deorum (On The Nature of the Gods), in which he discusses the opinions of different philosophers concerning various pagan divinities. But many more down-to-earth works survive, such as his defending falsely accused citizens whose accusers are bribed into giving false witness.
- Some Information on Marcus Tullius Cicero (utahpeoplesparty.wordpress.com)
- The Political Handbook by Quintus Tullius Cicero (Translated) (thewesternexperience.com)
- Uncurrent Events 12/07 (newyorkharold.wordpress.com)
- Thought for the Day – November 25th (homeroomteacher.wordpress.com)
- Cicero on Treason (thesquirrelsnestblog.wordpress.com)
- Medicine for the Soul (dhcave.wordpress.com)
Gaius Julius Caesar (c. 100 – 44 BCE)
In the Punic tongue the word caesar means “elephant.” Caesaries also means “thick head of hair.” The surname Caesar was given to the Julian family of patricians¹ at Rome, because one family member once owned an elephant or had a healthy scalp.
After Julius had become the Dictator of Rome, his surname became an honorary title for the next 11 emperors during the age of the Roman Emperors, each emperor being hailed as a new “Caesar.” So we often hear about the “12 Caesars,” which includes Julius.
Julius was an innovative and tough political and military genius who single-handedly broke down the old Roman republic.
When sailing to finish his education at Rhodes, he was held captive by pirates. Paying more than demanded for his release he quickly returned with a ship of his own and crucified the pirates he had recently paid.
The Roman writer Pliny says that he conquered 800 cities, 300 nations and three-million people, which at that time in history was a considerable percentage of the Earth’s population.
Caesar traveled to current day England, where he wrote on the practices of the Druids. A learned scholar and historian, he used his influence to reshape the calendar into one with 365 days and leap years, making the year 365.25 days long. This Julian calendar was largely replaced by the Gregorian calendar, but it’s still used in some countries today.
Politically he would be closer to a Democrat (or Liberal) than a Republican (or Conservative). He favored the populares (nobles who worked through and acted for the benefit of the people) over the optimates (nobles who opposed the populares, claiming to represent everyone and not just the poor).
His end came about on the Ides of March (15 March, 44 BCE), the result of a conspiracy hatched by his closest advisers, all of whom stabbed him to death. The killers were lead by Brutus and Cassius. Apparently Caesar resisted the attackers after the first stab wound, but upon seeing his friend Brutus among the group, accepted his grisly fate.
The night before his death Caesar’s wife had vivid and terrible dreams, which perhaps Caesar should have taken into consideration. He was also warned of the plot by Artemidorus in a letter sent to the senate house, which he failed to read.
By the time of his death Caesar had stopped listening to the nobles altogether, a move which they clearly didn’t like. He had virtually ended the old Republic and his overweening confidence, which had taken him so far, ultimately led to his downfall.
His life has been depicted in several films and William Shakespeare wrote the tragic play, Julius Caesar, which looks at the conspiracy leading to his death, especially from the perspective of Brutus. Shakespeare’s Brutus, in fact, gets about four times as many lines as Caesar.
¹ The patricians were a privileged class of Romans who, among other things, dominated politics and the priesthood.
- Archaeologists discover ancient fort that helped Julius Caesar conquer Gaul (slashgear.com)
- The New British Roman Bible is Discovered – A Testament of the Deification of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar Responsible for the Crucifixion of Christ (ireport.cnn.com)
- August 30 30 BCE Cleopatra commits suicide (craighill.net)
- CAESAR the God (ireport.cnn.com)
- Discovery: Ancient Fort Aided Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul (sott.net)
- Evidence of Caesar’s Troops … In Germany? (rogueclassicism.com)
- Julius Caesar – Royal Shakespeare Company, Noel Coward Theatre, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- You: Review: ‘Julius Caesar’ is Brutus’ show at McCadden Place Theatre (latimes.com)
Diana (Greek equivalent = Artemis) was a Roman goddess worshipped by the plebeians, the so-called lower classes of ancient Rome. G. Parrinder says Diana’s name may have meant “bright one” like the Indic Dyaus and Greek Zeus. Diana may have been revered as a moon goddess but was primarily a goddess of women, the wood, wilderness and the hunt.
Widely worshipped in the ancient world, her primary centers of worship were as follows:
King Servius Tullius (578-535 BCE) dedicated a temple to her on the Aventine Hill at Rome. She was also worshipped at Aricia (in the crater of a dead volcano about 10 miles from Rome), and at the mountainous Tifata. And the Romans converted a Greek temple at the Asian port of Ephesus, formerly dedicated to Artemis, for Diana’s worship.
That she was favored by women is evidenced by the fact that religious processions of women bore torches in her honour at Aricia¹ and votive offerings were made for successful childbirth. She was also favored by slaves, making her a patroness of many marginalized peoples.
The Roman Emperor Augustus decided that he’d make Diana the patroness of his wife Livia and his daughter Julia to counterbalance his own egotistical identification with the god Apollo.²
Associated with the woodlands as well as the moon, the celebrated mythographer, Sir J. G. Frazer, writes in The Golden Bough that Diana had a sacred grove of oak trees at Lake Nemi, just outside of Rome at Aricia. The resident priest of the grove usually was an escaped slave who served as Diana’s consort. Priestly succession was determined by the outcome of a deadly challenge made by another escaped slave, these new rivals generally coming from the city.
In order to obtain the right of combat the challenger first had to break off a bough of mistletoe from within the grove. If the challenger obtained the mistletoe without being killed by the residing priest, ritual combat would ensue. If the challenger won this “religious” fight to the death, he replaced the slain priest and found himself in the same uneasy spot as his predecessor.
Diana’s renown is recorded in Acts 19: 23-41, in which the King James version of the Bible calls the Greek goddess Artemis “Diana.” In this story St. Paul turns many away from Artemis through his preaching about Jesus at Ephesus. As a result, the converts stop buying small terra cotta and silver images of Artemis. In turn, some of the townsfolk become angry and denounce Paul.
A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”³
The writer on women’s myth, Barbara Walker, says that Diana was declared evil and denounced by 14th century Christian Inquisitors.
¹ The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 463.
² (a) C. M. C. Green “Diana” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Michael Gagarin. © Oxford University Press 2010. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Toronto Public Library. 3 August 2012 http://www.oxford-greecerome.com/entry?entry=t294.e369
(b) C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about this dynamic, generally regarded in depth psychology as “inflation.” Campbell, however, adds a few interesting nuances to the idea or, at least, puts some of the complexities of Jung’s depth psychology into easily understandable terms.
³ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19%3A23-41&version=NIV See also, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1996, p. 88.
- Artemis (bookstove.com)
- Diana: essence of feminine spirit. (ggsethericjourney.wordpress.com)
- Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (gatherednettles.com)
- The Netherlands: Successful Naming and Launch Ceremony for ARTEMIS (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Acts 19: How the Early Christians Did It (cutpaste.typepad.com)
- Artemis from Parion (rogueclassicism.com)
- My trip to Turkey 3: Celçuk and Ephesus (shawjonathan.wordpress.com)
Demeter was an influential mother and corn goddess with temples in virtually every ancient Greek city. She had a major temple at the town of Eleusis (about 10 miles from Athens). Her daughter by Zeus is Persephone or Kore (“the Girl”), who also personifies corn. Together, Demeter and Persephone are deities of agriculture and growth.
Demeter is usually depicted holding sheaves of corn. The oldest myth about Demeter is found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which links her to the Eleusinian Mysteries. In this hymn Persephone/Kore is abducted by Hades to the underworld.
As the corn crop suffers in her daughter’s absence, Demeter searches for Persephone/Kore until Zeus decrees that she must spend one part of the year with Demeter and another part with Hades.
Hades…gave Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat, and because she had tasted food in the Underworld she was compelled to spend a third part of every year there, returning to earth in spring.¹
This is often cited as an example of how storytellers mythologize the natural cycles of seed-time, vegetation, harvest and the subsequent storage in underground containers. Demeter is also portrayed as sorrowful because of Persephone/Kore’s sad fate.
In Italy Demeter is often identified with Ceres.
¹ Nicholas J. Richardson, Demeter in The Oxford Classical Dictionary © Oxford University Press 1996, 2000.
- Eleusinian Mysteries (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Mythology: Demeter and Dionysus (danitorres.typepad.com)
The Greek Fates or Moirae were three goddesses in charge of the destiny of human beings from birth to death.
Clotho spun the thread of a person’s life. Lachesis determined the length of the thread (one’s lifespan). And Atropos clipped the thread at the time of a person’s death.
Although other Greek gods were immortal, they too feared the Fates. The gods often favored heroic or noble human beings and had to appease or bargain with the Fates to deliver someone from the underworld.
Fortune tellers acted as mediums for the Fates. Normally depicted as ugly old hags, some mythic stories say the Fates were born of Zeus and the Titaness Themis (representing justice) but no unified opinion exists as to their origin.
They were called Parcae by the Romans, who incorporated many Greek core ideas into their religion.
- Fate (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Moirae: Deities who Spin the Threads of Life (yuenxdioses.wordpress.com)
- Greco roman glossary (slideshare.net)
Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenali, c. 55-130 CE) was a Roman satirist whose sharp, critical eye gives a reality check to those who uncritically glorify ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt as examples of a mythical ‘golden age.’
The ancient world was typically corrupt, hypocritical and cruel, with large numbers of miserable have-nots (slaves and the over-taxed poor) at the whim and mercy of a tiny group of often tyrannical rulers.
As for sacred temples, Juvenal writes that they are frequently used as meeting places for casual hetero- and homosexual sex. To the “provincial” Naevolus he says:
It’s not so long, I recall, since you used to hang around the temples of Ceres and Isis, or Ganymede’s little shrine
In the temple of Peace, or Cybele’s secret grotto
On the Palatine Hill – all such places are hot-spots for easy women.
You laid them by the dozens then, and (something you don’t mention)
More often than not you would have their husbands, too (Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires, trans. Peter Green, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974, p. 195).
And his take on the Roman state religion’s feast days is just as controversial:
What feast-day’s so holy it never produces the usual quota
Of theft, embezzlement, fraud, all those criminal get-rich-quick schemes,
Glittering fortunes won by the dagger or drug-box? (Ibid., p. 249).
Juvenal’s vivid and piercing portrait of ancient Rome might be more relevant to some contemporary cultures than Voltaire‘s equally powerful satire, Candide, even though the latter is nearer to the present, chronologically speaking.
Contemporary scholars don’t know if Juvenal really stood behind his criticisms or, instead, was simply writing about some of his contemporaries who viewed things as he wrote them.
While Juvenal’s mode of satire has been noted from antiquity for its wrathful scorn towards all representatives of social deviance, some politically progressive scholars such as W.S. Anderson and later S.M. Braund have attempted to defend his work as actually a rhetorical persona (mask) taken up by the author to critique the very attitudes he appears to be exhibiting in his works.¹
In classical Roman mythology Jupiter is the master deity, often depicted with flowing hair, beard, thunder and a thunderbolt.
He was worshipped by the Roman elite at his sacred temple on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
Also known as Jovis, Jupiter was regarded as the upholder of justice who protected the state and its rulers. He also presided over the Roman games.
Jupiter is likely related to the Vedic Dyas Pitar and has probable origins as a sky and weather god. However, he clearly evolved into a bellicose deity, and is also seen, among his other attributes, as a god of war.
His Greek counterpart is Zeus. In Britain he was called Jove—hence the phrase by Jove! And mention of Jove appears quite often in Shakespeare.
At lovers’ perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. ¹
In astronomy, Jupiter is the 5th planet from the sun, with 16 natural satellites, taking 11.9 years to complete a full orbit that travels between the paths of Mars and Saturn.
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system with 63 natural satellites.
In the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010, Jupiter figures prominently as the location for a fictional hyperspace portal to the stars.
- Juno (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Greatest Mysteries of Jupiter (space.com)
- -aurora -diana -cupid -venus -jove -dido -juno -titan What are these roman gods and goddesses in charge of and what are their characteristics (wiki.answers.com)
- Does Jupiter have damage from being close to the asteroid belt (wiki.answers.com)
- … the Side of Unique Serenity Please (sycalaelen.wordpress.com)
- “The Planets” – A Poem (rodscuriosityshop.wordpress.com)
- Starwatch: Look east for Jupiter and Mars (guardian.co.uk)
- April 30: Mars conjuncts Jupiter (thecolorsofwellness.com)
- Phobos passes Jupiter… as seen from Mars! (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- A New Vision Explains How Jupiter Ruined Mars (scienceray.com)
Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135-1202) was an Italian monk and prophet who apparently in his youth experienced a significant mystical illumination.
He left his office as Abbot of a Cistercian monastery to found his own, more contemplative congregation at Fiore within the Sila Mountains.
Joachim’s theory of history is often cited by depth psychologists and theologians. He viewed history as a sequence of three periods.
The first period is characterized by Mosaic law where The Father presides and inspires “servile obedience and fear.”
The second period is characterized by “grace, filial obedience and faith,” dominated by the Son. Being imperfect, it ends badly. This necessitates the third period of the reign of the Holy Spirit.
The third period of The Holy Spirit was to begin in 1260 and continue to the prophesied end-times, delivering the rule of “Spirit, liberty and love.”
C. G. Jung believed Fiore’s understanding of the Holy Spirit charged the prophet’s life with innovative ideas with numinous purpose. Jung says this was further enhanced by the apparent synchronicity of Fiore living during the onset of the astrological aeon of Pisces “the beginning of the sphere of the ‘antichristian’ fish in Pisces.”¹
The fish is an ancient Christian symbol, dating back to early inscriptions excavated at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Even if the appearance of the ‘antichristian’ fish symbol is somehow synchronistic with Fiore’s understanding of the Holy Spirit, we should recall that synchronicity is an ethically neutral concept, and an alleged phenomenon occurring in the context of good or evil.
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¹ C. G. Jung, Aion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79, Vol. 9/2, p. 85.
- The Holy Spirit is withdrawing from the world (georgehachmyblog.wordpress.com)
- The Gifts of the Holy Spirit: What They Are and How to Use Them (catholicdefense.blogspot.com)
- May the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with You (sjbrown58.wordpress.com)
- 6/12/2011 The Holy Spirit Amazes (richbrownforewords.wordpress.com)
- Meditation: The Work of the Holy Spirit (deaconjohn1987.wordpress.com)
- Fruits and Gifts (cloudygearz.wordpress.com)
- The Work Of The Holy Spirit (catholicjules.net)
- The living water of the Holy Spirit (deaconjohn1987.wordpress.com)
- On the Identity and Role of the Holy Spirit (brokenheartedboldness.wordpress.com)
After a traditional education, Luther entered an Augustinian monastery in 1505. He was ordained as a priest in 1507 and in 1512 earned the title of Doctor of Theology and Professor of Scripture at Wittenberg.
Luther became widely known as a reformer after visiting Rome in 1510-11, where he was appalled by the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences. In 1517 he denied the Pope‘s authority to forgive sins by posting his 95 theses on the Church door at Wittenberg.
Apparently intended as a mere theological argument, intense controversy followed this pivotal act.
Luther was called to Rome to defend his theses. He ignored the summons and continued to challenge the papacy even more forcefully, publicly setting to flames the papal bull that condemned his activities.
A Church order was given to destroy his written works. Luther was called before the Diet at Worms and expelled from the Empire. His Augsburg Confession, where the character Melanchthon represents his own views, is a benchmark for the German Reformation (1530).
Luther married a nun and had six children, one of whom died young. In his later years he showed definite signs of antisemitism, which has lead to his controversial status.¹
Related Posts » Bach (Johann Sebastian), Calvin (John), Calvinism, Confirmation, Consubstantiation, Erasmus Desiderius, Evil, Holy, Justification, More (St. Thomas), Nietzsche (Friedrich), Numinous, Otto (Rudolf)
- Celebrating the Birth of Martin Luther (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- What man started the reformation movement (wiki.answers.com)
- Does Twitter take itself too seriously? [Jeff Mowatt] (ecademy.com)
- ‘Wittenberg’ is an intellectual workout with Hamlet, Faustus and Luther (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Calvin, Luther and Zwingli: Devotees of Mary (trustinjesus.wordpress.com)