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Attis: A Greek God in Anatolian Pessinous and Catullan Rome

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image of Mnemosyne

In my contribution I attempt a new analysis of the myth and ritual of Attis and its reception in Catullan Rome. I argue (1) that the attempts to identify Attis with the Herodotean Atys are unconvincing, as they are based on Hermesianax's poem, which intended to provide an aetiology for a taboo on the pig in Pessinous; (2) that Attis starts to appear in the Greek world in the middle to the third quarter of the fourth century BC; the mention in Demosthenes should be taken as referring to his own time, not to that of Aeschines' mother; (3) that a careful comparison of Timotheus' account with that of Pausanias enables us to reconstruct the Phrygian myth and ritual of Pessinous as well as its gradual development, whereby special attention is given to Kybele, Agdistis, Attis and his festival, and the eunuch Galli; (4) that the religious aspects of Catullus 63 show a close identification of the cult of Kybele with that of Dionysus.


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