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Museum of Anatolian Civilizations065
Statue of Agdistis-Cybele from Phrygia, 6th century BC

In Anatolian, Greek and Roman mythology, Agdistis was a hermaphroditic being, and symbolized the wild and uncontrolled powers of nature. She is the personification of a mountain of the same name in Phrygia.

Mythology

She was born after Zeus accidentally impregnated the earth goddess Gaia. The gods feared Agdistis because she held all the powers of creation within her body. Dionysus tricked her, and from then on she was known as the goddess Cybele.

Cult

Some ancient writers say Agdistis is the same as Cybele, and worshiped under that name. In many ancient inscriptions, Agdistis is clearly separate from Cybele, but in many others she is listed as an epithet of Cybele. Although primarily an Anatolian goddess, the cult of Agdistis covered a lot of territory. By 250 BC it had spread to Egypt, and later to Attica, Rhamnus around 80 BC (where there was a sanctuary of Agdistis), and later in Lesbos and Panticapeum.

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