Catullus - Poem 63
Music and Sodomy: "The self-mutilation and subsequent lament of Attis, a priest of Cybele. The centre of the worship of the Phrygian kube/lh or kubh/bh, was in very ancient times the town of Pessinus in Galatian Phrygia, at the foot of Mt. Dindymus, from which the goddess received the name Dindymene. Cybele had early become identified with the Cretan divinity Rhea, the Mother of the Gods, and to some extent with Demeter, the search of Cybele for Attis being compared with that of Demeter for Persephone.
The especial worship of Cybele was conducted by emasculated priests called Galli (or, as in vv. 12 and 34, with reference to their physical condition, Gallæ).Their name was derived by the ancients from that of the river Gallus, a tributary of the Sangarius,
(Deut 23:1 No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD).
H3772 kârath kaw-rath' A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces):--be chewed, be con- [feder-] ate, covenant, cut (down, off), destroy, fail, feller, be freed, hew (down), make a league ([covenant]), X lose, perish, X utterly, X want.
by drinking from which men became inspired with frenzy (cf. Ov. Fast. 4.361ff.).The worship was orgiastic in the extreme, and was accompanied by the sound of such frenzy-producing instruments as the tympana, cymbala, tibiæ, and cornu, and culminated in scourging, self-mutilation, syncope from excitement. and even death from hemorrhage or heart-failure
-Cymbalum ,'I.gen. plur. cymbalum, Cat. 63, 21), = kumbalon, a cymbal.I. Prop., an instrument consisting of two hollow plates of brass, which emit a ringing sound when struck together. They were used in the festivals of Cybele and Bacchus, and on other festive occasions; also to hinder the flight of bees, etc. (usu. in plur.), Lucr. 2, 619; Cat. 63, 21; 63, 29; Ov. F. 4, 213; Verg. G. 4, 64; Liv. 39, 8; Cic. Pis. 9, 20 sq.; Plin. 5, 1, 1, § 7; Quint. 11, 3, 59; Plin. Ep. 2, 14, 13.—
A. Esp., as beaten by the priests of Cybele, Lucr. 2, 618; Cat. 63, 8 sq.; Verg. A. 9, 619; Ov. M. 3, 537; 4, 29; 4, 391; id. F. 4, 213; Plaut. Poen. 5, 5, 38; Caes. B. C. 3, 105; Curt. 8, 11, 20; 8, 14, 10; Tac. H. 5, 5, —Also by the Bacchantine females, Ov. M. 11, 17.—Beaten by the Parthians as a signal in battle in place of the tuba, Just. 41, 2, 8.—B. Trop., a timbrel, etc., as a figure of something effeminate, enervating: “tympana eloquentiae,” Quint. 5, 12, 21: “in manu tympanum est,” Sen. Vit. Beat. 13, 3.—
Gallus , i, m., = Gallos Strab.,
A. Galli , ōrum, m., the priests of Cybele, so called because of their raving, Ov. F. 4, 361 sq.; Plin. 5, 32, 42, § 146; 11, 49, 109, § 261; 35, 12, 46, § 165; Paul. ex Fest. p. 95 Müll.; Hor. S. 1, 2, 121.—In sing.: Gallus , i, m., a priest of Cybele, Mart. 3, 81; 11, 74; cf. Quint. 7, 9, 2: “resupinati cessantia tympana Galli,” Juv. 8, 176.—And satirically (on account of their emasculated condition), in the fem.: Gallae , ārum, Cat. 63, 12, and 34.—
singular GALLUS, priests, often temple attendants or wandering mendicants, of the ancient Asiatic deity, the Great Mother of the Gods, known as Cybele, or Agdistis, in Greek and Latin literature. The galli were eunuchs attired in female garb, with long hair fragrant with ointment.
Together with priestesses, they celebrated the Great Mother's rites with wild music and dancing until their frenzied excitement found its culmination in self-scourging, self-laceration, or exhaustion. Self-emasculation by candidates for the priesthood sometimes accompanied this delirium of worship.
The name galli may be Phrygian, from the two streams called Gallus, both tributaries of the Sangarius (now Sakarya) River, the waters of which were said to inspire religious frenzy.
Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 1 Co.11:14
but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 1 Cor 11:15
"Hebrew music... was used in the luxurious times of the later monarchy the effeminate gallants of israel, reeking with perfumes, and stretched upon their couches of ivory, were wont at their banquets to accompany the song with the tinkling of the psaltery or guitar (Am. v1. 4-6), and amused themselves with devising musical instruments while their nation was perishing... music was the legitimate expression of mirth and gladness, and the indication of peace and prosperity." (Smith's, Music, p. 590)."That chant to the voice of the lyre, accompanying the voice of the lyre with the human voice, giving vocal expression and utterance to what the instrumental music spoke without words. The word, which Amos alone uses in this one place, describing probably 'a hurried flow of unmeaning, unconsidered words, in which the rhythm of words and music was everything, the sense, nothing; much like most glees. The E.M. 'quaver' has also some foundation in the root, but does not suit the idiom so well, which expresses that the act was something done to the voice of the lyre, accompanying the music, not altering the music itself." (Barnes, Albert, Amos, p. 303).
"And every improper sight and sound, to speak in a word, and every shameful sensation of licentiousness--which, in truth, is privation of sensation--must by all means be excluded; and we must be on our guard against whatever pleasure titillates eye and ear, and effeminates. For the various spells of the broken strains and plaintive numbers of the Carian muse corrupt men's morals, drawing to pertubation of mind, by the licentious and mischievous art of music." (Clement of Alexandria, Instructor, Eerdmans, p. 248)
The early connection of Attis with the Mother of the Gods seems to point to the association of an original male element with an original female element as the parents of all things.But in the age of tradition Attis appears as a servant instead of an equal,
and the subordination of the male to the female element is further emphasized by the representation of Attis,
like the Galli of historic times, as an emasculated priest.
Catullus departs from this form of the Attis myth, and makes Attis a beautiful Greek youth who in a moment of religious frenzy sails across seas at the head of a band of companions to devote himself to the already long-established service of the goddessBrothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. Galatians 5:11
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! Galatians 5:12
The Goddess Cybele (The Sophia - Zoe Usurpation)
"Here, devote to me thy manhood and become one of my faithful dogs! (emasculated priests) I shall be quick, and the cut will be clean!!!" Catullus:
"Oh, Great Goddess, Goddess Cybele, Goddess and Lady of Dindymus! May all your fury be far from my house! Incite others, go! DRIVE OTHER MEN MAD!!!"
Laura Darlene Lansberry
- Carried in a fast ship over profound seas
- Attis, eager and hurried, reached the Phrygian grove,
- The goddess's dark places, crowned with woodland.
- And there, exalted by amorous rage, his mind gone,
- He cut off his testicles with a sharp flint.
- While the ground was still spotted with fresh blood
Quickly took in his snowy hands a tambourine
- Such as serves your initiates, Cybele, instead of a trumpet,
- And shaking the hollow calf-hide with delicate fingers,
- Quivering, she began to sing to the troop this:
So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; 1Chr.10:13
Owb (g178) obe; from the same as 1 (appar. through the idea of prattling a father's name); prop. a mumble, i. e. a water-skin (from its hollow sound); hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar): - bottle, familiar spirit.
- Go together, votaresses, to the high groves of Cybele.
- Go together, wandering herd of the lady of Dindymus.
- Quick into exile, you looked for foreign places
- And, following me and the rule I had adopted,
- You bore with the salt tide and the violence of the high sea
- And emasculated your bodies from too much hatred of Venus:
- Delight the lady's mind with your errant haste.
- Overcome your reluctance: together
- Go to the Phrygian shrine of Cybele, to her groves
- Where the voice of cymbals sounds, the tambourines rattle,
- Where the Phrygian piper sings with the deep curved pipe,
- Where Maenads wearing ivy throw back their heads,
- Where they practice the sacred rites with sharp yells.
- Where they flutter around the goddess's cohort:
- It is there we must go with our rapid dances."
cava: the word tympanum also denoted a kettle-drum with a hemispherical resounding cavity and a single head of hide, and so cava, which would properly characterize it, is here used of its cognate instrument, the tambourine; cf. Ov. Fast. 4.183 inania tympana tundent; Aus. Epist. 24.21 cava tympana.
- As Attis, the counterfeit woman, sang this to her companions,
- The choir howled suddenly with tumultuous tongues.
- The tambourine bellows, the cymbals clash again;
- The swift troop moves off to Ida with hurrying feet.
- Crazy, panting, drifting, at her last gasp,
- Attis with her tambourine leads them through the opaque groves
- Like an unbroken heifer refusing the yoke:
- The swift votaresses follow their swift-footed leader.
- When they reach Cybele's shrine, feeble and worn,
- From too much toil they take their rest without bread (Ceres).
- Sleep covers their eyes with a heavy blanket;
- Their rabid madness subsides to a girlish quiet.
But when the golden sun with his streaming eyes
- Purified the white sky, hard land, wild sea,
- And drove away the shadows of night with his thundering horses,
- Attis was aroused and Sleep went quickly from her
- Back to the trembling arms of the goddess Pasithea.
- Then from her girlish quiet, with no hurrying madness,
- Attis remembered what she had done
- And saw in her lucid mind what was missing and where she was.
- Tempestuously she turned back to the shore.
- There, looking at the open sea with tearful eyes,
- With grief in her voice she addressed her native land:
- "Land which begot me, land which brought me forth,
- I am abject to abandon you like a runaway slave.
- My feet have carried me to the groves of Ida
- To be among snow in the cold lairs of wild beasts;
- I shall visit their violent haunts.
- Where, O my land, can I imagine you are?
- My eye desires you and narrows as it turns toward you
- In this short interval when my mind is unfrenzied.
- Shall I be carried to the forests, from my far-off home?
- Away from country, goods, friends, family?
- From the Forum, palaestra, racecourse, and gymnasium?
- There is nothing for me but misery.
- What shape is there that I have not had?
- A woman now, I have been man, youth, and boy;
- I was athlete, the wrestler.
- There were crowds round my door, my fans slept on the doorstep;
- There were flowers all over the house
- When I left my bed at sunrise.
- Shall I be a waiting maid to the gods, the slave of Cybele?
- I a Maenad, I a part of myself, I impotent?
- Shall I live above the snow line on green Ida?
- Shall I pass my life under the rocky peaks of Phrygia
- Where the doe runs in the woods, where the boar mooches in the glade?
- I regret now, now, what I have done, I repent of it, now!"
As these words hurried away from her pink lips,
- Bringing a new message to the ears of the gods,
- Cybele, letting her lions off the leash
- And urging forward the beast on the left hand,
- "Get on, be fierce, see that he's driven mad;
- Make him insane enough to return to the forest
- He has had the impertinence to want to be out of my power.
- Come on, lash around with your tail till you hurt yourself:
- Make the whole neighborhood ring with your bellowing roar.
- Be fierce, shake the red mane on your muscular neck."
- Thus the threatening Cybele, and she wound the leash round her hand.
- The beast stirs up his courage and rouses himself to fury.
- He is off, he roars, he breaks up the undergrowth.
- When he came to the wet sand on the whitening shore
- And saw tender Attis by the waters of the sea,
- He charged: Attis, mad, flew into the wild woods:
- There, for the rest of her life, she lived as a slave.
- Great Goddess, Goddess Cybele, Goddess lady of Dindymus,
- May all your fury be far from my house.
- Incite the others, go. Drive other men mad.
One of these charges the Egyptians thus: "If you believe them to be gods, do not mourn or bewail them; and if you mourn and bewail them, do not any more regard them as gods." And another, taking an image of Hercules made of wood (for he happened most likely to be cooking something at home), said,
"Come now, Hercules; now is the time to undergo for us this thirteenth labour, as you did the twelve for Eurystheus, and make this ready for Diagoras," and so cast it into the fire as a log of wood. For the extremes of ignorance are atheism and superstition, from which we must endeavour to keep.And do you not see Moses, the hierophant of the truth, enjoining that no eunuch, or emasculated man, or son of a harlot, should enter the congregation?
By the two first he alludes to the impious custom by which men were deprived both of divine energy and of their virility;
and by the third, to him who, in place of the only real God, assumes many gods falsely so called,-as the son of a harlot, in ignorance of his true father, may claim many putative fathers.
Women in ministry were also EMASCULATED PRIESTS.
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