fat goddess seated between two leopards, in clay

The famous leopard-enthroned goddess
from the granary at Çatal Hüyuk, close to 6000 bce.

woman enthroned between lions with drum cyele on her lion throne, hecate with her torch

Thousands of years later, the Anatolian goddess Kybele
is depicted on a throne flanked by lions (right, from Pergamon, Turkey)
or with lions (left, in her lap, found at Baalbek, Lebanon).


alabaster goddess seated with basin held before her breasts

The Canaanite goddess is also shownseated between lions,
which are now winged cherubim with lion's bodies and women's heads.
Phoenicians brought this deity to southwestern Iberia.
She is an alabaster ritual vessel; when libation is poured into her,
the liquid shoots out from her breasts into the basin she holds.
Tutugi, Spain, 7th century.

clay figure goddess between winged lions

Goddesses of this type spread far and wide as the Greek and Roman
world adopts veneration of the Mater Deum, Mother of the Gods.
7th century, identifed as "Greek" but may be Italian, no provenance given.


relief of seated  goddess flanked by lions

Kybele, originally a Phrygian goddess, was also venerated by
the Thracians, who carved many reliefs of her enthroned
with her lions. Serdica, Bulgaria.



goddess on lion throne

Another Thracian statue of the Mother of the Gods
with her lion. Perenthus, Bulgaria.


Goddess driving a chariot drawn by lions

After consulting the Sibylline oracle, Rome officially adopted veneration of
Kybele during the emergency of Hannibal's march through Italy. Her sacred
meteorite was brought from Asia Minor and installed in a Metroön ("mother
shrine") in Rome. In the Roman era the goddess was increasingly depicted
"in a chariot drawn by lions," with the shamanic hand drum that had been her
symbol for centuries. Roman bronze.


silver disc with two goddesses in a chariot, sun and moon above, and a magus

Kybele continued to have a long reach in Asia as well. This silver
and gold disc comes from Ai Khanum in Afghanistan, and shows
Kybele and another goddess, perhaps Nike, in the lion chariot, with
sun, moon, and Venus in thesky and a Persian magus at right.

recent fountain sculpture of Kybele and her lions

A more recent classical-style fountain sculpture
of Kybele and her lions

Max Dashu | Suppressed Histories Archives | Gallery | Female Icons