The Mother of the Gods and the Ideals of Lydian Tyranny

Mark Munn

in The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520243491
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931589 | DOI:
The Mother of the Gods and the Ideals of Lydian Tyranny

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This chapter examines the characteristics that made the Phrygian Mother of the Gods an appropriate manifestation of Lydian sovereignty. Like the figure of Midas, a real person whose memory generated an ahistorical archetype, this chapter shows that the divine Mother in Lydia was, paradoxically, both a mortal woman and mother of a king-to-be, and a divinity whose communion with tyrants assured their supremacy. As in the case of Midas, this paradox was achieved through the perspective of time. Real individuals of the past were enshrined through rituals and monuments to become the idealized foundations of present conditions. In this process, the mothers of kings tended to lose their individual identities and become assimilated to the ideal of the divine Mother.

Keywords: Lydia; tyranny; maternal deities; Midas; mythology; Greece; sovereignty

Chapter.  18070 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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