The Mater Dolorosa of Ancient Rough Cilicia: Tracking an Archetype

The Mater Dolorosa of Ancient
Rough Cilicia:
Tracking an Archetype
Prof. Matthew Dillon
Dept. of Classics and Archaeology
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Monumental Relief,
RC 0304
Alt. 780 m.
Ht.: 5.2m
Who is she?
Close up of female
Figure, Kenetepe Relief
Similar examples of “mater dolorosa” in Rough Cilicia
L: Tomb stele from Anamur Museum; R: Altar from Hisar (RC 0405)
Some Context:
Who Are These People?
• Rough Cilician coast exposed to various
influences (including pirates!):
Phoenician (cf. legend of Cilix)
Egyptian (under Cleopatra)
• But native population group dominates
– Luwians, related to Hittites
L: Location of Rough Cilicia
R: Major Sites in Western Rough Cilicia
Tentative Extent of Luwian Language Groups, 3rd mill. BCE
From: The Luwians, C. Melchert (Brill 2003), p. 9
Luwian Language
• Hieroglyphic Script used by Hittites (2nd mill. BCE)
• Following collapse of Hittite empire (ca. 1200 BCE),
“Neo-Hittite” kingdoms of eastern Anatolia provide
extensive corpus of Luwian inscriptions (11th-8th c.
• Local scripts in Lycia, Pamphylia last until 3rd c. BCE
• Spoken language still in use in 1st c. CE
– Paul & Barnabas addressed in Lycaonian dialect, Acts 14:11
Luwian Hieroglyphs
From Karkemish,
Ca. 9th c. BCE
Location of Luwian Hieroglyphic Inscriptions
From The Luwians, p. 142
Native Luwian Scripts, ca. 3rd c.
L: Lycian, near Xanthos
R: Side, in Pamphylia
Personal Photos
Xanthos, etc.
Areas with evidence of native language, 3rd c. BCE-1st c. CE map03.htm
Luwian Remnants in Rough Cilicia
• Of over 2,200 inscriptions from western
Rough Cilicia, NONE in native language
– 32 in Latin, rest in Greek
• But nomenclature indicates ethnic
dominance of native Luwians
– Ca. 75% of names non-Greek, mostly Luwian
• Some evidence of Lycian influence
E.g.: Name List from Korykion Antron
Thali]archos son of Oxeus
Ollis son of Trokoarbasis
Rondbeis son of Xenon
Ronzrumeris son of Oetasis
Tetes son of Oxeus
Mos son of Rosgetis
Neon son of Rosarma
Marbollas son of Oetasios
Tetes son of Oxeus II
Oxallas son of Oxeus
Papas son of Deliarchos, etc.
Text: Repertorium der Westkilikischen Inschriften,
S. Hagel & K. Tomaschitz, Vienna 1998, p. 185.
Korykion Antron
Lycian Influence?
Note ogival arch
characteristic of Lycian
sarcophagus lids
L: Lykian tomb from Xanthos R: Tomb-shaped relief from Nirgistepe (RC 99-2)
• Luwian People of Rough Cilicia indigenous
since the Bronze Age
• Iron Age power centers in East
• Extensive Greek influence in Hellenistic
– Language & Politics
• In RC, native artistic traditions survive into
Roman Period
– Most sites from 1st-4th centuries CE
• Dating based on surface pottery, inscriptions
So, who is she?
A Goddess?
What kind of goddess?
Basic Assumptions
Female figure of importance/power
Mature, respectable (veil)
– Mournful attitude
– Location in or near necropoleis
• Ergo, mater dolorosa “sorrowful mother”
• Repetitions indicate “type”
– Can we speak of “archetype”?
• Trace first mater, then dolorosa in Anatolia
What is an “Archetype”?
• Greek Arcetupon: pattern, model
• Appropriated by C.G. Jung for symbols
(“primordial images”) from collective
– Used to analyze neuroses:
• “The mother archetype forms the foundation for the
so-called mother complex….Typical effects on the
son are homosexuality and Don Juanism, and
sometimes also impotence.”
– “Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype”, from:
C.G. Jung, Four Archetypes, Princeton 1970, p. 19.
Back to Basics
• Term still useful in mythology/art:
– Recurrent symbol from human experience
• Strong examples of basic archetypes:
– Father (sky god, king)
– Mother (earth goddess, queen)
Ancient Sky Gods
Neo-Hittite Teshub/Tarhunt
c. 850 BCE spqr/hit_rel.htm
Greek Zeus,
c. 6th c. BCE
Babylonian god
(Ninurta?), 9th c. BCE
Mother Goddesses
• Various Types/Archetypes
• Emphasis on:
– Power (mater natura, “Mother Nature”)
• Dominatrix?
– Fertility (alma mater, “nourishing mother”)
– Loss (mater dolorosa, “sorrowful mother”)
• Startling concentration of female power in
– Matrix of all mothers!
Neolithic Mothers
• Hacilar and Çatal Höyük offer striking
examples from 7th-6th mill. BCE
• Animal imagery survives 5,000 year gap!
Çatal Höyük
Mother with child,
Hacilar, 7th mill. BCE tour.html
Goddess flanked by Lions,
Çatal Höyük, 6th mil. BCE
Hittite Arinna
• Little Evidence for Bronze Age Mother Cult
• Sun goddess Arinna appears at Yazilikaya, near
Hittite capital (13th c. BCE)
– Note mountains, lion, high crown (polos)
Images from:
Neo-Hittite Kubaba
• Localized around Karkemish, ca. 950-700 BCE
• Attributes: polos (high crown), pomegranate, mirror
• Attested as far west as
Sardis in Lydia
Kubaba with polos, pomegranate spqr/karkemish.htm
The Great Mother (Magna Mater)
• Most important mother cult in Mediterranean
• Localized in Phrygia, spread far & wide
– Phrygians enter central Anatolia ca. 900 BCE
• Only Phrygian deity attested in art, inscriptions
• Name is simply Matar (Mother)
– But epithet kubileya (“mountain”?) establishes specious
connection with Kubaba, widely accepted
• Greeks & Romans called
her Kubelh, Cybele
Matar’s Iconography
• Stands upright (in naiskos)
• Attributes: polos, bird, lion, jug
7th c. relief near Ankara
Photos: In Search of God the Mother, L. Roller, Berkeley 1999.
Flanked by musicians
From Bogazkoy, 6th c.
Major sites connected with Phrygian Mother Goddess cult
From: Roller, In Search of God the Mother, map 1
Growth of the Matar Cult: Greece
• Adopted as Mhthr (Qewn,
oreia, megalh),
• Short Homeric Hymn (6th c.
BCE?) refers to ecstatic music,
animals, mountains
• Ionia a likely point of
• Metroon in Athenian Agora at
heart of civic center
• But cult overshadowed by
Mysteries of Demeter
Meter in naiskos, Miletos, 6th c. BCE
(Roller, p. 129)
Magna Mater in Rome
• Sibylline Books direct cult
image to be brought from
Phrygia with great fanfare
in 204 BCE.
• Sources describe aniconic
stone (meteorite?)
• Ovid (Fasti 4.179ff.)
narrates Quinta Claudia’s
• Popular cult also intrigues
Lucretius (DRN 2.600ff),
Catullus (c. 63)
Relief of Quinta saving the day, 2nd c. CE (Roller, p. 312)
Unsavory Aspects?
• Literary sources emphasize castration
– Complex Myth of Attis adapted in Catullus 63
• Dea, magna dea, Cybebe, dea domina Dindymi!
– Galli (eunuch priests of cult) notorious
• Calling Dr. Jung!
• But little evidence from Anatolia!
Gallus, with paraphernalia
3rd c. CE Relief of Cybele & Attis cybele.html classical/mysteries.html
Mater Dominatrix?
• Several myths associate dominant female
with subordinate male
– Cybele and Attis
– Inanna and Dumuzi (Mesopotamian)
– Venus and Adonis
• Intersection with “Mistress of Animals”
(Potnia Theron) motif?
– Mother Nature has power to control, terrify
Mistress of Animals
• Appears on Greek pottery during “Orientalizing period”
•Associated with Artemis, goddess of pristine nature
•Phrygian examples may derive from Greek models
Boiotian vase, ca. 680 BCE myth/images/haifa/h56.jpg
R: myth/images/haifa/h57.jpg
Francois Vase, ca. 570 BCE
Syncretism: Unity in Diversity
• Merging of cults inevitable
– Apuleius provides locus classicus (Metam. 11.5)
• Isis cult adds to Mediterranean mix
• Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia, provides fertile
ground for interaction
– Luwian Apasa?
– Center of Artemis cult
– Christian crossroads
Map: cities/ephesus/
Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
• Roots of unique cult image
• Temple a Wonder of the World
• Paul ousted from theater by
devotees (Acts 19.23ff.)
L. Ephesian Artemis, 2nd c. CE; R: modern
reconstruction (from Das Artemision von Ephesos, 2)
Artemision (Artist’s Reconstruction) seven.html
As it looks today (personal photo)
Another Ephesian Goddess?
• Scripture puts Mary, mother of Jesus, in
John’s care (John 19.25-27)
• John allegedly buried near Ephesus
• “Mary’s House” located (1891) via visions
of Sr. Anne Catherine Emmerich (17741824)
– Her visions also guided Gibson’s Passion!
• House now a cult site for BVM
Cult Sites of Mary and John
Tomb of St. John
St. John’s Basilica
6th c. CE, Selcuk pages/
“House of the Virgin Mary”, outside Ephesus
(Personal Photo)
The Cult of Mary
• “Mariolatry” officially rejected
by Roman Catholicism
– But “apparitions” most common of all
• Virgin, Mother, Queen unite archetypes
– Cf. Virgin/fertility cult of Ephesian Artemis
• Emphasis less on power, domination
• Opens door for more human aspects
– Alma Mater (“nourishing mother”)
– Mater Dolorosa (“sorrowful mother”)
Alma Mater
Neohittite from Karatepe, 8th c. BCE
Panaghia galaktotrophousa, 14 c. CEFrom: E. Akurgal, Ancient Civilizations
Mother (goddess?),
c. 147
and Ruins
of Turkey,
pl. 105 (Roller, p. 106)
E. Neumann,
The Great
Mater Dolorosa
Crucifixion with Mary and John
Byzantine, 13th c.
Titian, Mater Dolorosa. 1553-1554
Pieta, Hungarian, 1450
The Seven
Pal C.
Monar (Hungarian)
Mater Dolorosa, J.A.
Origins of Mater Dolorosa
• Archetype closes circle of life and death
• Women’s role in Funerary ritual crucial
• More prevalent in Myth than in Art
Thetis, in Iliad (set in NW Anatolia)
Demeter, at Eleusis near Athens
Niobe, turned to stone in Lydia
Penelope, for husband and son
• Can we connect to RC reliefs?
“Penelope”, Roman copy
of Hellenistic original
“Weeping Niobe”, Mt. Sipylos
Back in Context:
What message does this
Gateway send?
Mater surrounded by images
of military activity:
Their message clear?
But what is woman’s role?
The Women of Rough Cilicia
• Epigraphy gives (limited) view of female
roles in Roman period (1st-4th c. CE)
• Women figure prominently in both funerary
and honorific texts
• Inscriptions suggest fair amount of respect,
independence, visibility
• “Lineage Society” model must take women
into account
Funerary Evidence
• Some communal tombs place in separate chambers
(men above, women below)
– But not all, and couples are often buried together
• Men erect tombs for wives, daughters, mothers-in-law
– “Tomb holds us like one bedroom and one bed” (OlB46)
• Wives erect tombs for husbands
• Women erect tombs for themselves
– Priestess of Demeter for “self and no one else” (Kan22)
• Mothers erect tombs for daughters
• Daughters erect tombs for fathers
• Brothers erect tombs for sisters
Honorary Inscriptions
• Wives, daughters, mothers honored
with statues by “Council and People”
– For “modesty”, “respectability”,
“consular” rank
– One woman served as gymnasiarch
• Women pay for statues, columns,
public dinners
– Wife and daughter build public
propylaion (Kzb6)
• Cf. civic activity of Plancia Magna at
Perge (ca. 80 mi. W. of RC)
Plancia Magna, 2nd c. CE
• Female powers in Anatolia run gamut of
– Dolorosa type counterbalances Dominatrix
• Prominence of mater dolorosa motif in RC
suggests acknowledgement of female power,
esp. in funerary context
• Indigenous Luwians of RC maintain cultural
identity in multicultural Roman empire
– Women apparently active, visible in civic life and