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On this page: Rhea Sflvia – Rheginus – Rhegio – Rhemnius – Rheomithres – Rhescuporis


Crete was undoubtedly the earliest seat of the worship of Rhea ; Diodorus (v. 66) saw the site where her temple had once stood, in the neighbour­hood of Cnossus, and it would seem that at one time she was worshipped in that island even under the name of Cybele (Euseb. Chron. p. 56 ; Syncell. Chronogr. p. 125). The common tradition, further, was that Zeus was born in Crete, either on Mount Dicte or Mount Ida. At Delphi there was a stone of not very large dimensions, which was every day anointed with oil, and on solemn occasions was wrapped up in white wool; and this stone was believed to have been the one which Cronos swal­lowed when he thought he was devouring Zeus (Paus. x. 24. § 5). Such local traditions implying that Rhea gave birth to Zeus in this or that place of Greece itself occur in various other localities. Some expressly stated that he was born at Thebes (Tzetz. ad Lye, 1194). The temple of the Din-dymenian mother had been built by Pindarus (Paus. ix. 25. § 3 ; Philostr. Icon. ii. 12). Ano­ther legend stated that Rhea gave birth1 at Chaero-neia in Boeotia (Paus. ix. 41. § 3), and in a temple of Zeus at Plataeae Rhea was represented in the act of handing the stone covered in cloth to Cronos (Paus. ix. 2. § 5). At Athens there was a temple of Rhea in the peribolos of the Olympieium (Paus. i. 18. § 7), and the Athenians are even said to have been the first among the Greeks who adopted the worship of the mother of the gods (Julian, Oral. 5). Her temple there was called the Me-troum. The Arcadians also related that Zeus was born in their country, on Mount Lycaon, the prin­cipal seat of Arcadian religion (Paus. viii. 36. § 2, 41. § 2 ; comp. Callim. Hymn, in Jov. 10, 16, &c.). Similar traces are found in Messenia (Paus. iv. 33. § 2), Laconia (iii. 22. § 4), in Mysia (Strab. xiii. p. 589), at Cyzicus (i. p. 45, xii. p. 575). Under the name of Cybele, we find her worship on Mount Sipylus (Paus. v. 13. § 4), Mount Coddinus (iii. 22. § 4), in Phrygia, which had received its colonists from Thrace, and where she was regarded as the mother of Sabazius. There her worship was quite universal, for there is scarcely a town in Phrygia on the coins of which she does not appear. In Galatia she was chiefly worshipped at Pessinus, where her sacred image was believed to have fallen from heaven (Herodian, i. 35). King Midas I. built a temple to her, and introduced festive so­lemnities, and subsequently a more magnificent one was erected by one of the At tali. Her name at Pessinus was Agdistis (Strab. xii. p. 567). Her priests at Pessinus seem from the earliest times to have been, in some respects, the rulers of the place, and to have derived the greatest possible advantages from their priestly functions. Even after the image of the goddess was carried from Pessinus to Rome, Pessinus still continued to be looked upon as the metropolis of the great goddess, and as the principal seat of her worship. Under different names we might trace the worship of Rhea even much further east, as far as the Euphrates and even Bactriana. She was, in fact, the great goddess of the Eastern world, and we find her worshipped there in a variety of forms and under a variety of names. As regards the Romans, they had from the earliest times worshipped Jupiter and his mother Ops, the wife of Saturn. When, therefore, we read (Liv. xxix. 11,14) that, during the Hannibalian war, they fetched the image of the mother of the gods from Pessinus, we must understand that the wor-



ship then introduced was quite foreign to them, and either maintained itself as distinct from the wor­ship,of Ops, or became united with it. A temple was built to her on the Palatine, and the Roman matrons honoured her with the festival of the Me-galesia. The manner in which she was represented in works of art was the same as in Greece, and her castrated'priests were called Galli.

The various names by which we find Rhea de­ signated, are, " the great mother," " the mother of the gods," Cybele, Cybebe, Agdistis, Berecyntia, Brimo, Dindymene, " the great Idaean mother of the gods." Her children by Cronos are enumerated by Hesiod: under the name of Cybele she is also called the mother of Alee, of the Phrygian king Midas, and of Nicaea (Diod. iii. 57 ; Phot. Cod. 224). In all European countries Rhea was con­ ceived to be accompanied by the Curetes, who are inseparably connected with the birth and bringing up of Zeus in Crete, and in Phrygia by the Cory- bantes, Atys, and Agdistis. The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances in the forests and on the mountains of Phrygia. The lion was sacred to the mother of the gods, because she was the divinity of the earth, and because the lion is the strongest and most im­ portant of all animals on earth, in addition to which it was believed that the countries in which the goddess was worshipped, abounded in lions (comp. Ov. Met. x. 682). In Greece the oak was eacred to Rhea (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 1124). The highest ideal of Rhea in works of art was pro­ duced by Pheidias; she was seldom represented in a standing posture, but generally seated on a throne, adorned with the mural crown, from which a veil hangs down. Lions usually appear crouching on the right and left of her throne, and sometimes she is seen riding in a chariot drawn by lions. (Comp. curetes ; zeus ; cronos.) [L. S.J

RHEA SFLVIA. [romulus.]

RHEGINUS. [reginus.]

RHEGINUS, physician. [proclus.]

RHEGIO, which Sillig inserts in his catalogue as the name of a gem-engraver, is merely a false reading for TNAIOT. (R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, p. 152, 2d ed.) [P. S-]

RHEMNIUS, FA'NNIUS. [priscianus, p. 525 a.l

RHEOMITHRES ('Peo/ufl/wjs), a Persian who joined in the general revolt of the western pro­ vinces from Artaxerxes Mnemon, in b. c. 362, and was employed by his confederates to go to Tachos, king of Egypt, for aid. Having returned to Asia, with 500 talents and 50 ships of war, he sent for a number of the rebel chiefs to receive the subsidy, and, on their arrival, he arrested them, and de­ spatched them in chains to Artaxerxes, thus making his own peace at court. It was perhaps the same Rheomithres, whom we find in command of a body of 2000 cavalry, for Dareius III., at the battle of the Granicus, in b. c. 334, and who fell in the next year at the battle of Issus. (Xen. Cyrop. viii. 8 ; Diod. xv. 92, xvii. 19, 34 ; Arr. Anab. i. 12, ii. 11 ; Curt. iii. 8 ; comp. Wess. ad Diod. xvii. 1.9 ; Freinsh. ad Curt. I. c.) [E. E.]

RHESCUPORIS ('Pr)o-KozJ7ropis)> the name of several kings of Bosporus under the Roman empire, who are known to us almost exclusively from coins. The first king of this name may have been of Thracian origin, for the name is undoubtedly

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