MANTEGNA, Andrea
(b. 1431, Isolate di Cartura, d. 1506, Mantova)

Introduction of the Cult of Cybele to Rome (detail)

1505-06
Tempera on canvas
National Gallery, London

At the end of the second Punic War, a Sybilline oracle predicted that a Roman victory would be hastened if they brought the foreign goddess Cybele to Rome. So in 204 BC, the Roman Senate decided that as the most distinguished of all the Romans, the still youthful patrician Publius Cornelius Scipio (235-183 BC) should receive the goddess and give her shelter in his house until a temple had been built.

From the left of the painting the priests in their flowing robes are approaching with a bust of Cybele.




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