Ludi Megalenses 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)/MM Certamen

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Salvete omnes!

Welcome to the Magna Mater Certamen Historicum. If you did not get a chance to answer the Day 1 Questions, you may still enter the contest.

There are 3 sets of 10 questions each. All answers must be recieved no later than Midnight Rome time on April the 7th. First, Second and Third place will be presented with a Ludi Cultural Award Medal with neck ribbon.

All answers to the Certamen will be announced on April 10th with the Final Results, so send in your answers today!

Send your answers to:


Day 1 Questions

1. When Cybele was worshipped in Phrygia, she was depicted as a seated woman, flanked by what?

Cybele in Phrygia, as a seated woman flanked by two leopards

2. As a small child, the Magna Mater was put out into the wilderness to die, but instead of killing her, who nurtured her and helped her grow up into an intelligent, beautiful and headstrong woman?

Panthers and lions

3. What type of musical instruments did the Magna Mater invent?

She invented pipes and drums, and also magickal medicines which she used to heal sick children and creatures on the Phrygian countryside.

4. Who did Cybele fall in love with and what happened to both of them?

She fell in love with prince Attis, but their love-story was tragic; The intense love of the divine Cybele was too much for the mortal prince, and he went mad, castrated himself and died. Cybele, driven mad by grief, roamed around to sound of pipes and drums seeking her lost love.

5. Who led the cult of the Magna Mater?

The cult was led by the female priestesses and the Archigalli, the high priest of the subordinate Galli; castrated male priests who were responsible for most of the dance, divination and healing of the cult.

6. What were the names of the two major fraternities that most of the worshippers of the Magna Mater organized into?

Many of the worshipers were organised into fraternities, most notably the Dendrophori ("Tree-bearers") and Cannophori ("Reed-bearers").

7. What language was the liturgy of the cult of the Magna Mater in?

Members of these fraternities enjoyed a bit of social status and influence, and many important people flocked to them. The liturgy of the cult was in Greek.

8. What geographic features were sacred to the Magna Mater, and where her temples were often built near?

Mountains and caves were sacred to Magna Mater, and her temples were often built near them.

9. What sacred structure is built on top of the original temple of the Magna Mater?

St. Peters Cathedral in the Vatican is built right on top of the old temple of Magna Mater

10. What names were used by the Arabians for the Magna Mater?

Kubaba and Kuba

Day 2 Questions

11. What did the major festival to the Magna Mater on March 25th represent?

It was celebrated to commemorate the castration and death of Attis.

12. What were the ceremonial events that the Cannophori carried out on the March 25th Festival?

The Cannophori carried reeds and stalks to the temple together with the idol of Attis. The taurobolium was performed, and the genitals of the bull was thrown into a cave or well consecrated to Magna Mater. After three days of sorrow and grief for Attis, the carnival returned with Hilaria, the Day of Joy as Attis was resurrected and fertility yet again reigned thanks to the power of Magna Mater.

13. How was each temple to the Magna Mater organized in relation to the other temples?

Each temple was independent of each other, although some temples had more influence than others.

14. What were the four (4) priestly ranks in the MM Temple, from highest to lowest status?

In each temple the High Priestess had the greatest status, followed by the Archigalli. Below in status was the ordinary priestesses and lowest the galli.

15. How were new initiates of the cult inducted into the priesthood?

After showing true devotion to Magna Mater a member of the cult could apply to become part of the priesthood. This was often planned from the birth for the children of the priestesses. The initiate was baptised in the taurobolium, and males castrated themselves in front of the idol of the goddess and threw their genitals into the sacred cave. After that the initiates were left in the temple during the night. In many cases they saw visions sent by the Goddess, affirming their initiation. Initiates not deemed worthy by the goddess were sometimes found slain in the morning.

16. What was the name used by the Greeks to represent the Magna Mater?

Gaia, Ga or Ge

17. What was the name used by the Babylonians to represent the Magna Mater?


18. What was the name used by the Sumerians to represent the Magna Mater?


19. What types of offerings were especially reserved for the Magna Mater?

Flowers and seeds, corn, cheese, parts of the hunted animal

20. When and why was it decided that the Magna Mater had to come to Rome?

In the year 204 BC, the Punic War resulted in disstrous consequences for both the Roman army ,and the safety and security of Rome herself. Hannibal was plundering the Roman countryside. Many people were losing hope; their religious faiths were waning. In a search for solutions to these bleak circumstances, the Oracles of the Sibylline Books were consulted. They revealed that Hannibal could be defeated only if the Idaean Mother of the Gods were brought from Pessinus, Frigia to Rome. Apollo's Oracle of Delphi was consulted also, and this advice was no different from that of the Sibylline consultation: Magna Mater had to arrive in Rome.

Day 3 Questions

21. Who headed the delegation sent to negotiate the transport of the Goddess to Rome, where did they go, who did they see, and why did they go?

An embassy consisting of five Roman Senators, with M. Valerius Laevinus as head of the delegation, was sent to Pessinus, the ruler of which was Attalus, King of Perganum, and an ally of Rome.

22. Besides Rome, what countries were the MM temples primarily located in?

They were located mainly in Phrygia, Greece and Italy.

23. What was the name used by the Egyptians to represent the Magna Mater?


24. What was the name used by the Latins to represent the Magna Mater?

Terra Mater

25. What was the name used by the Akkadians to represent the Magna Mater?


26. When was the Magna Mater born?

She was not born, but has existed since the beginning of time.

27. Who dedicated the first temple to the Magna Mater in Rome, and where was it dedicated?

The praetor M. Junius Brutus IV dedicated for the first time the Temple of Magna Mater on the Palatine Hill.

28. When was the first temple to the Magna Mater in Rome dedicated?

10th ot 11th April of 191 BCE

29. Who started the construction on the first temple to house the black stone of the Magna Mater on the Palatine Hill?

Censors M. Livius Salinator and C. Claudius Nero suddenly started the construction of a worthy edifice on the Palatine Hill to house the black stone.

30. How long did the construction on the temple take?

It took 13 years to build this temple.

Final Results

1st Place: Marcus Martianius Lupus ~ 37 Points

2nd Place: Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana ~ 33 Points

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