Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
The Phrygian cult of the Mother Goddess in Anatolia is well-known, with early, extensive interaction and exchange between Phrygians and Greek populations likely occurring in the Sea of Marmara region and along the western Black Sea coast. Subsequent adoption and adaptation of the cult occurred throughout the northwestern and western coasts, processes and practices which ultimately spread to the nearby Aegean islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios. In this talk I examine the preliminary findings from the most recent excavations at the ancient city of Assos, and work to understand the evidence both within its local Aeolian context and a larger western Anatolian framework. In investigating the nature of the cult at Assos, as well as its position within the network of Kybele cult sites in the region, I consider how the purposes and meanings of the Mother Goddess may have differed between the northwest and Ionia, in addition to looking at areas of possible syncretism, such as the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Zeytintepe, Miletos.