Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Owen Ewald

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Rod Stiling


Roman reception, Eastern cult, Magna Mater cult, Cybele, galli, 'western civilization', Orientalism, gender, classical xenophobia, cultural appropriation, white supremacy, classics, Attis


This paper argues for a more critical approach to classics, pushing for the de-sanctification of classical antiquity and deconstruction of ‘western civilization’ as a tool able to be co-opted by white supremacist agendas. In the latter part of the paper, I demonstrate what I hope this will look like through analysis of Roman reception of the Mother of the Gods cult, known in Rome as the cult of Cybele or Magna Mater, or the Phrygian cult, and how Roman reactions to the cult reveal xenophobic sentiments and toxic masculinity within the social fabric. Throughout this work, I engage with questions of identity, differentiation, and cultural exchange.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.