гуляевValeri I. Gulyaev
Institute of Archaeology RAS, Moscow, Russia (viguliaev@yandex.ru)

Keywords: the goddess Cybele, Argimpasa, Scythia, panther, pendant earrings, barrow, gold.

The paper tells of the imagery of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, Mistress of animals, in Scythian jewellery of the 4th century BC. Cybele’s counterpart in the Scythian pantheon was Argimpasa, mistress of the plant and animal realm. As early as the 7th century BC in the course of Scythian campaigns in West Asia the Scythian elite had already learned of the cult of Cybele from the Greeks of Asia Minor. That, however, was an isolated instance. The situation changed with the advent of Hellenic colonists into the North Pontic region. In the 6th century BC Cybele was worshipped at Olbia; by the 5th century BC her cult reached the Bosporus. The Bosporan ruling dynasties maintained close political, economic and cultural ties with the Scythian kings and their entourage, and elite Scythian barrows of the 4th century have yielded images of the goddess, Mistress of animals, of both local and Greek workmanship. The article also puts forward the hypothesis that in the Scythian milieu zoomorphic representation of Cybele in the form of panthers, her favorite animals, will have existed alongside with her anthropomorphic images.