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Title: Epicurean Image Making, Idolatry and Iconoclasm in the Age of Lucretius
Subtitle: The Anti-Example of Cybele (diuinae Martis imago, DRN 2.609)
Author(s): GARANI, Myrto
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 77    Issue: 1   Date: 2018   
Pages: 130-146
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.77.1.3284725

Abstract :
In the digression (DRN 2.600-660) he devotes to Cybele, the Phrygian goddess that symbolizes the earth, Lucretius discusses the notion of true piety (2.608-643), and in particular the expression diuinae Matris imago (2.609). Since this use of the word imago is incompatible with its technical, i.e. philosophical, meaning in the rest of DRN, I claim that, without being an iconoclast altogether, Lucretius invites us to reconsider the process that leads from the automatic production of the dream images of gods to the human fabrication of the gods’ statues – in the case at hand, the image of Cybele that was taken around Rome during the festival of Megalensia. Along these lines, the reader is called upon to distance himself from Cybele’s worshippers and redefine the established, albeit wrong, notion of the gods that is reflected in the imago of the Goddess; it is only in this way that he will be able to restore the archetypal and true concept of the gods.

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