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  • Author or Editor: Giulia Pedrucci x
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Starting from some reflections on how Hera played the role of mother in mythological tales, we move to take into consideration the special case of the goddess suckling Heracles (sometimes as an adult). Notoriously, the Greeks attributed specific properties to breast-milk, such as transmitting genetic traits and creating bonds of kinship; therefore it does not seem unlikely to think that the episode in question alludes to the (symbolic) adoption by Hera of the illegitimate son of her husband, in order to let him access the divine family. Adoption in the ancient world, in fact, often involved adolescents and adults, with the primary goal being the provision of a legitimate heir to a citizen.

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This chapter aims to reconsider an inscription from Consilinum (3rd century CE), in which we find the problematic mention of a mundus Attinis. This inscription has been almost neglected by scholars: it has been analyzed in a systematic way only in an article in Latin language back in 1978. It is not easy to explain what mundus exactly represented to the ancient Romans, but we can assert for sure that it was a holy place in connection with the worship of the gods of the underworld. The connection between Cybele, Attis, and the underworld is well known, but this is the only mention we have of a mundus Attinis i.e. Attidis. It might be connected to the (mystic?) rites in honor of the dead Attis, symbolized by a pine, who, during the Hilaria, was carried in an underground chamber for lamentations, before his new life. In my opinion, we might also think of the mundus as a sort of reversed womb, related to the figure of the Magna Mater, in which birth and death come together and overlap.

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