Marble taurobolic altar, probably from Chalandri, Attica.
Taurobolic altar, made of pentelic marble. Probably from Chalandri (ancient Phlya), Attica.The altar is associated with the cult of Rhea-Cybele and Attis and more specifically with the mystery celebration of the Taurobolia. Three sides are decorated with relief representations and there is an inscription on the fourth.
One side depicts Rhea-Cybele enthroned, her right hand resting on the shoulder of Attis, who is shown leaning on a kalaurops, a staff used in cult ceremonies and for divination. The figures are flanked by pine-trees from which hang their symbols (a panpipe, a drum and castanets). On the other side is a depiction of Cybele enthroned with Demeter to her right. They are flanked by Iakhos, god of the procession of initiates into the Eleusinian Mysteries, and Kore-Persephone. The third side has a representation of two crossed torches and various symbols. Two epigrams are inscribed on the fourth side. The first states that Archelaos of Athens, torch-bearer of Persephone at Lerna and key-bearer of Hera, erected the altar to Attis and Rhea in return for his initiation into the Taurobolia Mysteries. In the second epigram, Archelaos is said to have been the first to celebrate the Taurobolia on this particular site.
Height 0,38 m., length 0,44 m., width 0,37 m.