Great Lakes Of North America, The
GREAT LAKES OF NORTH AMERICA, THE. The connected string of five fresh-water inland seas, Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, lying in the interior of North America, between the Dominion of Canada on the north and the United States of America on the south, and forming the head-waters of the St Lawrence river system, are collectively and generally known as " The Great Lakes." From the head of lake Superior these lakes are navigable to Buffalo, at the foot of lake Erie, a distance of 1023 m., for vessels having a draught of 20 ft.; from Buffalo to Kingston, 191 m. farther, the draught is limited, by the depth in the Welland canal, to 14 ft.; lake Superior, the largest and.most westerly of the lakes, empties, through the river St Mary, 55 m. long, into lake Huron. From Point Iroquois, which may be considered the foot of the lake, to Sault Ste Marie, St Mary's Falls, St Mary's Rapids or the Soo, as it is variously called, a distance of 14 m., there is a single channel, which has been dredged by the United States government, at points which required deepening, to give a minimum width of 800 ft. and a depth of 23 ft. at mean stage water. Below the Sault, the river, on its course to lake Huron, expands into several lakes, and is divided by islands into numerous contracted passages. There are two navigated channels; the older one, following the international boundary-line by way of lake George, 195 ft., the height varying as the lakes change in level. The enormous growth of inter-lake freight traffic has justified the construction of three separate locks, each overcoming the rapids by a single lift two side by side on the United States and one on the Canadian side of the river. These locks, the largest in the world, are all open to Canadian and United States vessels alike, and are operated free from all taxes or tolls on shipping. The Canadian ship canal, opened to traffic on the gth of September 1895, was constructed through St Mary Island, on the north side of the rapids, by the Canadian government, at a cost of $3,684,227, to facilitate traffic and to secure to Canadian vessels an entrance to lake Superior without entering United States territory. The canal is 5967 ft. long between the extremities of the entrance piers, has one lock 900 ft. long and 60 ft. wide, with a depth on the sills at the lowest known waterlevel of 203 ft. The approaches to the canal are dredged to 1 8 ft. deep, and are well buoyed and lighted. On the United States side of the river the length of the canal is if m., the channel outside the locks having a width varying from 108 to 600 ft. and depth of 25 ft. The locks of 1855 were closed in 1886, to give place to the Poe lock. The Weitzel lock, opened to navigation on the 1st of September 1881, was built south of the old locks, the approach being through the old canal. Its chamber is 515 ft. long between lock gates, and 80 ft. wide, narrowing to 60 ft. at the gates. The length of the masonry walls is 71 7 ft., height 395 ft., with 17 ft. over mitre sills at mean stage of water. The Poe lock, built because the Weitzel lock, large and fully equipped as it is, was insufficient for the rapidly growing traffic, was opened on the 3rd of August 1896. Its length between gates is 800 ft.; width 100 ft.; length of masonry walls noo ft.; height 435 to 45 ft., with 22 ft. on the mitre sill at mean stage.
The expenditure by the United States government on the canal, with its several locks, and on improving the channel through the river, aggregated fourteen million dollars up to the end of 1906.' Plans were prepared in 1907 for a third United States lock with a separate canal approach.
The canals are closed every winter, the average date of opening up to 1893 being the 1st of May, and of closing the 1st of December. The pressure of business since that time, aided possibly by some slight climatic modification, has extended the season, so that the average date of opening is now ten days earlier and of closing twelve days later. The earliest opening was in 1902 on the 1st of April, and the latest closing in 1904 on the 20th of December.
The table below gives the average yearly commerce for periods of five years, and serves to show the rapid increase in freight growth.
Around the canals have grown up two thriving towns, one on the Michigan, the other on the Ontario side of the river, with manufactories driven by water-power derived from the Sault.
Statement of the commerce through the several Sault Ste Marie canals, averaged for every five years. 2 Years.
Coal. Net Tons.
Other Grains. Bushels.
General Merchandise. Net Tons.
Iron Ore. Net Tons.
Lumber. M.ft. B.M.
Total Freight. Net Tons.
1855-I859 3 1880-1884 1885-1889 1890-1894 1895-1899 1900-1904 1906 alone 387 4457 7,908 11,965 18,352 19-374 22,155 192,207 2,267,166 4,901,105 9,912,589 18,451,447 26,199,795 41,098,324 6,206 34, 6 07 29,434 24,609 40,289 54,093 63,033 4,672 463,431 1,398,441 2,678,805 3,270,842 5,457,019 8,739,630 19,555 681,726 1,838,325 5,764,766 8,319,699 7,021,839 6,495,35 None. 5,435,601 18,438,085 34,875-971 57,227,269 56,269,265 84,271,358 34-612 936,346 1,213,815 1,738,706 23,349-134 26,760,533 54,343,155 2,249 81,966 74,447 87,540 164,426 646,277 1,134,851 1,248 107,225 175,725 231-178 282,156 407,263 468,162 27,206 867,999 2,497,403 4-939,909 10,728,075 20,020,487 35-357-042 79,144 197,605 510,482 832,968 999,944 900,631 55,797 2,184,731 5,441,297 10,627,349 19,354.974 31,245.565 51,751,080 has a width of 150 to 300 ft., and a depth of 17 ft.; it is buoyed but not lighted, and is not capable of navigation by modern large freighters; the other, some 12 m. shorter, an artificial channel dredged by the United States government in their own territory, has a minimum width of 300 ft. and depth of 20 ft. It is elaborately lighted throughout its length. A third channel, west of all the islands, was designed for steamers bound down, the older channel being reserved for upbound boats.
Between lake Superior and lake Huron there is a fall of 20 ft. of which the Sault, in a distance of % m., absorbs from 18 to The outlet of lake Michigan, the only lake of the series lying wholly in United States territory, is at the Strait of Mackinac, near the point where the river St Mary reaches lake Huron. With lake Michigan are connected the Chicago Sanitary and Ship canal, the Illinois and Michigan, and the Illinois and Mississippi canals, for which see ILLINOIS. With lake Huron is always 1 Statistical report of lake commerce passing through canals. Col. Chas. E. L. B. Davis, U.S.A., engineer in charge, 1907.
1 Statistical report of lake commerce passing through canals, published annually by the U.S. engineer officer in charge.
3 The first five years of operation.
4-oo included Georgian Bay as well as the channel north of Manitoulin Island. As it is principally navigated as a connecting waterway between lakes Superior and Michigan and lake Erie it has no notable harbours on it. It empties into lake Erie through the river St Clair, lake St Clair and the river Detroit. On these connecting waters are-several important manufacturing and shipping towns, and through this chain passes nearly all the traffic of the lakes, both that to and from lake Michigan ports, and also that of lake Superior. The tonnage of a single short season of navigation exceeds in the aggregate 60,000,000 tons. Extensive dredging and embankment works have been carried on by the United States government in lake St Clair and the river Detroit, and a 2o-ft. channel now exists, which is being constantly improved. Lake St Clair is nearly circular, 25 m. in diameter, with the northeast quadrant filled by the delta of the river St Clair. It has a very flat bottom with a general depth of only 21 ft., shoaling very gradually, usually to reed beds that line the low swampy shores. To enter the lake from river St Clair two channels have been provided, with retaining walls of cribwork, one for upward, the other for downward bound vessels. Much dredging has also been necessary at the outlet of the lake into river Detroit. A critical point in that river is at Limekiln crossing, a cut dredged through limestone rock above the Canadian town of Amherstburg. The normal depth here before improvement was 125-15 ft.; by a project of 1902 a channel 600 ft. wide and 2 1 ft. deep was planned; there are separate channels for up- and down-bound vessels. To prevent vessels from crowding together in the cut, the Canadian government maintains a patrol service here, while the United States government maintains a similar patrol in the St Mary channel.
The Grand Trunk railway opened in 1891 a single track tunnel under the river St Clair, from Sarnia to Port Huron. It is 6026 ft. long, a cylinder 20 ft. in diameter, lined with cast iron in flanged sections. A second tunnel was undertaken between Detroit and Windsor, under the river Detroit.
From Buffalo, at the foot of lake Erie, the river Niagara runs northwards 36 m. into lake Ontario. To overcome the difference of 327 ft. in level between lakes Erie and Ontario, the Welland canal, accommodating vessels of 255 ft. in length, with a draught of 14 ft., was built, and is maintained by Canada. The Murray canal extends from Presqu'ile Bay, on the north shore of lake Ontario, a distance of 65 m., to the headquarters of the Bay of Quinte. Trent canal is a term applied to a series of water stretches in the interior of Ontario which are ultimately designed to connect lake Huron and lake Ontario. At Peterboro a hydraulic balance-lock with a lift of 65 ft., 140 ft. in length and 33 ft. clear in width, allowing a draught of 8 ft., has been constructed. The ordinary locks are 134 by 33 ft. with a draught of 6 ft. When the whole route of 200 m. is completed, there will not be more than 15 m. of actual canal, the remaining portion of the waterway being through lakes and rivers. For the Erie canal, between that lake and the Hudson river, see ERIE and NEW YORK.
The population of the states and provinces bordering on the Great Lakes is estimated to be over 3 5,000,000. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, south of lake Erie, there are large coal-fields. Surrounding lake Michigan and west of lake Superior are vast grain-growing plains, and the prairies of the Canadian northwest are rapidly increasing the area and quantity of wheat grown; while both north and south of lake Superior are the most extensive iron mines in the world, from which 35 million tons of ore were shipped in 1906. The natural highway for the shipment of all these products is the Great Lakes, and over them coal is distributed westwards and grain and iron ore are concentrated eastwards. The great quantity of coarse freights, that could only be profitably carried long distances by water, has revolutionized the type of vessel used for its transportation, making large steamers imperative, consolidating interests and cheapening methods. It is usual for the vessels in the grain trade and in the iron-ore trade to make their up trips empty; but in consequence of the admirable facilities provided at terminal points, they make very fast time, and carry freight very cheaply. The cost of freight per ton-mile fell from 23/100 cent in 1887 to 8/100 cent in 1898; since then the rate has slightly risen, but keeps well below i/io cent per ton-mile.
The traffic on the lakes may be divided into three classes, passenger, package freight and bulk freight. Of passenger boats the largest are 380 ft. long by 44 ft. beam, having a speed of over 20 m. an hour, making the round trip between Buffalo and Chicago 1800 m., or Buffalo and Duluth 2000 m., every week. They carry no freight. The Canadian Pacific railway runs a line of fine Tyne-built passenger and freight steamers between Owen Sound and Fort William, and these two lines equal in accommodation transatlantic passenger steamers. On lake Michigan many fine passenger boats run out of Chicago, and on lake Ontario there are several large and fast Canadian steamers on routes radiating from Toronto. The package freight business, that is, the transportation of goods in enclosed parcels, is principally local; all the through business of this description is controlled by lines run by the great trunk railways, and is done in boats limited in beam to 50 ft. to admit them through bridges over the rivers at Chicago and Buffalo. By far the greatest number of vessels on the lakes are bulk freighters, and the conditions of the service have developed a special type of vessel. Originally sailing vessels were largely used, but these have practically disappeared, giving place to steamers, which have grown steadily in size with every increase in available draught. In 1.894 there was no vessel on the lakes with a capacity of over 5000 tons; in 1906 there were 254 vessels of a greater capacity, 12 of them carrying over 12,000 tons each. For a few years following 1890 many large barges were built, carrying up to 8000 tons each, intended to be towed by a steamer. It was found, however, that the time lost by one boat of the pair having to wait for the other made the plan unprofitable and no more were built. Following 1888 some 40 whaleback steamers and barges, having oval cross-sections without frames or decks, were built, but experience failed to demonstrate any advantage in the type, and their construction has ceased. The modern bulk freighter is a vessel 600 ft. long, 58 ft. beam, capable of carrying 14,000 tons on 20 ft. draught, built with a midship section practically. rectangular, the coefficient frequently as high as -08, with about two-thirds of the entire length absolutely straight, giving a block coefficient up to -87. The triple-expansion machinery and boilers, designed to drive the boat at a speed of 12 m. an hour, are in the extreme stern, and the pilot house and quarters in the extreme bow, leaving all the cargo space together. Hatches are spaced at multiples of 12 ft. throughout the length and are made as wide as possible athwartships to facilitate loading and unloading. The vessels are built on girder frames and fitted with double bottoms for strength and water ballast. This type of vessel can be loaded in a few minutes, and unloaded by self-filling grab buckets up to ten tons capacity, worked hydraulically, in six or eight hours. The bulk freight generally follows certain well-defined routes; iron ore is shipped east from ports on both sides of lake Superior and on the west side of lake Michigan to rail shipping points on the south shore of lake Erie. Wheat and other grains from Duluth find their way to Buffalo, as do wheat, corn (maize) and other grains from Chicago. Wheat from the Canadian north-west is distributed from Fort William and Port Arthur to railway terminals on Georgian Bay, to Buffalo, and to Port Colborne for trans-shipment to canal barges for Montreal, and coal is distributed from lake Erie to all western points. The large shipping trade is assisted by both governments by a system of aids to navigation that mark every channel and danger. There are also life-saving stations at all dangerous points.
The Great Lakes never freeze over completely, but the harbours and often the connecting rivers are closed by ice. The navigable season at the Sault is about 75 months; in lake Erie it is somewhat longer. The season of navigation has been slightly lengthened since 1905, by using powerful tugs as ice-breakers in the spring and autumn, the Canadian government undertaking the service at Canadian terminal ports, chiefly at Fort William and Port Arthur, the most northerly ports, where the season is naturally shortest, and the Lake Carriers' Association, a federation of the freighting steamship owners, acting in the river St Mary. Car ferries run through the winter across lake Michigan and the Strait of Mackinac, across the rivers St Clair and Detroit, and across the middle of lakes Erie and Ontario. The largest of these steamers is 350 ft. long by 56 ft. wide, draught 14 ft., horse power 3500, speed 13 knots. She carries on four tracks 30 freight cars, with i35otonsof freight. Certain passenger steamers run on lake Michigan, from Chicago north, all the winter.
The level of the lakes varies gradually, and is affected by the general character of the season, and not by individual rainfalls. The variations of level of the several lakes do not necessarily synchronize. There is an annual fluctuation of about i ft. in the upper lakes, and in some seasons over 2 ft. in the lower lakes; the lowest point being at the end of winter and the highest in midsummer. In lake Michigan the level has ranged from a maximum in the years 1859, 1876 and 1886, to a minimum nearly 5 ft. lower in 1896. In lake Ontario there is a range of Si ft. between the maximum of May 1870 and the minimum of November 1895. In consequence of the shallowness of lake Erie, its level is seriously disturbed by a persistent storm; a westerly gale lowers the water at its upper end exceptionally as much as 7 ft., seriously interfering with the navigation of the .river Detroit, while an easterly gale produces a similar'effect at Buffalo. (For physiographical details see articles on the several lakes, and UNITED STATES.)
There is geological evidence to show that the whole basin of the lakes has in recent geological times gradually changed in level, rising to the north and subsiding southwards; and it is claimed that the movement is still in gradual progress, the rate assigned being -42 ft. per 100 m. per century. The maintenance of the level of the Great Lakes is a matter of great importance to the large freight boats, which always load to the limit of depth at critical points in the dredged channels or in the harbours. Fears have been entertained that the water power canals at Sault Ste Marie, the drainage canal at Chicago and the dredged channel in the river Detroit will permanently lower the levels respectively of lake Superior and of the Michigan-Huron-Erie group. An international deep-waterway commission exists for the consideration of this question, and army engineers appointed by the United States government have worked on the problem. 1 Wing dams in the rivers St Mary and Niagara, to retard the discharges, have been proposed as remedial measures. The Great Lakes are practically tideless, though some observers claim to find true tidal pulsations, said to amount to 3! in. at spring tide at Chicago. Secondary undulations of a few minutes in period, ranging from i to 4 in., are well marked.
The Great Lakes are well stocked with fish of commercial value. These are largely gathered from the fishermen by steam tenders, and taken fresh or in frozen condition to railway distributing points. In lakes Superior and Huron salmon-trout (Salvelinus namaycush, Walb) are commercially most important. They ordinarily range from 10 to 50 Ib in weight, and are often larger. In Georgian Bay the catches of whitefish (Coregonus dupeiformis, Mitchill) are enormous. In lake Erie whitefish, lesser whitefish, erroneously called lake-herring (C. arledi, Le Sueur), and sturgeon (Acipenser rubicundus, Le Sueur) are the most common. There is good angling at numerous points on the lakes and their feeders. The river Nipigon, on the north shore of lake Superior, is famous as a stream abounding in speckled trout (Salvelinus fonlinalis, Mitchill) of unusual size. Black bass (Micropterus) are found from Georgian Bay to Montreal, and the maskinonge (Esox nobilior, Le Sueur), plentiful in the same waters, is a very game fish that often attains a weight of 70 Ib.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. E. Channing and M. F. Lansing, Story of the Great Lakes (New York, 1909), for an account of the lakes in history; and for shipping, etc., J. O. Curwood, The Great Lakes (New York, 1909); U.S. Hydrographic office publication, No 108, "Sailing directions for the Great Lakes," Navy Department (Washington, 1901, seqq.); Bulletin No. 17, "Survey of Northern and Northwcstern Lakes," Corps of Engineers, U.S. War Department, U.S.
1 Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, in Report of War Department, U.S. 1898, p. 3776.
Lake Survey Office (Detroit, Mich, 1907)- Annual reports of Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries (Ottawa, 1868 seqq.).
(w..p. Ay GREAT MOTHER OF THE GODS, the ancient Oriental- GreekRoman deity commonly known as Cybele (q.v.) in Greek and Latin literature from the time of Pindar. She was also known under many other names, some of which were derived from famous places of worship: as Dindymene from Mt. Dindymon, Mater Idaea from Mt. Ida, Sipylene from Mt. Sipylus, Agdistis from Mt. Agdistis or Agdus, Mater Phrygia from the greatest stronghold of her cult; while others were reflections of her character as a great nature goddess: e.g. Mountain Mother, Great Mother of the Gods, Mother of all Gods and all Men. As the great Mother deity whose worship extended throughout Asia Minor she was known as Ma or Ammas. Cybele is her favourite name in ancient and modern literature, while Great Mother of the Gods, or Great Idaean Mother of the Gods (Mater Deum Magna, Mater Deum Magna Idaea), the most frequently recurring epigraphical title, was her ordinary official designation.
The legends agree in locating the rise of the worship of the Great Mother in Asia Minor, in the region of loosely defined geographical limits which comprised the Phrygian empire of prehistoric times, and was more extensive than the Roman province of Phrygia (Diod. Sic. iii. 58; Paus. vii. 17; Arnob. v. 5; Firm. Mat. De error., 3; Ovid, Fasti, iv. 223 ff.; Sallust. Phil. De diis et mundo, 4; Jul. Or. v. 165 ff.). Her best-known early seats of worship were Mt. Ida, Mt. Sipylus, Cyzicus, Sardis and Pessinus, the last-named city, in Galatia near the borders of Roman Phrygia, finally becoming the strongest centre of the cult. She was known to the Romans and Greeks as essentially Phrygian, and all Phrygia was spoken of as sacred to her (Schol. Apollon. Rhod. Argonaulica, i. 1126). It is probable, however, that the Phrygian race, which invaded Asia Minor from the north in the 9th century B.C., found a great nature goddess already universally worshipped there, and blended her .with a deity of their own. The Asiatic-Phrygian worship thus evolved was further modified by contact with the Syrians and Phoenicians, so that it acquired strong Semitic characteristics. The Great Mother known to the Greeks and Romans was thus merely the Phrygian form of the nature deity of all Asia Minor.
From Asia Minor the cult of the Great Mother spread first to Greek territory. It found its way into Thrace at an early date, was known in Boeotia by Pindar in the 6th century, and entered Attica near the beginning of the 4th century (Grant Showerman, The Great Mother of the Gods, Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin, No. 43, Madison, 1901). At Peiraeus, where it probably arrived by way of the Aegean islands, it existed privately in a fully developed state, that is, accompanied by the worship of Attis, at the beginning of the 4th century, and publicly two centuries later (D. Comparetti, Annales, 1862, pp. 23 ff.). The Greeks from the first saw in the Great Mother a resemblance to their own Rhea, and finally identified the two completely, though the Asiatic peculiarities of the cult were never universally popular with them (Showerman, p. 294). In her less Asiatic aspect, i.e. without Attis, she was sometimes identified with Gaia and Demeter. It was in this phase that she was worshipped in the Metroon at Athens. In reality, the Mother Goddess appears under three aspects: Rhea, the Homeric and Hesiodic goddess of Cretan origin; the Phrygian Mother, with Attis; and the Greek Great Mother, a modified form of the Phrygian Mother, to be explained as the original goddess of the Phrygians of Europe, communicated to the Greek stock before the Phrygian invasion of Asia Minor and consequent mingling with Asiatic stocks (cf. Showerman, p. 252).
In 204 B.C., in obedience to the Sibyllirfe prophecy which said that whenever an enemy from abroad should make war on Italyhe could be expelled and conquered if the Idaean Mother were brought to Rome from Pessinus, the cult of the Great Mother, together with her sacred symbol, a small meteoric stone reputed to have fallen from the heavens, was transferred to Rome and established in a temple on the Palatine (Livy xxix. 10-14). Her identification by the Romans with Maia, Ops, Rhea, Tellus and Ceres contributed to the establishment of her worship on a firm footing. By the end of the Republic it had attained prominence, and under the Empire it became one of the three most important cults in the Roman world, the other two being those of Mithras and Isis. Epigraphic and numismatic evidence prove it to have penetrated from Rome as a centre to the remotest provinces (Showerman, pp. 291-293). During the brief revival of paganism under Eugenius in A.D. 394, occurred the last appearance of the cult in history. Besides the temple on the Palatine, there existed minor shrines of the Great Mother near the present church of St Peter, on the Sacra Via on the north slope of the Palatine, near the junction of the Almo and the Tiber, south of the city (ibid. 311-314).
In all her aspects, Roman, Greek and Oriental, the Great Mother was characterized by essentially the same qualities. Most prominent among them was her universal motherhood. She was the great parent of gods and men, as well as of the lower orders of creation. " The winds, the sea, the earth and the snowy seat of Olympus are hers, and when from her mountains she ascends into the great heavens, the son of Cronus himself gives way before her" (Apollon. Rhod. Argonautica, i. 1098). She was known as the All-begetter, the All-nourisher, the Mother of all the Blest. She was the great, fruitful, kindly earth itself. Especial emphasis was placed upon her maternity over wild nature. She was called the Mountain Mother; her sanctuaries were almost invariably upon mountains, and frequently in caves, the name Cybele itself being by some derived from the latter; lions were her faithful companions. Her universal power over the natural world finds beautiful expression in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, i. 1140 ff. She was also a chaste and beautiful deity. Her especial affinity with wild nature was manifested by the orgiastic character of her worship. Her attendants, the Corybantes, were wild, half demonic beings. Her priests, the Galli, were eunuchs attired in female garb, with long hair fragrant with ointment. Together with priestesses, they celebrated her rites with flutes, horns, castanets, cymbals and tambourines, madly yelling and dancing until their frenzied excitement found its culmination in self-scourging, self -laceration or exhaustion. Self-emasculation sometimes accompanied this delirium of worship on the part of candidates for the priesthood (Showerman, pp. 234-239). The Atlis of Catullus (Ixiii.) is a brilliant treatment of such an episode.
Though her cult sometimes existed by itself, in its fully developed state the worship of the Great Mother was accompanied by that of Attis (q.v.). The cult of Attis never existed independently. Like Adonis and Aphrodite, Baal and Astarte, etc. , the two formed a duality representing the relations of Mother Nature to the fruits of the earth. There is no positive evidence to prove the existence of the cult publicly in this phase in Greece before the 2nd century B.C., nor in Rome before the Empire, though it may have existed in private (Showerman, " Was Attis at Rome under the Republic ?" in Transactions of the American Philological Association, vol. 31, 1900, pp. 46-59; Cumont, s.v. "Attis," De Ruggiero's Dizionario epigrafico and PaulyWissowa's Realencyclopiidie, Supplement; Hepding, Attis, seine Mythen und seine Kult, Giessen, 1903, p. 142).
The philosophers of the late Roman Empire interpreted the Attis legend as symbolizing the relations of Mother Earth to her children the fruits. Porphyrius says that Attis signified the flowers of spring time, and was cut off in youth because the flower falls before the fruit (Augustine, De civ. Dei, vii. 25). Maternus (De error. 3) interprets the love of the Great Mother for Attis as the love of the earth for her fruits; his emasculation as the cutting of the fruits; his death as their preservation; and his resurrection as the sowing of the seed again.
At Rome the immediate direction of the cult of the Great Mother devolved upon the high priest, Archigallus, called Attis, a high priestess, Sacerdos Maxima, and its support was derived, at least in part, from a popular contribution, the slips. Besides other priests, priestesses and minor officials, such as musicians, curator, etc., there were certain colleges connected with the administration of the cult, called cannophori (reed-bearers) and dendrophori (branch-bearers). The Quindecimvirs exercised a general supervision over this cult, as over all other authorized cults, and it was, at least originally, under the special patronage of a club or sodality (Showerman, pp. 269-276). Roman citizens were at first forbidden to take part in its ceremonies, and the ban was not removed until the time of the Empire.
The main public event in the worship of the Great Mother was the annual festival, which took place originally on the 4th of April, and was followed on the 5th by the Megalesia, games instituted in her honour on the introduction of the cult. Under the Empire, from Claudius on, the Megalesia lasted six days, April 4-10, and the original one day of the religious festival became an annual cycle of festivals extending from the isth to the 27th of March, in the following order, (i) the 1sth of March, Canna intral the sacrifice of a six-year-old bull in behalf of the mountain fields, the high priest, a priestess and the cannophori officiating, the last named carrying reeds in procession in commemoration of the exposure of the infant Attis on the reedy banks of the stream Callus in Phrygia. (This may have been originally a phallic procession. Cf. Showerman, American Journal of Philol. xxvii. i; Classical Journal i. 4.) (2) The 22nd of March, Arbor inlrat the bearing in procession of the sacred pine, emblem of Attis' self-mutilation, death and immortality, to the temple on the Palatine, the symbol of the Mother's cave, by the dendrophori, a gild of workmen who made the Mother, among other deities, a patron. (3) The 24th of March, Dies sanguinis a day of mourning, fasting and abstinence, especially sexual, commemorating the sorrow of the Mother for Attis, her abstinence from food and her chastity. The frenzied dance and self-laceration of the priests in commemoration of Attis' deed, and the submission to the act of consecration by candidates for the priesthood, was a special feature of the day. The taurobolium (q.v.) was often performed on this day, on which probably took place the initiation of mystics. (4) The 25th of March, Hilaria one of the great festal days of Rome, celebrated by all the people. All mourning was put off, and good cheer reigned in token of the return of the Sun and spring, which was symbolized by the renewal of Attis' life. (5) The 26th of March, Requietio a day of rest and quiet. (6) The 27th of March, Lavatio the crowning ceremony of the cycle. The silver statue of the goddess, with the sacred meteoric stone, the Acus, set in its head, was borne in gorgeous procession and bathed in the Almo, the remainder of the day being given up to rejoicing and entertainment, especially dramatic representation of the legend of the deities of the day. Other ceremonies, not necessarily connected with the annual festival, were the taurobolium (q.v.), the sacrifice of a bull, and the criobolium (q.v.), the sacrifice of a ram, the latter being the analogue of the former, instituted for the purpose of giving Attis special recognition. The baptism of blood, which was the feature of these ceremonies, was regarded as purifying and regenerating (Showerman, Great Mother, pp. 277-284).
The Great Mother figures in the art of all periods both in Asia and Europe, but is especially prominent in the art of the Empire. No work of the first class, however, was inspired by her. She appears on coins, in painting and in all forms of sculpture, usually with mural crown and veil, well draped, seated on a throne, and accompanied by two lions. Other attributes which often appear are the patera, tympanum, cymbals, sceptre, garlands and fruits. Attis and his attributes, the pine, Phrygian cap, pedum, syrinx and torch, also appear. The Cybele of Formia, now at Copenhagen, is one of the most famous representations of the goddess. The Niobe of Mt. Sipylus is really the Mother. In literature she is the subject of frequent mention, but no work of importance, with the exception of Catullus Ixiii., is due to her inspiration. Her importance in the history of religion is very great. Together with Isis and Mithras, she was a great enemy, and yet a great aid to Christianity. The gorgeous rites of her worship, its mystic doctrine of communion with the divine through enthusiasm, its promise of regeneration through baptism of blood in the taurobolium, were features which attracted the masses of the people and made it a strong rival of Christianity; and its resemblance to the new religion, however superficial, made it, in spite of the scandalous practices which grew up around it, a stepping-stone to Christianity when the tide set in against paganism.
AUTHORITIES. Grant Showerman, " The Great Mother of the Gods," Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin, No. 43; Philology and Literature Series, vol. i. No. 3 (Madison, 1901); Hugo Hepding, Attis, seine Mythen und seine Kult (Giessen, 1903) ; Rapp, Roscher's Ausfuhrliches Lexicon der griechischen und romischen Mythologie s.v. " Kybele " ; Drexler, ibid. s.v. " Meter." See ROMAN RELIGION, GREEK RELIGION, ATTIS, CORYBANTES; for the great " Hittite " portrayal of the Nature Goddess at Pteria, see PTERIA. (G. SN.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)