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Idaea (Ἰδαία) is the name of two nymphs in Greek mythology. Their cults are related with Mount Ida in Crete, and Mount Ida in ancient Troad.


The name is related with Mount Ida. In Iliad (Iliad, 2.821), Ἵδη (Ida) means wooded hill, and reminds the mountain worship in the Minoan mother goddess religion. [5] Three inscriptions in Linear A, which represents the Minoan language , bear just the name i-da-ma-te (AR Zf 1 and 2, and KY Za 2). The inscriptions may refer to the mother goddess of Ida ( Ἰδαία μάτηρ) [6] [7], however Linear A has not yet been deciphered.


The Idaean cave (Ἰδαίον ἅντρον), or cave of Zeus, was a cave in the slopes of Mount Ida in Crete. It was the cave where the titan Rhea hid the infant Zeus, to protect him from his father Cronus who intended to swallow him like others of his progeny.[8] The Kouretes, undertook to dance their wild, noisy war dances in front of the cave, so that the clamour would keep Cronus from hearing the infant's crying.

Idaea was also an epithet of Cybele. Walter Burkert places Cybele among the "foreign gods" of Greek religion, a complex figure combining the Minoan-Mycenaean tradition with the Phrygian cult imported directly from Asia Minor. [9] Romans knew Cybele as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"), or as Magna Mater deorum Idaea ("great Idaean mother of the gods"), equivalent to the Greek title Meter Theon Idaea ("Mother of the Gods, from Mount Ida"). [10]


  1. ^ F.Schachermeyer(1964) Die Minoische Kultur des alten Kretap. 266 .W.Kohlhammer Vorlag Stuttgart
  2. ^ Quoted by Jane Ellen Harrison, "The Kouretes and Zeus Kouros: A Study in Pre-Historic Sociology", The Annual of the British School at Athens 15 (1908/1909:308-338) p. 309
  3. ^ Pseudo Apollodorus Bibliotheca 3.139
  4. ^ Diodor Sicilus .Library of history 4.75.1
  5. ^ Nagy, Gregory (1963). "Greek-Like Elements in Linear A". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Harvard University Press (4): 200.  p.200
  6. ^ F.Schachermeyer(1964) Die Minoische Kultur des alten Kretap. 266 .W.Kohlhammer Vorlag Stuttgart
  7. ^ Richard Valance [1]
  8. ^ William Smith, ed. (c. 1873). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. John Murray. 
  9. ^ Burkert, Greek Religion, 1985, section III.3,4 p. 177.
  10. ^ Beard, p.168, following Livy 29, 10 - 14 for Pessinos (ancient Galatia) as the shrine from which she was brought. Varro's Lingua Latina, 6.15 has Pergamum. Ovid Fasti 4.180-372 has it brought directly from Mt Ida. For discussion of problems attendant on such precise claims of origin, see Tacaks, in Lane, pp. 370 - 373.