chief divinity of the Roman Empire. Cybele's retinue included many priestesses, including Amazonian, transgendered female priestesses as well as transgendered males known as the Gallae.
At its peek, the Cult of Cybele was rivalled only by that of Isis, and there were temples in all provinces of the Empire. While Cybele was accepted, attitudes towards the Gallae changed over a period of time. Romans were horrified at the frenzy in which the gallae behaved, and by their self-emasculations. Initially the Gallae were confined to temple grounds, though later they were allowed to roam city streets with other followers. In the 4th century AD Valentinian II officially banned the cult of Cybele, and many of her followers perished at the hands of zealous Christians. Justinian continued the persecution of the cult and the Gallae. Under his reign, transgendered persons, and those indulging in same sex eroticism were dispossed, tortured, forced to commit suicide, or burned alive. By the start of the 6th century AD, the Cult and the ancient Gallae were extinct. Elements of the cult were transferred into Christianity in a manner similar to that of Isis.