Season: 6, Episodes: 1, Faction: N/A
Claudia was the biological mother of Jacob and The Man in Black.
6×15 – Across the Sea
Approximately 2,000 years before the crash of Oceanic 815, Claudia was shipwrecked on the Island while pregnant. She awoke laying face down on the shore and managed to get up and walk inland.
Clutching her stomach, she came across a stream and knelt down to take a drink. She was frightened by the reflection of a person and looked up to encounter a woman. The woman, who spoke in Latin, asked if she was hurt and needed help. Claudia hesitated a moment before thanking her and took the woman’s hand. The woman took Claudia to the caves where the woman fed her and took care of her injuries. Still speaking in Latin, the woman asked her name. Claudia told her and drank from one of Mother’s cups.
When Claudia went into labor, the woman helped deliver the baby, whom Claudia named Jacob. As she was laying Jacob down, Claudia realized she was carrying twins and the second boy, the Man in Black was born.
Claudia had only expected one child, so she did not have a second name planned. When Claudia asked to see the child, the woman apologized before striking her with a rock several times, and causing her death.
Claudia appeared to the Man in Black (in the jungle, next to a stream) when he was thirteen years old, while he was playing Senet with Jacob. Jacob was unable to see her. The Man in Black excused himself and went after Claudia. She explained that Jacob could not see her because she is dead. She then showed him a village populated by passengers from the same ship she came on, informing him that he is also from across the sea. She told him that she is his real mother and was murdered by the other woman, whom the brothers called Mother. (“Across the Sea”)
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Decoded Family Members
Decoded Season 3 & 6 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
Cybele (“Mountain Mother”), was the Phrygian deification of the Earth Mother. As with Greek Gaia (the “Earth”), or her Minoan equivalent Rhea, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth, a goddess of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals (especially lions and bees). Phrygian Cybele is often identified with the Hittite-Hurrian goddess Hebat, though this latter deity might have been the origin of only Anatolian Kubaba. The Greeks frequently conflated the two names, the Anatolian “Kubaba” and the Phrygian “Kybele”, to refer to the Phrygian deity.
The goddess was known among the Greeks as Μήτηρ (Mētēr “Mother”) or Μήτηρ Ὀρεία (“Mountain-Mother”), or, with a particular Anatolian sacred mountain in mind, Idaea, inasmuch as she was supposed to have been born on Mount Ida in Anatolia, or equally Dindymene or Sipylene, with her sacred mountains Mount Dindymon (in Mysia and variously located) or Mount Sipylus in mind. In Roman mythology, her equivalent was Magna Mater or “Great Mother”. In most mythology her story is Phrygian.
Walter Burkert, who treats Cybele among “foreign gods” in Greek Religion, notes that “The cult of the Great Mother, Meter, presents a complex picture insofar as indigenous, Minoan-Mycenean tradition is here intertwined with a cult taken over directly from the Phrygian kingdom of Asia Minor” The inscription matar occurs frequently in her Phrygian sites (Burkert). Kubileya is usually read as a Phrygian adjective “of the mountain”, so that the inscription may be read Mother of the Mountain, and this is supported by Classical sources (Roller 1999, pp. 67–68). Another theory is that her name can be traced to the Luwian Kubaba, the deified queen of the Third Dynasty of Kish worshiped at Carchemish and Hellenized to Kybebe (Munn 2004, Motz 1997, pp. 105–106). With or without the etymological connection, Kubaba and Matar certainly merged in at least some aspects, as the genital mutilation later connected with Cybele’s cult is associated with Kybebe in earlier texts, but in general she seems to have been more a collection of similar tutelary goddesses associated with specific Anatolian mountains or other localities, and called simply “mother” (Motz).
Later, Cybele’s most ecstatic followers were males who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women’s clothing and assumed female identities, who were referred to by one 3rd-century commentator, Callimachus, in the feminine as Gallai, but to whom other contemporary commentators in ancient Greece and Rome referred to as Gallos or Galli.
There is no mention of these followers in Classical references although they related that her priestesses led the people in orgiastic ceremonies with wild music, drumming, dancing, and drinking. She was associated with the mystery religion concerning her son, Attis, who was castrated, died of his wounds, and resurrected by his mother. The dactyls were part of her retinue.
Other followers of Cybele, the Phrygian kurbantes or Corybantes, expressed her ecstatic and orgiastic cult in music, especially drumming, clashing of shields and spears, dancing, singing, and shouting—all at night.
According to Livy in 210 BCE, an archaic version of Cybele, from Pessinos in Phrygia, as mentioned above, that embodied the Great Mother was ceremoniously and reverently moved to Rome, marking the official beginning of her cult there. Rome was embroiled in the Second Punic War at the time (218 to 201 BCE). An inspection had been made of the Sibylline Books and some oracular verses had been discovered that announced that if a foreign foe should carry war into Italy, that foe could be driven out and conquered if the Mater Magna were brought from Pessinos to Rome. The Romans also consulted the Greek oracle at Delphi, which also recommended bringing the Magna Mater “from her sanctuary in Asia Minor to Rome.” Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica was ordered to go to the port of Ostia, accompanied by all the matrons, to meet the goddess. He was to receive her image as she left the vessel, and when brought to land he was to place her in the hands of the matrons who were to bear her to her destination, the Temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. The day on which this event took place, 12 April, was observed afterwards as a festival, the Megalesian.
Plutarch relates that in 103 BCE, Battakes, a high priest of Cybele, journeyed to Rome to announce a prediction of Gaius Marius’ victory over the Cimbri and Teutoni. A. Pompeius, plebeian tribune, together with a band of ruffians, chased Battakes off of the Rostra. Pompeius supposedly died of a fever a few days later.
Under the emperor Augustus, Cybele enjoyed great prominence thanks to her inclusion in Augustan ideology. Augustus restored Cybele’s temple, which was located next to his own palace on the Palatine Hill. On the cuirass of the Prima Porta of Augustus, the tympanon of Cybele lies at the feet of the goddess Tellus. Livia, the wife of Augustus, ordered cameo-cutters to portray Cybele with her likeness. The Malibu statue of Cybele bears the visage of Livia. The cult seems to have been fully accepted under Claudius as the festival of Magna Mater and Attis are included within the stes religious calendar. At the same time the chief priest of the cult (the archigallus) was permitted to be a Roman citizen, so long as he was not a eunuch.
Under the Roman Empire the most important festival of Cybele was the Hilaria, taking place between March 15 and March 28. It symbolically commemorated the death of Attis and his resurrection by Cybele, involving days of mourning followed by rejoicing. Celebrations also took place on 4 April with the Megalensia festival, the anniversary of the arrival of the goddess (i.e. the Black Stone) in Rome. On the 10th April, the anniversary of the consecration of her temple on the Palatine, a procession of her image was carried to the Circus Maximus where races were held. These two dates seem to be incorporated within the same festival, though the evidence for what took place in between is lacking.
The most famous rite of Magna Mater introduced by the Romans was the taurobolium, the initiation ceremony in which a candidate took their place in a pit beneath a wooden floor. A bull was sacrificed on the wooden floor so that the blood would run through gaps in the slats and drench the initiate in a symbolic shower of blood. This act was thought to cleanse an initiate of sin as well as signify a ‘rebirth’ and re-energisation. A cheaper version, known as a criobolium, involved the sacrifice of a ram. The first recorded taurobolium took place at Puteoli in AD 134 in honour of Venus Caelestia.
In Roman mythology, Cybele was given the name Magna Mater deorum Idaea (“great Idaean mother of the gods”), in recognition of her Phrygian origins (although this title was given to Rhea also).
Roman devotion to Cybele ran deep. Not coincidentally, when a Christian basilica was built over the site of a temple to Cybele to occupy the site, the sanctuary was rededicated to the Mother of God, as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. However, later, Roman citizens were forbidden to become priests of Cybele, who were eunuchs like those of their Asiatic Goddess.
The worship of Cybele was exported to the empire, even as far away as Mauretania, where, just outside Setif, the ceremonial “tree-bearers” and the faithful (religiosi) restored the temple of Cybele and Attis after a disastrous fire in 288 CE. Lavish new fittings paid for by the private group included the silver statue of Cybele and the chariot that carried her in procession received a new canopy with tassels in the form of fir cones. (Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, p 581.) The popularity of the Cybele cult in the city of Rome and throughout the empire is thought to have inspired the author of Book of Revelation to allude to her in his portrayal of the mother of harlots who rides the Beast. Cybele drew ire from Christians throughout the Empire; famously, St. Theodore of Amasea is said to have spent the time granted to him to recant his beliefs, burning a temple of Cybele instead.
Mythological Family Members & Associated Deities
Rhea Silvia (also written as Rea Silvia), and also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita of Livy and in fragments from Ennius, Annales and Fabius Pictor.
According to Livy’s account of the legend she was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa, and descended from Aeneas. Numitor’s younger brother Amulius seized the throne and killed Numitor’s son, then forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the goddess Vesta. As Vestal Virgins were sworn to celibacy for a period of thirty years, this would ensure the line of Numitor had no heirs.
When Amulius learned of the birth he imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered a servant to kill the twins. But the servant showed mercy and set them adrift on the river Tiber, which, overflowing, left the infants in a pool by the bank. There a she-wolf (Lupa), who had just lost her own cubs suckled them. Subsequently Faustulus rescued the boys, to be raised by his wife Larentia.
Romulus and Remus went on to found Rome, overthrow Amulius, and reinstate Numitor as King of Alba Longa.
That Livy’s euhemerist and realist deflation of this myth, so central to the origins of Rome, was not general is demonstrated by the recurring theme of Mars discovering Rhea Silvia – the Latinists’ “Invention (to come upon) of Rhea Silvia” – in Roman arts: in bas-relief on the Casali Altar (Vatican Museums), in engraved couched glass on the Portland Vase (British Museum), or on a sarcophagus in the Palazzo Mattei.
In a version presented by Ovid, it is the river Anio who takes pity on her and invites her to rule in his realm.
The name Rhea Silvia suggests a minor deity, a demi-goddess of forests. Silva means woods or forest, and Rea may be related to res and regnum; Rea may also be related to Greek rheô, “flow,” and thus relate to her association with the spirit of the river Tiber. Carsten Niebuhr proposed that the name Rhea Silvia came from Rea, meaning guilty, and Silvia meaning of the forest and so assumed that Rhea Silvia was a generic name for the guilty woman of the forest, i.e. the woman who had been seduced there.
Mythological Family Members & Associated Historical Figures
Romulus and Remus are Rome’s twin founders in its traditional foundation myth. They are descendants of the Trojan prince and refugee Aeneas, and are fathered by the god Mars or the demi-god Hercules on a royal Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia (also known as Ilia), whose uncle exposes them to die in the wild. They are found by a she-wolf who suckles and cares for them. The twins are eventually restored to their regal birthright, acquire many followers and decide to found a new city.
Romulus wishes to build the new city on the Palatine Hill; Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. They agree to determine the site through augury. Romulus appears to receive the more favourable signs but each claims the results in his favour. In the disputes that follow, Remus is killed. Ovid has Romulus invent the festival of Lemuria to appease Remus’ resentful ghost. Romulus names the new city Rome, after himself, and goes on to create the Roman Legions and the Roman Senate. He adds citizens to his new city by abducting the women of the neighboring Sabine tribes, which results in the combination of Sabines and Romans as one Roman people. Rome rapidly expands to become a dominant force, due to divine favour and the inspired administrative, military and political leadership of Romulus. In later life Romulus becomes increasingly autocratic, disappears in mysterious circumstances and is deified as the god Quirinus, the divine persona of the Roman people.
The legend of Romulus and Remus encapsulates Rome’s ideas of itself, its origins, moral values and purpose: it has also been described as one of the most problematic of all foundation myths. Romulus’ name is thought to be a back-formation from the name Rome; Remus’ is a matter for ancient and modern speculation. The main sources for the legend approach it as history and offer an implausibly exact chronology: Roman historians dated the city’s foundation variously from 758 to 728 BC. Plutarch says Romulus was fifty-three at his death; which reckoning gives the twins’ birth year as c. 771 BC. Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and much disputed. Romulus and Remus are eminent among the feral children of ancient mythography.
Man In Black’s Dagger
An ancient dagger has been used to attempt to kill Mother, Jacob and the Man in Black, but only proved to be successful in the killing of Mother. This dagger may have special properties, since two characters have specifically presented it as the weapon that must be used, as well as other stipulations.
The dagger’s origin is unknown; however, it resembles a pugio (Roman military dagger), which suggests that it arrived as part of the manifest of Claudia’s ship when it crashed on the Island. (“Across the Sea”). The Man in Black used it to demonstrate to Jacob the strange electromagnetic properties that his people had discovered in various places on the Island, by throwing it and thus demonstrating how it was attracted magnetically to the stones of a nearby well. Later, the Man in Black used the dagger to stab Mother in the back and kill her; she did not anticipate this assault and thus did not speak prior to it. (“Across the Sea”)
The dagger came to be in the possession of the Man in Black. Upon convincing then devout Catholic Richard Alpert that they were in hell and that Jacob was the Devil, the Man in Black informed him that he would have to use the dagger to kill Jacob if he ever wanted to see his wife Isabella again.
The Man in Black instructed Richard to kill Jacob in the same way that Dogen would later instruct Sayid to kill the Man in Black: by plunging the knife deep into his chest, before he speaks a single word. After telling Richard that “if Jacob speaks, it will already be too late,” the Man in Black added, “He can be very persuasive,” perhaps providing some evidence for the theory that this stipulation is figurative only. When Richard arrived at the ruined statue of Taweret, he was disarmed in a fight with Jacob, who seemed to remember the dagger that had killed his mother, asking Richard “Who gave you this?” (It is likely that he already knew the answer.)
After Richard explained himself, Jacob convinced him that he was not the devil, that Richard was not in hell, and that the Man in Black is an evil entity. (“Ab Aeterno”)
Jacob apparently never returned the knife to the Man in Black; it is next seen in the possession of Dogen.