Greek Mythology >> Thracian Gods >> Cotys (Kotys)


Greek Name

Κοτυς Κοτυτω Κοττυτω


Kotys, Kotytô, Kottytô

Latin Spelling

Cotys, Cotyto, Cottyto



KOTYS (Cotys) was an ancient Thracian goddess of the wilds worshipped with Bacchic-like orgies. She was similar to, if not the same as, the goddess Bendis.


Nowhere stated


COTYS or COTYTTO (Kotus or Kotuttô), a Thracian divinity, whose festival, the Cotyttia (Dict. of Ant. s. v.), resembled that of the Phrygian Cybele, and was celebrated on hills with riotous proceedings. In later times her worship was introduced at Athens and Corinth, and was connected, like that of Dionysus, with licentious frivolity. Her worship appears to have spread even as far as Italy and Sicily. Those who celebrated her festival were called baptai, from the purifications which were originally connected with the solemnity. (Strab. x. p. 470; Hesych. Suid. s.v. Kotus Diasôtês; Horat. Epod. xvii. 56; Juven. ii. 92; Virg. Catal. v. 19.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Aeschylus, Fragment 27 Edonians (from Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 16) (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Practising the holy rites of Kotyto (Cotyto) . . . One, holding in his hands the pipe, the labour of the lathe, blows forth his fingered tune, even the sound that wakes to frenzy. Another, with brass-bound cymbals, raises a clang . . . the twang shrills; the unseen, unknown, bull-voiced mimes in answer bellow fearfully, while the timbrel's echo, like that of subterranean thunder, rolls along inspiring a mighty terror."

Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 16 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Also resembling these rites [the sacred rites of Rhea and Dionysos] are the Kotytian (Cotytian) and the Bendideian rites practiced among the Thrakians (Thracians), among whom the Orphic rites had their beginning.
Now the Kotys (Cotys) who is worshipped among the Edonians [a Thrakian tribe], and also the instruments used in her rites, are mentioned by Aiskhylos (Aeschylus); for he says, ‘O adorable Kotys among the Edonians, and ye who hold mountain-ranging instruments’; and he mentions immediately afterwards the attendants of Dionysos: ‘one, holding in his hands the bombyces, toilsome work of the turner's chisel, fills full the fingered melody, the call that brings on frenzy, while another causes to resound the bronze-bound cotylae’ and again, ‘stringed instruments raise their shrill cry, and frightful mimickers from some place unseen bellow like bulls, and the semblance of drums, as of subterranean thunder, rolls along, a terrifying sound’; for these rites resemble the Phrygian rites, and it is at least not unlikely that, just as the Phrygians themselves were colonists from Thrake, so also their sacred rites were borrowed from there. Also when they identify Dionysos and the Edonian Lykourgos (Lycurgus), they hint at the homogeneity of their sacred rites."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 27. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"A Roman senator, Antoninos [C2nd A.D.] . . . restored the portico [in the sanctuary of Asklepios (Asclepius) at Epidauros] that was named the Portico of Kotys (Cotys), which, as the brick of which it was made had been unburnt, had fallen into utter ruin after it had lost its roof."




Other references not currently quoted here: Hesychius s.v. Kotys, Horace Epodes 17.56, Juvenal 2.92.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.