The island of Samothrace

From the peak of the mountain Fengari, of the island Samothrace, Homer says that the sea god Poseidon was watching the Trojan War (Iliad).

Below, the remains of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods (Megaloi Theoi), where the famous mysteries of the Kabeiri were taking place (7th century BC).

The pilgrims walked from the nearby city of Palaeopolis to the sanctuary to be inducted to the cult of the Gods, that were mostly related with the underworld, with the sound of music and chanting, ritual dancing and performances.

Ancient literary sources do not provide the details of the mysteries, since the initiates were bound to keep the secrets. But the benefits of the initiation were clear: the initiates were coming to meet the Great Gods who were powerful and protective. They offered protection at sea, and in times of need.

They were the most pious mysteries of Greece before the ones of Eleusis, and as far as we know Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, was a high priestess of the Sanctuary. It is also believed that Alexander was conceived on the island of Samothrace (around mid-4th century BC).

The new mystic was offered an olive wreath

and a purple belt that protected him from danger.

The initiation could be done at any time

and mainly from April to September.

The Nike of Samothrace

It is statue of the goddess of Victory (Nike), a masterpiece of Greek sculpture. She is not walking, instead she is finishing her flight. She was holding the wreath of victory, and was added on a ship, as a trophy.

Nike was offered to the Sanctuary of the Great Gods of Samothrace.