Samothrace. The mysteries of the Great Gods

The Acropolis Museum commences a series of exhibitions from regional Greece so that exceptional archaeological finds in remote museums can be brought to Athens and presented to a large Greek and foreign audience. The first exhibition titled ‘Samothrace. The mysteries of the Great Gods’ is organized in cooperation with the Ephorates of Rodopi and Evros and the expert on Samothracian antiquities, Mr. Dimitrios Matsas.
The relationship between the ancient Greeks and their gods was well known and existed publicly in daily life. However, from very early times, mystery cults began to emerge that were accessible only to those who had been accepted into the rites following certain trials. The most famous ‘Mysteries’ in antiquity were those of Eleusis and Samothrace. The strict prohibition against insiders ever divulging the contents of the sacraments has not allowed much information to be gleaned about the ancient mysteries.

Archaeological excavations in the Sanctuary at Samothrace, however, have brought to light buildings and paraphernalia belonging to the cult that allow us to form an impression of events. Insiders believed that by invoking the Great Gods they would be saved from any serious dangers at sea and, as members of the Mysteries, they would become more just and pious people.

The rituals were held at night, the Sanctuary illuminated with torches, during which initiates had to participate in a purification ceremony, to confess their greatest sins, to attend the sacred narrative speech that included mythological stories, to wear the wide, purple sash around their waists and to witness the unveiling of sacred symbols.
Duration: 20 June – 30 September 2015 (Temporary Exhibition Gallery, ground floor)
Opening hours: Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. / Tuesday to Sunday: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. / Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Yiannis Kotzianoglou


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