Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Mysteries of the Cabeiri

Sanctuary of the Cabeiri at Lemnos

The Mysteries of the Cabeiri of Lemnos and Samothrace were very important. The Cabeiri were a group of deities of the ancient Greek religion, while in the dictionary of Sudas, Cabeir means Daemon. According to Welcker and Maury, the word Cabeiri is produced by the Greek verb καίω (burn), and are the evil daemons born in the depths of the sea, who expel the flame of their father Hephaestus and destroy the ground. The religion of Hephaestus prevailed in Lemnos (the location of his workshop) and the Cabeiri were considered his children, whom he had with Kabeiro, the daughter of Proteus, who accompanied the chariot of Poseidon.

There is also the opinion, according to Pausanias, that the worship of the Cabeiri is associated with fire worship, which was introduced by the Thraco-Pelasgians and received by the Achaeans in 2.200 B.C.

Apollo is also mentioned as a Cabeiri deity.

sanctuary-of-the-cabeiri-lemnossmall

Sanctuary of the Cabeiri at Lemnos

The modern inhabitants of the island give it a plural name: Cabeiri. It was discovered by L. Bernarbo Brea at the cape of Chloe in NE Lemnos, opposite the site of ancient Hephaestia. It was excavated by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens in 1937-39. Since 1982 research and excavations are continued.
The sanctuary of the Cabeiri was protected, by land, by a long wall at the top of the hill which hid it from the eyes of the uninitiated. The main buildings of the sanctuary were large halls of initiation (Telestiria) within which the “sacred” was revealed to the initiate, the so called Cabeirian mysteries. Their ruins are preserved in two flat areas, held up on the steep slope towards the sea, by supports.
At the back of the cella (the main interior of the temple) are the foundations of a small temple, destined for the “sacred”. The cella is divided into three compartments by two rows of five marble columns, and with a portico supported towards the sea by a strong stylobate.
A rich repository of offerings, lamps for night ceremonies, kantharoi, skyphoi, “compasses”, pottery for the sacred symposia, belong to the classical and Hellenistic phase. In the sanctuary, fragments of sculptures, terracotta and bronze figurines, glassware and many votive, honorific, liberating inscriptions were found.
The archaic telesterion is located in the southern plateau, with benches of half-baked plinths along the walls where the initiates sat. In the back there was the most holy place, the adyton, where the priest entered and the statues of the gods were situated.
It is perhaps the oldest known telesterion in Greece, even older than the Soloneio Telesterion in Eleusis. It was destroyed by fire, probably by the invading Persians in 512 BC.
The Hellenistic telesterion was built on the northern plateau and is the first thing someone sees when entering the site. It is rectangle, measuring 33 x 46.10 meters, double in size compared to the sanctuary of Samothrace and at the front it had a portico with 12 columns. It was divided into three aisles, by two rows of four Ionic columns.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

As we mentioned, the Mysteries of the Cabeiri are much older than the ones of the Orphics. The cult however was also widespread in mainland Greece, and one of its centers was the sanctuary of the Cabeiri near Thebes. This cult was associated with that of Demeter the so-called “of the Cabeiri” and used, as opposed to the Orphics, the curvilinear architecture above the ground. Despite this, the worship of the Cabeiri is incorporated into the Eleusinian Mysteries (read here). The cult of the Orphics is Heliocentric (Apollo), the cult of the Cabeiri on the other hand is Geocentric (Gaia). Another important difference was that in the Eleusinian Mysteries the initiates had to speak the Greek language, while in the Cabeiri Mysteries anyone could be initiated, Greek or foreign. The geocentric system was supported by Aristotle who with his prestige also influenced the opinion of the christian world against Aristarchus from Samos, who was accused in 286 B.C. and was forced to flee to Alexandria. While Plato covertly accepted the Heliocentric theory of the Orphics.
This cult is introduced to prehistoric Rome in 1300 B.C. through the Etruscans and, according to Herodotus, comes from a region of northwestern Turkey, Lydia. In Caria there was a town named Cabera. Of all religious centers of antiquity, most inscriptions of the Roman period were found in Samothrace, where the Roman pilgrims were numerous. Samothrace was considered by the Romans to be a National Sanctuary, because they believed that the gods of Rome came from there, where they had arrived from Troy. These gods were brought to Rome by Aeneas who, according to the legends of the Romans, founded Rome. This is the reason the Romans preferred the initiation of Samothrtace, into the Cabeiri Mysteries rather than the Eleusinian. Marcellus, Cicero, Ouarrchon and Hadrian are some of those who visited the island of Samothrace and were initiated to the Cabeiri Mysteries.
So then, based on the above, namely the intervention of the Romans, the Orphic logic of Delphi started to change, all of the curvilinear structures of the Underworld, the arc the arch and the dome began to be released and to rise to the surface.

pantheon-rome-dome

Pantheon of Rome is a great example of Curvilinear architecture ascending in the surface (reform of August)

All that we have mentioned in the article “Celestial and Chthonic – Sacred Architecture” is a time spanning process, so that the religious template is clearly defined and the entire Pantheon of the Greeks becomes accepted by the believers and encompasses upwards, but also downwards. Based on everything mentioned in the 1st Part of the book “Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece”, we observe that the above logic corresponds to the religious template we described with the chthonic and celestial gods and is about the Mythology of the Titanomachy and the Gigantomachy.
In this Mythology of Duality the concepts of “attraction” is incorporated, because it is about the relationship between opposing forces, where one is connected with the other, but also “repulsion“, which is the result of the clash of said forces. If however one of these forces is abolished, the logic of “universal attraction” is lost, resulting in the chthonic powers not cooperating with the celestial ones.

mr-image12-parta

In the above image, we observe the logic of the Orphic template, as forces positive (+) and negative (-), which were in balance. With the abolition of the negative force, the system will create an upwards tension, resulting in the Basilica becoming a Domed Basilica (Celestial Dome) during the Christian period. Through this logic we realize how complete the Orphic worship was.
When then in 17 B.C. the Emperor Augustus abolished the chthonic gods for political reasons and later on, during the christian period, it was forbidden for people to associate themselves with chthonic forces, two basic problems started to emerge:

On the one hand issues of occultism and witchcraft started to emerge because the christian cult did not include the chthonic forces like the Orphic one, which troubled and still troubles mankind, reaching to the extreme cases of the “Holy Inquisition”.

On the other hand the concept of “universal attraction” was lost and these consequences will become evident in science. There was a period of 1.659 years until the time of Newton (1642-1727 A.D.), for the law of universal attraction to be discovered.