Saturday 27 March 2010

(T) Human Aid to the Great gods of Samothrace

A program to help the "wounded" antique sanctuary has been approved.

Samothrace. Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Photo: ΡRΙSΜΑ/ΧΑΡΗΣ ΙΟΡΔΑΝΙΔΗΣ

The great destructions, starting in antiquity because of strong earthquakes and enemy raids, in the Middle Ages because of the reuse of the marble, the removal of the iron from the monuments and the use of the bronze of the statues, and in recent times because of violent "excavations" and, of course, natural causes, have left the Sancuary of the Great Gods of Samothrace deeply wounded. Thus, today still, the feet of visitors who walk unchecked over the site are causing destruction.

What remains of this important and extremely ainigmatic sanctuary of antiquity is collapsing. To save it interventions are required, which the Ministry of Culture is ready to do. Restorers, archaeologists, architects, topographers, mechanics and geologists have worked toghether between 2006 and 2009 to establish a programme to face the destruction, with which the Central Archaeological Council has agreed. Sic years will be needed to complete the programme, given that it be incorporated in the ESPA (National Strategic Reference Programme) - although a budget is not mentioned -, while the works will commence with the eastern section of the Sanctuary, because of its increased problems. Even a lime furnace had been built in the entrance of the sanctuary to transforme in situ the marbles to lime. As far as the famous statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, only the base is left after it was transported by the French consul Champoiseau [in 1879], who had conducted the first excavations on the isalnd in 1863.

The Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre, Paris. Source: Wikipedia

The sanctuary covering 50 stremmata (50,000 sq. m.) was dedicated to the worship and the rites of the Mysteries of the Great Gods, whom many ancient sources refer to as the Kaveiroi (Κάβειροι)- although the term has not been found on any of the inscriptions of Samothace. The remaining ruins are of the 4th-3rd centuries B.C., but religious activity in the area had commeced in the 7th century B.C. The Kaveiroi however were not part of the Greek pantheon and their identification with the Great Gods is not certain.

Source: To Vima, 27.03.2010

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