The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

522

CABEIRI.

Cabeirus in Berecyntia. But here again opinions differed very much, for while some believed that the tepti Kageipow were thus called from their hav­ing been instituted and conducted by the Cabeiri, others thought that they were celebrated in honour of the Cabeiri, and that the Cabeiri belonged to the great gods.

The Attic writers of this period offer nothing of importance concerning the Cabeiri, but they inti­mate that their mysteries were particularly calcu­lated to protect the lives of the initiated. (Aristoph. Pax, 298 ; comp. Etymol. Gud. p. 289.) Later writers in making the same remark do not mention the name Cabeiri, but speak of the Samothracian gods generally. (Diod. iv. 43, 49 ; Aelian, Fragm. p. 320 ; Callim. Ep. 36; Lucian. Ep. 15 ; Plut. Marcell. 30.) There are several instances men­tioned of lo vers swearing by the Cabeiri in promis­ing fidelity to one another (Juv. iii. 144; Himerius, Orat. i. 12) ; and Suidas (s. v. AiaActytgabei) men­tions a case of a girl invoking the Cabeiri as her avengers against a lover who had broken his oath. But from these oaths we can no more draw any inference as to the real character of the Cabeiri, than from the fact of their protecting the lives of the initiated; for these are features which they have in common with various other divinities. From the account which the scholiast of Apollonius Rhodius (i. 913) has borrowed from Athenion, who had written a comedy called The Samothra-cians (Athen, xiv. p. 661), we learn only that he spoke of two Cabeiri, Dardanus, and Jasion, whom he called sons of Zeus and Electra. They derived their name from mount Cabeirus in Phrygia, from whence they had been introduced into Samothrace.

A more ample source of information respecting the Cabeiri is opened to us in the writers of the Alexandrine period. The two scholia on Apollo­nius Rhodius (I, c.) contain in substance the fol­lowing statement: Mnaseas mentions the names of three Cabeiri in Samothrace, viz. Axieros, Axio-cersa, and Axiocersus ; -the first is Demeter, the second Persephone, and the third Hades. Others add a fourth, Cadmilus, who according to Dionyso-dorus is identical with Hermes. It thus appears that these accounts agreed with that of Stesimbro-tus, who reckoned the Cabeiri among the great gods, and that Mnaseas only added their names. Herodotus, as we have seen, had already connected Hermes with Persephone ; the worship of the latter as connected with that of Demeter in Samothrace is attested by Artemidorus (ap. Strab. iv. p. 198) ; and there was also a port in Samothrace which de­rived its name, Demetrium, from Demeter. (Liv. xlv. 6.) According to the authors used by Diony-sius (i. 68), the worship of Samothrace was intro­duced there from Arcadia; for according to them Dardanus, together with his brother Jasion or Jasus and his sister Harmonia, left Arcadia and went to Samothrace, taking with them the Pal­ladium from the temple of Pallas. Cadmus, how­ever, who appears in this tradition, is king of Samothrace: he made Dardanus his friend, and sent him to Teucer in Troas. Dardanus himself, again, is sometimes described as a Cretan (Serv. ad Aen. iii. 167), sometimes as an Asiatic (Steph. s. v. AdpSavos; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 391), while Arrian (ap. Eustath. p. 351) makes him come originally from Samothrace. Respecting Dardanus' brother Jasion or Jasus, the accounts likewise differ very much; for while some writers describe

CABEIRI.

him as going to Samothrace either from Parrha-sia in Arcadia or from Crete, a third account (Dionys. i. 61) stated, that he was killed by light­ning for having entertained improper desires for Demeter; and Arrian (/. c.} says that Jasion, being inspired by Demeter and Cora, went to Sicily and many other places, and there established the mys­teries of these goddesses, for which Demeter re­warded him by yielding to his embraces, and became the mother of Parius, the founder of Paros.

All writers of this class appear to consider Dardanus as the founder of the Samothracian mys­teries, and the mysteries themselves as solemnized in honour of Demeter. Another set of authorities, on the other hand, regards them as belonging to Rhea (Diod. v. 51 ; Schol. ad Aristid. p. 106; Strab. Excerpt* lib. vii. p. 511, ed. Almelov.; Lucian? dc Dea Syr. 97), and suggests the identity of the Samothracian and Phrygian mysteries. Pherecydes too, who placed the Corybantes, the companions of the great mother of the gods, in Samothrace, and Stesiinbrotus who derived the Cabeiri from mount Cabeirus in Phrygia, and all those writers who describe Dardanus as the founder of the Samothracian mysteries, naturally ascribed the Samothracian mysteries to Rhea. To Demeter, on the other hand, they were ascribed by Mnaseas, Artemidorus, and even by Herodotus, since he mentions Hermes and Persephone in connexion with these mysteries, and Persephone has nothing to do with Rhea, Now, as Demeter and Rhea have many attributes in common—both are iJ.eya.-~ \oi S-eoi, and the festivals of each were celebrated with the same kind of enthusiasm; and as peculiar features of the one are occasionally transferred to the other (e. g. Eurip. Helen. 1304), it is not difficult to see how it might happen, that the Samo­thracian goddess was sometimes called Demeter and sometimes Rhea. The difficulty is, however, increased by the fact of Venus (Aphrodite) too being worshipped in Samothrace. (Plin. H. N. v. 6.) This Venus may be either the Thracian Bendis or Cybele, or may have been one of the Cabeiri themselves, for we know that Thebes pos­sessed three ancient statues of Aphrodite, which Harmonia had taken from the ships of Cadmus, and which may have been the TLaraiKoi who re­sembled the Cabeiri. (Paus. ix. 16.. § 2 ; Herod, iii. 37.) In connexion with this Aphrodite we may mention that, according to some accounts, the Phoenician Aphrodite (Astarte) had commonly the epithet clmbar or clwbor, an Arabic word which signifies " the great," and that Lobeck considers Astarte as identical with the ^eXrivr] Ka£ejpi'a, which name P. Ligorius saw on a gem.

There are also writers who transfer all that is said about the Samothracian gods to the Dioscuri, who were indeed different from the Cabeiri of Acusilaus, Pherecydes, and Aeschylus, but yet might easily be confounded with them; first, be­cause the Dioscuri are also called great gods, and secondly, because they were also regarded as the protectors of persons in danger either by land or water. Hence we find that in some places where the dVa/ces were worshipped, it was uncertain whe­ther they were the Dioscuri or the Cabeiri. (Paus. x. 38. § 3.) Nay, even the Roman Penates were sometimes considered as identical with the Dios­curi and Cabeiri (Dionys. i. 675 &c.) ; and Varro thought that the Penates were carried by Dardanus from the Arcadian town Pheneos to Samothrace.,

Pages
About | First

521

522

523
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.