Samothrace

Samothrace (also Samothraki, Samothracia[3]) (Ancient Greek: Σαμοθρᾴκη, Ionic Σαμοθρηΐκη; Greek: Σαμοθράκη, [samoˈθraci]) is a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea. It is a municipality within the Evros regional unit of Thrace. The island is 17 km (11 mi) long and is 178 km2 (69 sq mi) in size and has a population of 2,859 (2011 census). Its main industries are fishing and tourism. Resources on the island include granite and basalt. Samothrace is one of the most rugged Greek islands, with Mt. Saos and its tip Fengari rising to 1,611 m (5,285 ft).

Samothrace

Σαμοθράκη
View of the Chora (Samothraki)
View of the Chora (Samothraki)
Emblem of Samothrace.

Seal
Samothrace is located in Greece
Samothrace
Samothrace
Location within the region
2011 Dimos Samothrakis
Coordinates: 40°29′N 25°31′E / 40.483°N 25.517°ECoordinates: 40°29′N 25°31′E / 40.483°N 25.517°E
CountryGreece
Administrative regionEast Macedonia and Thrace
Regional unitEvros
Government
 • MayorVitsas Athanasios[1] (since September 1, 2014[1])
Area
 • Municipality178.0 km2 (68.7 sq mi)
Highest elevation
1,611 m (5,285 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Population
(2011)[2]
 • Municipality
2,859
 • Municipality density16/km2 (42/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
680 02
Area code(s)25510
Vehicle registrationΕΒ
Websitewww.samothraki.gr

History

Antiquity

Samothraki island
Samothrace, with Mount Fengari in the background.
Σαμοθράκη - Κήποι
Landscape
Gria vathra
Waterfall and pond, characteristics of the island.

Samothrace was not a state of any political significance in ancient Greece, since it has no natural harbour and most of the island is too mountainous for cultivation: Mount Fengari (literally 'Mt. Moon') rises to 1,611 m (5,285 ft). It was, however, the home of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, site of important Hellenic and pre-Hellenic religious ceremonies. Among those who visited this shrine to be initiated into the island cult were Lysander of Sparta, Philip II of Macedon and Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, father-in-law of Julius Caesar.

The ancient city, the ruins of which are called Palaeopoli ("old city"), was situated on the north coast. Considerable remains still exist of the ancient walls, which were built in massive Cyclopean style, as well as of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, where mysterious rites (Samothracian Mysteries)[4] took place which were open to both slaves and free people (similar to the Eleusinian Mysteries). Demetrios of Skepsis mention the Samothracian Mysteries.[4]

The traditional account from antiquity is that Samothrace was first inhabited by Pelasgians and Carians, and later Thracians. At the end of the 8th century BC the island was colonised by Greeks from Samos, from which the name Samos of Thrace, that later became Samothrace; however, Strabo denies this. The archaeological evidence suggests that Greek settlement was in the sixth century BC.

The Persians occupied Samothrace in 508 BC, it later passed under Athenian control, and was a member of the Delian League in the 5th century BC. It was subjugated by Philip II, and from then till 168 BC it was under Macedonian suzerainty. With the battle of Pydna Samothrace became independent, a condition that ended when Vespasian absorbed the island in the Roman Empire in AD 70.

During the Roman and particularly the imperial period, thanks to the interest of the Roman emperors, the radiation of the sanctuary of the Great Gods surpassed Greek borders and Samothrace became international religious center where pilgrims flocked from all over the Roman world. Apart from the famous sanctuary, decisive role in the great development of Samothrace played also her two ports from which passed the sea road Troas – Macedonia. Furthermore, an important role played as well her possessions in Perea, which were conceded by the Romans at least during the imperial period, as evidenced by inscriptions of the 1st AD century.[5]

The Book of Acts in the Christian Bible records that the Apostle Paul, on his second missionary journey outside of Palestine, sailed from Troas to Samothrace and spent one night there on his way to Macedonia.[6]

Middle Ages to Modern era

Samothraki island - Francesco Piacenza - 1688
Samothrachi by Francesco Piacenza, 1688

St. Theophanes died in Samothrace in 818. The Byzantines ruled until 1204, when Venetians took their place, only to be dislodged by a Genoan family in 1355, the Gattilusi. The Ottoman Empire conquered it in 1457 and it was called Semadirek in Turkish; an insurrection against them by the local population during the Greek War of Independence (1821–1831) led to the massacre of 1,000 inhabitants.[7] The island came under Greek rule in 1913 following the Balkan Wars. It was occupied temporarly by Bulgaria during the Second World War, from 1941 to 1944.

Today

The modern port town of Kamariotissa is on the north-west coast and provides ferry access to and from points in northern Greece such as Alexandroupoli and Kavala. There is no commercial airport on the island. Other sites of interest on the island include the ruins of Genoese forts, the picturesque Chora (literally village) and 'Paliapoli' (literally Old Town), and several waterfalls.

Landmarks

The island's most famous site is the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Greek Hieron ton Megalon Theon ; the most famous artifact of which is the 2.5-metre marble statue of Nike, now known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, dating from about 190 BC. It was discovered in pieces on the island in 1863 by the French archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, and is now—headless—in the Louvre in Paris. The Winged Victory is featured on the island's municipal seal.

Communities

View of Samothraki
View of Samothraki.
  • Alonia (pop. 291 in 2011)
  • Ano Karyotes (22)
  • Ano Meria (57)
  • Dafnes (16)
  • Kamariotissa (1,069)
  • Kato Karyotes (41)
  • Katsampas (15)
  • Lakkoma (317)
  • Makrylies (12)
  • Palaiopoli (36)
  • Potamia (6)
  • Profitis Ilias (189)
  • Samothrace/Samothraki (653)
  • Therma (106)
  • Xiropotamos (29)

Province

The province of Samothrace (Greek: Επαρχία Σαμοθράκης) was one of the provinces of the Evros Prefecture. It had the same territory as the present municipality.[8] It was abolished in 2006.

Historical population

Year Island population
1981 2,871
1991 3,083
2001 2,723
2011 2,859[2]

Notable people

  • Nikolaos Fardys (1853-1901), scholar

Gallery

20020800 Fonias waterfall, Samothrace island Thrace Greece

Fonias waterfall

ΣΑΜΟΘΡΑΚΗ 05

View at Mount Fengari

Mount Saos

Mount Saos

Nike of Samothrake Louvre Ma2369

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, one of the best-known ancient Greek statues (Louvre)

Samοthraki

Chora (Samothraki)

20020800 Paleopolis Samothrace island

Venetian towers

Greek flag (black cross)

Flag of the revolutionaries of Samothrace during the Greek War of Independence

Samothraki Holocaust

"The Holocaust of Samothraki" (1821) by François-Auguste Vinson

See also

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.samothraki.gr/site/2011-04-13-14-10-08/
  2. ^ a b c "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  3. ^ Called Samothracia in the King James Version of the Bible.
  4. ^ a b Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World, p. 37, at Google Books
  5. ^ D. C. Samsaris, Historical Geography of Western Thrace during the Roman Antiquity (in Greek), Thessaloniki 2005, p. 120-126
  6. ^ Acts 16:11
  7. ^ Charles Vellay, L'irrédentisme hellénique, 1913, 329 pages. page 131: [1]
  8. ^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). (39 MB) (in Greek) (in French)
  • Michel Mourre, Dictionnaire Encyclopédique d'Histoire, article "Samothrace", Bordas, 1996
  • Marcel Dunan, Histoire Universelle, Larousse, 1960

External links

Samothrace travel guide from Wikivoyage

Aristarchus of Samothrace

Aristarchus of Samothrace (Greek: Ἀρίσταρχος ὁ Σαμόθραξ; c. 220 – c. 143 BC) was a grammarian noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. He was the librarian of the Library of Alexandria and seems to have succeeded his teacher Aristophanes of Byzantium in that role.

Aristarchus left the island of Samothrace at a young age and went to Alexandria, where he studied with the director of the library. Later, he was a teacher at the royal courtyard, and then director of the library from 153 to 145 BC. After he was persecuted by his disciple Ptolemy the Benefactor, he found refuge in Cyprus, where he died.

It said that Aristarchus had a remarkable memory and was completely indifferent as to his external appearance.

He established the most historically important critical edition of the Homeric poems, and he is said to have applied his teacher's accent system to it, pointing the texts with a careful eye for metrical correctness. His rejection of doubtful lines made his severity proverbial. It is likely that he, or more probably, another predecessor at Alexandria, Zenodotus, was responsible for the division of the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each. According to the Suda, Aristarchus wrote 800 treatises (ὑπομνήματα) on various topics; these are all lost but for fragments preserved in the various scholia. His works cover such writers as Alcaeus, Anacreon, Pindar, Hesiod, and the tragedians.

Accounts of his death vary, though they agree that it was during the persecutions of Ptolemy VIII of Egypt. One account has him, having contracted an incurable dropsy, starving himself to death while in exile on Cyprus.

He modified the system of the ancient Greek textual signs (semeia) and from some point on these signs were called Aristarchian symbols. The historical connection of his name to literary criticism has created the term aristarch for someone who is a judgmental critic.

Battle of Samothrace (1698)

The Battle of Samothrace was an inconclusive battle which took place on 20 September 1698 near Samothrace, Greece, during the Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War. It was fought between Venice on one side, and the Ottoman Empire with its Tripolitanian, Egyptian, and Tunisian vassals on the other. Venetian casualties were 299 killed and 622 wounded.

Cabeiri

In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri or Cabiri (Ancient Greek: Κάβειροι, Kábeiroi), also transliterated Kabiri , were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace—at the Samothrace temple complex—and at Thebes. In their distant origins the Cabeiri and the Samothracian gods may include pre-Greek elements, or other non-Greek elements, such as Thracian, Tyrrhenian, Pelasgian, Phrygian or Hittite. The Lemnian cult was always local to Lemnos, but the Samothracian mystery cult spread rapidly throughout the Greek world during the Hellenistic period, eventually initiating Romans.

The ancient sources disagree about whether the deities of Samothrace were Cabeiri or not; and the accounts of the two cults differ in detail. But the two islands are close to each other, at the northern end of the Aegean, and the cults are at least similar, and neither fits easily into the Olympic pantheon: the Cabeiri were given a mythic genealogy as sons of Hephaestus and Cabeiro. The accounts of the Samothracian gods, whose names were secret, differ in the number and sexes of the gods: usually between two and four, some of either sex. The number of Cabeiri also varies, with some accounts citing four (often a pair of males and a pair of females), and some even more, such as a tribe or whole race of Cabeiri, often presented as all male.The Cabeiri were also worshipped at other sites in the vicinity, including Seuthopolis in Thrace and various sites in Asia Minor. According to Strabo, Cabeiri are most honored in Imbros and Lemnos but also in other cities too.

Cadmus

In Greek mythology, Cadmus (; Greek: Κάδμος Kadmos), was the founder and first king of Thebes. Cadmus was the first Greek hero and, alongside Perseus and Bellerophon, the greatest hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles. Initially a Phoenician prince, son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa, he was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenicia by Zeus. In early accounts, Cadmus and Europa were instead the children of Phoenix. Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honour.

Cadmus was credited by the ancient Greeks (such as Herodotus c. 484 – c. 425 BC, one of the first Greek historians, but one who also wove standard myths and legends through his work) with introducing the original Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks, who adapted it to form their Greek alphabet. Herodotus estimates that Cadmus lived sixteen hundred years before his time, which would be around 2000 BC. Herodotus had seen and described the Cadmean writing in the temple of Apollo at Thebes engraved on certain tripods. He estimated those tripods to date back to the time of Laius the great-grandson of Cadmus. On one of the tripods there was this inscription in Cadmean writing, which, as he attested, resembled Ionian letters: Ἀμφιτρύων μ᾽ ἀνέθηκ᾽ ἐνάρων ἀπὸ Τηλεβοάων ("Amphitryon dedicated me [don't forget] the spoils of [the battle of] Teleboae.").

Although Greeks like Herodotus dated Cadmus's role in the founding myth of Thebes to well before the Trojan War (or, in modern terms, during the Aegean Bronze Age), this chronology conflicts with most of what is now known or thought to be known about the origins and spread of both the Phoenician and Greek alphabets. The earliest Greek inscriptions match Phoenician letter forms from the late 9th or 8th centuries BC—in any case, the Phoenician alphabet properly speaking was not developed until around 1050 BC (or after the Bronze Age collapse). The Homeric picture of the Mycenaean age betrays extremely little awareness of writing, possibly reflecting the loss during the Dark Age of the earlier Linear B script. Indeed, the only Homeric reference to writing was in the phrase "γράμματα λυγρά", grámmata lygrá, literally "baneful drawings", when referring to the Bellerophontic letter. Linear B tablets have been found in abundance at Thebes, which might lead one to speculate that the legend of Cadmus as bringer of the alphabet could reflect earlier traditions about the origins of Linear B writing in Greece (as Frederick Ahl speculated in 1967). But such a suggestion, however attractive, is by no means a certain conclusion in light of currently available evidence. The connection between the name of Cadmus and the historical origins of either the Linear B script or the later Phoenician alphabet, if any, remains elusive. However, in modern-day Lebanon, Cadmus is still revered and celebrated as the 'carrier of the letter' to the world.

According to Greek myth, Cadmus's descendants ruled at Thebes on and off for several generations, including the time of the Trojan War.

Chorizontes

Chorizontes ("separators") was the name given to the ancient Alexandrian critics who believed the Iliad and Odyssey were by different poets. The best known of them were the grammarians Xenon and Hellanicus, but they are nonetheless extremely obscure figures about whom nothing else is known. Aristarchus of Samothrace was one of their opponents.

Dardania

Dardania, Dardanian or Dardanians may refer to ancient peoples or locations:

Dardanians (Trojan) Trojan allies

Dardania (Troas), a city and a district of the Troad, in Asia Minor on the Hellespont (the modern Dardanelles)

Dardania (Samothrace), old name of Samothrace according to Pausanias

Dardanean, an Assyrian people mentioned by Herodotus

Dardani, an ancient tribe in Southeastern Europe

Dardanian Kingdom an ancient Kingdom in Southeastern Europe

Dardania (Roman province), a Roman and Byzantine province in the Balkans (Southeastern Europe)OtherDardania, one of the major neighbourhoods of the city of Pristina

Democratic League of Dardania (Lidhja Demokratike e Dardanisë), a political party in Kosovo

Evros (regional unit)

Evros (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Έβρου) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Its name is derived from the river Evros, which appears to have been a Thracian hydronym. Evros is the northernmost regional unit. It borders Turkey to the east, across the river Evros, and it borders Bulgaria to the north and the northwest. Its capital is Alexandroupoli. Together with the regional units Rhodope and Xanthi, it forms the geographical region of Western Thrace.

Fengari

Fengari, also known as Saos (Greek: Σάος or Φεγγάρι) is the tallest mountain in the Aegean island of Samothrace, Greece, with an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft).

Greco-Roman mysteries

Mystery religions, sacred mysteries or simply mysteries were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates (mystai). The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders. The most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late Antiquity; Julian the Apostate in the mid 4th century is known to have been initiated into three distinct mystery schools—most notably the mithraists. Due to the secret nature of the school, and because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions, imagery and cross-cultural studies. "Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another". Much information on the Mysteries come from Marcus Terentius Varro.

Justin Martyr in the 2nd century explicitly noted and identified them as "demonic imitations" of the true faith, and that "the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, and instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Kore" (First Apology). Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools, insofar as the "mystery schools too were an intrinsic element of the non-Jewish horizon of the reception of the Christian message". Beginning in the third century, and especially after Constantine became emperor, components of mystery religions began to be incorporated into mainstream Christian thinking, such as is reflected by the disciplina arcani.

List of Thracian Greeks

This is a list of ancient Greeks in Thrace

Massacres during the Greek War of Independence

There were numerous massacres during the Greek War of Independence perpetrated by both the Ottoman forces and the Greek revolutionaries. The war was characterized by a lack of respect for civilian life and prisoners of war on both sides of the conflict. Massacres of Greeks took place especially in Ionia, Crete, Constantinople, Macedonia and the Aegean islands, while Turkish, Albanian, Greeks, and Jewish populations identified with the Ottomans inhabiting the Peloponnese suffered massacres particularly where Greek forces were dominant. Settled Greek communities in the Aegean, Crete, Central and Southern Greece were wiped out, and settled Turkish, Albanian, Greeks, and smaller Jewish communities in the Peloponnese were destroyed.

North Aegean

The North Aegean (Greek: Περιφέρεια Βορείου Αιγαίου) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It comprises the islands of the north-eastern Aegean Sea, called the North Aegean islands, except for Thasos and Samothrace, which belong to the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, and Imbros and Tenedos, which belong to Turkey.

North Aegean islands

The North Aegean islands are a number of disconnected islands in the north Aegean Sea, also known as the Northeast Aegean islands, belonging to Greece and Turkey. The islands do not form a physical chain or group, but are frequently grouped together for tourist or administrative purposes. To the south are the Dodecanese islands; and to the west are the Cyclades and Sporades islands.

Within this group, the main islands in the northeastern Aegean Sea and along the Turkish coast are the Greek islands of Samos, Ikaria, Chios, Lesbos, Lemnos, Agios Efstratios, Psara, Fournoi Korseon, Oinousses and the Turkish islands of Imbros (Gökçeada), Tenedos (Bozcaada) and the Rabbit or Tavşan Islands. The main islands in the Thracian Sea in the far north are the Greek islands of Samothrace and Thasos.

Parian marble

For the tablet known as the Parian Marble or Marmor Parium, see Parian Chronicle.

Parian marble is a fine-grained semi translucent pure-white and entirely flawless marble quarried during the classical era on the Greek island of Paros in the Aegean Sea.

It was highly prized by ancient Greeks for making sculptures. Some of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture were carved from Parian marble, including the Medici Venus and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

The original quarries, which were used from the 6th century BC onwards, can still be seen on the north side of the island on the slopes of its central peak. The Parian's main rival in antiquity was Pentelic marble, which is also flawless white, albeit with a uniform, faint yellow tint that makes it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. Italian Carrara marble is also flawless white with a uniform faint grey tint. It is today mined mostly on the neighbour island of Paros, Naxos, in the mountains near the village of Kinidaros.

Parian ware is an artificial substitute for marble, originally a brand name for a variety of unglazed biscuit porcelain, developed in 1842 in England. This is cast in moulds, typically for small busts and figurines, rather than carved.

Samothrace temple complex

The Samothrace Temple Complex, known as the Sanctuary of the Great Gods (Modern Greek: Ιερό των Μεγάλων Θεών Ieró ton Megalón Theón), is one of the principal Pan-Hellenic religious sanctuaries, located on the island of Samothrace within the larger Thrace. Built immediately to the west of the ramparts of the city of Samothrace, it was nonetheless independent, as attested to by the dispatch of city ambassadors during festivals.

It was celebrated throughout Ancient Greece for its Mystery religion. Numerous famous people were initiates, including the historian Herodotus – one of very few authors to have left behind a few clues to the nature of the mysteries, the Spartan leader Lysander, and numerous Athenians. The temple complex is mentioned by Plato and Aristophanes.

During the Hellenistic period, after the investiture of Phillip II, it formed a Macedonian national sanctuary where the successors to Alexander the Great vied to outdo each other's munificence. It remained an important religious site throughout the Roman period. Hadrian visited, and Varro described the mysteries. The cult fades from history towards the end of Late Antiquity, when the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire.

Thracian Sea

The Thracian Sea (Greek: Θρακικό Πέλαγος, Thrakiko Pelagos; Turkish: Trakya Denizi) is a sea that is part of the Aegean Sea and forms the northernmost point of the sea. Regions surrounding the sea are Macedonia and Thrace as well as northwestern Turkey. The entire stretch of the sea lies north of the 40th parallel. The length from east to west is from 23°E to about 25.8°E or from the Strymonian Gulf east to the northernmost part of the Gallipoli peninsula and the width from north to south is about 40.25°N to 41°N or from the Dardanelles north to the boundary between the Xanthi and the Rhodope regional units. Islands includes Thasos and Samothrace in Greece and Gökçeada (Imvros in Greek) and Bozcaada (Tenedos in Greek) in Turkey. The bays and gulfs includes the Ierissian Gulf to the southwest, the Strymonian Gulf where the Strymon River empties, the Kavala Gulf and the Saros Gulf in Turkey. Rivers emptying into this portion of the gulf include the Nestos and the Evros/Meriç. The famous thermal springs are Loutra Eleftheron in Kavala.

Tros of Samothrace

Tros of Samothrace is a fantasy historical novel by American writer Talbot Mundy. The story was composed of several novellas which were published originally in the American magazine Adventure during 1925 and 1926. It was published first together as a book during 1934 by Appleton-Century company.

Mundy dedicated Tros of Samothrace to his friend Rose Wilder Lane, who had funded its book publication.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a marble Hellenistic sculpture of Nike (the Greek goddess of victory), that was created in about the 2nd century BC. Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. H.W. Janson described it as "the greatest masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture", and it is one of a small number of major Hellenistic statues surviving in the original, rather than Roman copies.

Zourafa

Zourafa (Greek: Ζουράφα), also called Ladoxera (Λαδόξερα), is a rocky islet in the northeastern Aegean, six nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) east of Samothrace. It is part of the Thracian Sporades archipelago and is the northeastern-most Greek possession in the Aegean. Zourafa has an area of nine square metres (97 sq ft) and a 32-metre (0.020 mi) long coastline. A lighthouse operates on Zourafa.

Regional unit of Drama
Regional unit of Evros
Regional unit of Kavala
Regional unit of Rhodope
Regional unit of Thasos
Regional unit of Xanthi
Journeys of Paul the Apostle
First journey
Second journey
Third journey
Former provinces of Greece
Attica
Central Greece
Central Macedonia
Crete
East Macedonia and Thrace
Epirus
Ionian Islands
North Aegean
Peloponnese
South Aegean
Thessaly
West Greece
West Macedonia

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