mysteries samothrace fire
CABIRI (1“.flapot), in Mythology, usually identified with the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), in common with whom they were styled tLeycaot. Ocoi (victual Dii), and had the power of protecting life against storms at sea, the symbol of their presence being the St Elmo fire. The worship of the Cabin was local and peculiar to the islands of Lemnos, Imbros, and Samothrace, extending also to the neighbouring coast of Troy, in which places it appears to have been inherited from a primitive Pelasgic population. It was, however, in Samothrace that this worship attained its chief importance, coming first into notice apparently after the Persian war, and from that time extending its influence down into the Roman period. The point of attraction was in the religious Mysteries, initiation into which was sought for, not only by large numbers of pilgrims, but also by such persons of distinction as Philip and Olympias - the parents of Alexander, his successor Lysimachus, Arsina, and those Roman commanders whose duties led them to that quarter.
What the rites were in which the Mysteries consisted is unknown, and it is therefore impossible to say how far they may have been organized on the model of the Mysteries of Eleusis, though it is clear that Athens took a considerable part in being the first to extend the influence of the Sainothracian Mysteries. Initiation included also an asylum or refuge, if required, within the strong walls of Samothrace, for which purpose it was used among others by Arsinou, who afterwards caused to be erected there (27G-247 n.c.), to record her gratitude, a monument, the ruins of which were explored in 1S74 by an Austrian archmological expedition (Umtersachungem reef Samothrake, by Conze, Hauser, and Niemann, Vienna, 1815).
In Lemnos an annual festival was held, lasting nine clays, during which all the fires in the island were extinguished and fresh fire brought from Delos. From this and from the statement of Strabo (x. 437), that the father of the Cabiri was Camillus, a son of the god Hephmstus, it has been thought that the Cabiri must have been, like the Curetes, Corybautes, and Dactyls, (Lemons of volcanic fire. But this is very uncertain. In Lemnos they fostered the growth of the vine and fruits of the field, and from their connection with Hermes in Samothrace, it would seem that they had also aided the fertility of cattle. Both the names and the number of the Cabiri are doubtful. On late authority they are given as Axieros, A xiokersa, and Axiokersos, with a fourth called Kadmilos or Kasmilos ; but in the usual tradition they were Dardanos, Jasion, and Harmonia. Jasion, who was a favourite of the goddess Demeter, instituted the Mysteries. Harmonic married Cadmus of Thebes, whose name is to be recognized in Kadrnilos, one of the Cabiri. On the other hand it has been argued that there were only two Cabiri, Dardanus and Jasion, corresponding as deities to the Greek Poseidon and Apollo, or Uranus and Gma, i.e., sky and earth. On these points, the statements of ancient writers are not only few but generally irreconcilable with each other. On Etruscan bronze mirrors representations of what are called the Cabiri frequently occur, consisting of two youthful figures, sometimes with the addition of a female figure, apparently their sister; sometimes there are three brothers. This subject is dealt with in detail by Gerhard in his F,truskische