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Cabiri

by Micha F. Lindemans
Originally, the Cabiri were Phrygian chthonic and fertility deities, and protectors of sailors, who were imported into Greece. They are mysterious demons whose mystery cults were connected to that of Hephaestus. In Classical times they numbered two, although their numbers seem to have varied over time. Two gods included were Axiocersus and his son Cadmilus. Also mentioned is a female pair, namely Axierus and Axiocersa. Their role, however, was of secondary importance.

There were Cabiri sanctuaries on Thebes, Boeotia, Lemnos, Imbros, and especially on Samothrace. On this particular island important remains of the mysteries can be found: the Anaktoron (500 BCE), the center of the Cabiri-cult; the Sacristy, where the lists of the adepts were kept; the Tenemos, the plaza where feasts were celebrated, with its ancient temple; the new temple (ca. 275 BCE) where the famous statue of Nike was excavated. The Cabiri are identified with the Dioscuri, the Curetes, Corybantes, and with the Roman Penates.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Kabeiroi
  • Pronunciation:
    kah-bi'ri

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