Iconographic analogies between the Mithraic torchbearers, Cautes and Cautopates, and the Greek Dioscuri encourage a comparative analysis of these figures in context. Previous studies have emphasized the potential for the divine twins to be the origins of the torchbearers: a closer examination of the Dioscuri as they functioned within another mystery cult, the rites of the Great Gods of Samothrace, offers light on both the phenomenology of initiation and the cultural context common to both the Greek and the Roman rituals. Among the numerous visual and conceptual parallels, the strongest commonality between the two sets of youths is a cultural appetite for astral mysticism, which connects the late Republican Roman voices on Samothrace and the later world of the Mithraic caves. The two mysteries served, however, profoundly different functions with respect to Roman identity – a dynamic which the parallel presence of twinned, framing shining lights reveals.
The recently published curse tablets from the sanctuary of Magna Mater in Mainz, from the hero shrines of Opheltes and Palaimon, and from the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, as well as a single curse tablet from late Roman Antioch invoking the “secret names” of the Samothracian deities, all suggest some connection between mystery religions and cursing. Two possible explanations are explored: (i) because initiates had special access to divine powers, their curses were thought to be especially powerful; or (ii) because these new discoveries fit two traditional types of defixiones: those placed in or at the graves of those violently killed, like Opheltes, or those placed in sanctuaries of female divinities, like Demeter, whose myths focus on the loss and return of a loved one from Hades.
This article discusses the verse 13 of Pindar’s sixth Pythian ode. The manuscripts have «χεράδι», but editors generally accept C. D. Beck’s conjecture «χεράδει». The text of the manuscripts is also attested in numerous ancient sources, but «χεράδει» also circulated in antiquity as a varia lectio. The ancient criticism on the Pindaric verse is then examined, taking into consideration the possible reading of Aristarchus of Samothrace (fr. 55 Schironi) and the text of P.Oxy. 5039, which probably had χεράδι.
Agamemnon, during his absence from the battlefield. In doing so, the philologist of Samothrace rejected the interpretation of the νϵώτϵροι, according to whom Zeus’ will was to be identified in his decision to solve the problem of overpopulation through the
Authors:Patricia A. Johnston and Attilo Mastrocinque
: The Cult of the Great Gods of Samothrace in the Mediterranean Context between the Hellenistic and Roman Ages
The aim of this paper is to underline some cultic features of the cult of the Great Gods of Samothrace, in its development