The Kabiri part 1

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The Kabiri part 1

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:43 pm

Salvete

There is not much information availeble on the Kabeiroi, so this is about all I could find so far on the subject.
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The Cabiri

Origin

Little is known about these deities and although their numbers can differ from region to region. One thing is certain the Cabiri or Kabeiroi are split in two groups: male and female deities. Traditionally there were four deities called: Axierus, Axiocersa, Axiocersus and Cadmillus. These deities are said to be promoted fertility and safe-guarding mariners. Their mysteries were mysterious and little is known about it but it is said that it involved scandalous rites. They are also called the Kabeiroi, Cabiroi. They were Chthonic and fertility of Phrygian origin, who were imported into Greece although some scholars suggest that their origin lies in Egypt and part of the Middle East maybe Phoenicia. They were seen as demons whose mystery cults were connected to that of Hephaestus. The role the male pair is more important than that of the female pair. The centre of their worship was on Samothrace not so far where the famous statue of Niké was found. The island itself has some mythological history since Homer wrote in the Illiad that from the highest mountain of Samothrace, Mount Fengari, Poseidon saw the battles at Troy.
Another version of their origin, says that they were servants of the Mother Goddess of Anatolia, also known as Kybele. Their name does suggest a link between them and the mountain called Kabeiros in the region of Berekynntia where the cult of the Phyrgian Mother Goddess could be found. The arrival of the cult of the Cabiri on Samothrace, Lemnos and Imbros, is speculated be around the 2nd millennium BCE, before the arrival of the Indo-European languages in that area. Their pre-Hellenic origins remained intact as the Greeks couldn’t understand its language. Diodorus Sicullus links the Kabeiroi with the Idaean Daktyloi, the servants of Kybele. That was considered hearsay, just as the speculation that the origin of the Orphic movement and Orpheus himself lied among the Kabeiroi.
In fact, the Kaberioi are easily mistaken for the Daktyloi, Kouretes, Korytbantes and the Telchines of Rhodes as with the Minyans of Lemnos, who were initiated in the mysteries of Hephaestos, into the forge-making , whose origins lies in a distant past.
Strabo suggest that the Kabeiroi didn’t had a father, only a mother called Kabeiro, a daughter of Proteus, one of “the old men of the sea”. Aeschyles had a play written about them, where they greet the Argonauts when they arrive at Lemnos.

valete

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The Kabiri part 2

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:44 pm

Salvete
this is part 2 on the Kabeiroi
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Kabeirian mysteries

The centre of their cult was the Anaktoron. The Sacristy, were the list of the Adepts of the cults were kept, the Temenos; the plazas were the feasts were celebrated with its ancient temple. A new temple was build around 275 BCE were the statue of Niké later was found. The 1ste degree initiation was maybe only preserved of men but there could have been women as well. Citizens, slaves and ex-slaves were also allowed to join as foreigners. The sanctuary 'Anaktoron' had a public chamber and a smaller one for initiates only. 2nd degree initiates met in the "Herion"- initiates only. The initiation was nocturnal and the purpose was the protection of the Cabiri. It was nature worship whose rituals were conducted in torch light during the night. Alexander's father Philipus met his wife there who was a princess of Epirus familiar with mysticism and mystery religions. It is said that Philipus became so nervous of his wife's religious observances that his affection cooled, and he "seldom came to sleep with her". This maybe had nothing to do with the mystery religion of the Cabiri. But since not much is known about their rites and religion, we can't say this for sure. The Cabiri were identified with the Curetes, the Dioskuri, Corybantes and the Roman Penates.
The cult of the Kabeiroi reaches all the way to Thebes and Boeotia and other parts of Greece but especially Samothrace were the centre of their cult lies. The cult contains foreign influences and this is clearly shown in the ritual language. From Samothrace comes one of the most famous of classical Greek statues, the Winged Victory (Nike: ca. 200 B.C., now in Paris), which commemorates a victory by sea, won (one may infer) under the protection of the Cabiri. From the Theban sanctuary of the Kabeiroi come so-called "Kabeiric" vases of the fourth century B.C., on which burlesques of mythological figures are painted in black: in one vase (now in Oxford) a pot-bellied Odysseus with a huge phallus propels his raft, which is made of two wineskins, by means of a trident; on the other side of the vase he threatens Circe at her loom. The god Hermes was probably important but more important than Hermes was Hephaestus, the God of Fire, father of the Kabeiroi. Herodotus was probably one of the initiates and maybe even Philip of Macedonia and his wife.
The Kabeiroi were also known as the Cabeiri to the Romans. The Cabeiriai were nymphs of the Mysteries of Samothrace and daughters of one of the Cabiri. The mother of the Cabiri is called Cabeiro, who was a Sea-nymph, daughter of Proteus and was loved by Hephaestus who give him the Cabiri. In the Dioysiaca, the following names of the Cabiri were mentioned: Eurymedon, Kadmillos/Cadmillus, Alôn/Alcôn. Alternative names were: Promêtheôs, Onnes and Tonnes. The nymphs Cabirai nymphs also called the Cabeirides were children of Cadmillus and others mentioned Hephaestus and Cabeira as their parents. They were with 3 and are connected to the mysteries of the Cabiri on the island of Samothrace. Strabo mentions the names of the fathers in his work Greek geography: "Akusilaüs, the Argive, calls Kadmilos the son of Kabeiro and Hephaistos, and Kadmilos the father of three Kabeiroi, and these the fathers of the Nymphai called Kabeirides. Pherekydes says that ... three Kabeiroi and three Nymphai called Kabeirides were the children of Kabeiro, the daughter of Proteus, and Hephaistos, and that sacred rites were instituted in honor of each triad." -Strabo 10.3.21
"Many writers have identified the gods that are worshipped in Samothrake with the Kabeiroi, though they cannot say who the Kabeiroi themselves are, just as the Kyrbantes and Korybantes, and likewise the Kouretes and the Idaean Daktyloi, are identified with them." -Strabo 7 Fr 50
The Kabeiroi are Chthonic- fertility Gods whose religious practices and theology is surrounded by a mystery. Nobody can identify these Gods with other Gods as Strabo suggests. Their names and numbers vary from region to region. The changing of names and numbers are no stranger to Hellenic religion. The names of the Erinyes and the numbers of the Moirai differ, but rarely both at the same time, at least as much as I know of the subject.
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