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Archaeological sites (3)
Kabirion. A sanctuary of the Kabeiroi situated about 8 km W of Thebes on
the Thebes-Levadia road. Before the crossroads going to Vagia, Leondari, and Thespies
there is a bypath that leads to the site.
The origin of these deities is still unknown. Pausanias says nothing
about their nature or their mysteries (9.25.5), merely stating that, according
to the Thebans, there was a city whose inhabitants were called Kabeiroi. Demeter,
who came to the region, revealed some mystery to Prometheus, one of the Kabeiroi,
and Aetnaios, his son. Pausanias could not disclose Demeter's words. The mysteries
were one of Demeter's gifts to the Kabeiroi, who had been chased out of their
country by the Argives. Demeter's wrath toward men was implacable, as was shown
by the punishment of the Persians who came with Mardonios and dared to enter their
temple and pillage it, and later, after Alexander seized Thebes, when the Macedonians
who had entered the sanctuary of the Kabeiroi were all killed by thunderbolts.
The Kabeiroi were said to be guardians of vines and the fertility of animals (over
1400 representations of animals have been found, also over 700 representations
of the pais, either the son or an accompanying slave).
The sanctuary was discovered in 1887-88 and excavation was resumed
in 1955 and the years following. Today the remains of a rectangular temple have
been located, the earliest traces dating to the 6th c. It was followed by two
more monuments oriented E-W. A theater of the Hellenistic period was built in
the axis of this temple (orchestra: 26 m in diameter). It had no skene, but had
10 kerkides as well as an altar in the middle of the orchestra. The diameter of
the theatron is 60 m. Southeast of the theater is a stoa (40 x 6 m) which may
possibly have been used in the cult. A circular building from the 4th c., between
the stoa and the temple, may have been used for sacrifices.
There was also a Sacred Grove of Demeter Kabeiria and Kore, where
Demeter is supposed to have revealed the mysteries. According to Pausanias (9.22),
just near the center of the city of Anthedon NE of Thebes there was a sanctuary
of the Kabeiroi related to a cult of Demeter and Kore.
This is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Kabirion Project: The project is under the auspices of the Athens Section of the Deutsches Archaologisches Institut.
Kabireion: Perseus Project
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