Section of a frieze from the Building of Dancers with archaistic dancers depicted in relief.

Samothrace. The mysteries of the Great Gods

Saturday, 20 June, 2015 - Sunday, 10 January, 2016

The Acropolis Museum commenced a series of exhibitions from regional Greece so that exceptional archaeological finds in remote museums can be brought to Athens and presented to a large Greek and foreign audience. The first exhibition titled ‘Samothrace. The mysteries of the Great Gods’ is organized in cooperation with the Ephorates of Rodopi and Evros and the expert on Samothracian antiquities, Mr. Dimitrios Matsas.

The relationship between the ancient Greeks and their gods was well known and existed publicly in daily life. However, from very early times, mystery cults began to emerge that were accessible only to those who had been accepted into the rites following certain trials. The most famous ‘Mysteries’ in antiquity were those of Eleusis and Samothrace. The strict prohibition against insiders ever divulging the contents of the sacraments has not allowed much information to be gleaned about the ancient mysteries. Archaeological excavations in the Sanctuary at Samothrace, however, have brought to light buildings and paraphernalia belonging to the cult that allow us to form an impression of events. Insiders believed that by invoking the Great Gods they would be saved from any serious dangers at sea and, as members of the Mysteries, they would become more just and pious people. The rituals were held at night, the Sanctuary illuminated with torches, during which initiates had to participate in a purification ceremony, to confess their greatest sins, to attend the sacred narrative speech that included mythological stories, to wear the wide, purple sash around their waists and to witness the unveiling of sacred symbols.

Duration: 20 June 2015 - 10 January 2016 (Temporary Exhibition Gallery, ground floor)

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. / Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. / Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Entrance to the temporary exhibition is free of charge.

Photography: Photographs are permitted. No use of flash.

Gallery Talks: On the occassion of the temporary exhibition, the Acropolis Museum gives visitors the opportunity to participate in two gallery talks held by Archaeologist–Hosts, 'Samothrace. The mysteries of the Great Gods' and 'The Great Gods of Samothrace and Athena of the Acropolis'.

Schools visits and teachers: Students and teachers can participate in the educational program 'A journey to Samothrace'.

Photo competition: The Acropolis Museum is running a photo competition on Instagram. The Museum invites everyone to create a digital gallery together – #MySamothrakiExhibition – comprised of a collection of photos where experiences and memories of Samothrace meet the island’s archaeological mysteries.