Cabeiri

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{woman, child, man}
{language, word, form}
{island, water, area}
{group, member, jewish}
{service, military, aircraft}

In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri, (Cabiri, Kabeiroi,[1] Kabiri or Greek: Κάβειροι) were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace —at the Samothrace temple complex— and at Thebes.[2] In their distant origins the Cabeiri and the Samothracian gods may include pre-Greek elements[3] Hittite, Thracian, proto-Etruscan,[4] or Phrygian elements. The Lemnian cult was always local to Lemnos, but the Samothracian mystery cult spread rapidly throughout the Greek world during the Hellenistic period, eventually initiating Romans.

The ancient sources disagree about whether the deities of Samothrace were Cabeiri or not; and the accounts of the two cults differ in detail. But the two islands are close to each other, at the northern end of the Aegean, and the cults are at least similar, and neither fits easily into the Olympic pantheon: the Cabeiri were given a mythic genealogy as sons of Hephaestus.[5] The accounts of the Samothracian gods, whose names were secret, vary in the number and sexes of the gods, usually between two and four, some of either sex. The number of Cabeiri also varied, with some accounts citing four (often a pair of males and a pair of females) of them, and some even more, such as a tribe or whole race of Cabeiri, often presented as all male.[6]

The Cabeiri were also worshipped at other sites in the vicinity, including Seuthopolis in Thrace and various sites[citation needed] in Asia Minor.

Contents

Origin of the Cabeiri

The Cabeiri were possibly originally Phrygian[7] deities and protectors of sailors, who were imported into Greek ritual.[8] Robert Beekes believes that they are of non-Indo-European, pre-Greek origin.

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