Boiotia: Sanctuary of the Cabeiroi

The sanctuary of  the Cabeiroi near Thebes, with its associated mysteries, is surrounded by the necessary puzzels. So much is certain that the main sanctuary for these gods was on Lemnos, and that the sanctuary at Thebes was only a derivative of it.

In Thebes, there may have been two , Cabeiros and his son Pais, also known as Zeus and Dionysos, with the Great Mother joining  a third Cabeiros The fact is that the rude character of their cult, a goblin-like, grotesque figure (depicted on the special Cabireion crockery from Thebes) fits well in a fertility cult. In the triad Mitos (“warp”), Krateia (“slant”) and Protolaos (“first man”) we may see a creation myth.

The Cabireion sanctuary is difficult to find as it has been damaged bij a severe fire. The signs to the sanctuary are removed. Driving on the road from Thebes to Livadia, a few kilometers after Thebes, turn into the road to Paralia Sarandi. At the first major exit, stop left toward Ampelochori, then walk right over a small road through the fields, keeping left. The sanctuary at Thebes contains a small temple, originally dating from the 6th century B.C.; the remains of the foundations date from the 4th century B.C. A beautiful theater from the 3rd century B.C., in which the skènè of the stage was formed by the eastern part of the temple. It was used in the mysteries, which the believers promised an afterlife, like so many other mystery religions. An altar, located between the temple and the theater, proves that the theater itself was a place of cult. A stoa south-east of the theater, 40 m long. The stoa was built in the first century B.C. Multiple circular or elliptical buildings containing sacrificial pits and benches along the walls, used for initiation rites.