The Winged Victory of Samothrace, a headless statue in the Louvre Museum


A Visit to



The island of Samothrace, in the North Aegean, lies some 34 km. southwest of the Thracian city of Alexandroupolis. It is the second highest island in the Aegean; Mount Fengari rises to some 1600m. Access to the island is by boat only. The island is small, some 176 square km., but it contains one of the ancient world's great mystery sites, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, including the Great Mother of Axeiros and the Cabeiroi.


Approaching the island by sea



Approach to the island, with the foothills of Mt. Fengari; the sanctuary is in a ravine at the left.



View of the Sanctuarry, n.ew to s.eThe Temple
View of the sanctuary
area from n. to s.
The Temple (Hieron)
where the Greater Mysteries
were performed.
(view to the north)



View of the TempleAnother view of the Temple, with the Hall of Votive Gifts
The Hieron: in the foreground,
The Altar Court.
To the w. (left) of the
Hieron, the Hall of Votive Gifts



The court where the altar stoodView from the shrine of the Winged Victory
The Altar Court,
on the west side of the Hieron
The Room, above and behind
the Hieron, where the
Winged Victory of Samothrace
was found.



foundations of a stoaa circular area with stone steps
The western stoa,
above the Theater, early III B.C.
The circular area near the Ptolemaion



The Tholos of ArsinoeReconstructured structural elements of the Tholos
The Tholos (Arsinoeion)
Architectural elements
of the Tholos
reconstructed in the museum.


Tholos: sacred hallsacred green rock
The Sacred Rock
a natural outcropping of blue-green stone
where offerings were made


The Tholos, dedicated in 289/81 B.C. by Queen Arsinoe of Egypt,
more than 20m in diameter, was the largest circular building--
though not the earliest--in Greek architecture.


This visit, in conjunction with the Second International Symposium on Ancient Thrace (held in Komotini Greece, October 1992), was made possible in part by generous assistance from the School of the Humanities and Dean Jorge García, and my colleagues in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.


Mt. Fengari
Nike Room

January 26, 2010 12:52 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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