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Headword: Σαμοθρᾴκη
Adler number: sigma,79
Translated headword: Samothrake, Samothrace
Vetting Status: high
An island; it lies directly opposite Thrace.[1] They say that Samians settled it and gave it this name; and [the story] has been told as follows by Antiphon, in the Samothracian Speech: "in fact those who settled the island in the beginning were Samians, from whom we were born. They were settled by necessity, not from desire for the island: for they were exiled from Samos by tyrants and enjoyed the following fate. Taking plunder from Thrace, they arrived at the island."[2]
"But if any of you [is] an initiate in Samothrace, now it is well to pray that the feet of the fetcher be turned back."[3] In Samothrace there were certain rituals which they believed were performed as averting spells against certain dangers. There, too, were the mysteries of the Korybantes, those of Hekate, and the cave of Zerinthos in which they used to sacrifice dogs. The initiates were thought to be saved by these things from dangers and storms. "Turned back" [is said] in place of "broken", [referring] to the man fetching the pestle; or [because] the road into the second[4] became obstructive to him, so that he never returned.
Greek Original:
Σαμοθρᾴκη: νῆσος: κεῖται δὲ καταντικρὺ τῆς Θρᾴκης. φασὶ δὲ Σαμίους οἰκίσαντας αὐτὴν τὸ ὄνομα θέσθαι τοῦτο: καὶ ἔστι παρὰ Ἀντιφῶντι ἐν τῷ Σαμοθρᾳκικῷ λόγῳ οὕτως εἰρημένον: καὶ γὰρ οἱ τὴν ἀρχὴν οἰκίσαντες τὴν νῆσον ἦσαν Σάμιοι: ἐξ ὧν ἡμεῖς ἐγενόμεθα. κατῳκίσθησαν δὲ ἀνάγκῃ, οὐκ ἐπιθυμίᾳ τῆς νήσου: ἐξέπεσον γὰρ ὑπὸ τυράννων ἐκ Σάμου καὶ τύχῃ ἐχρήσαντο ταύτῃ: λείαν λαβόντες ἀπὸ τῆς Θρᾴκης ἀφικνοῦνται εἰς τὴν νῆσον. ἀλλ' εἴ τις ὑμῶν ἐν Σαμοθρᾴκῃ μεμυημένος, νῦν ἐστιν εὔξασθαι καλόν: ἀποστραφῆναι τοῦ μετιόντος τὼ πόδε. ἐν Σαμοθρᾴκῃ ἦσαν τελεταί τινες, ἃς ἐδόκουν τελεῖσθαι πρὸς ἀλεξιφάρμακα κινδύνων τινῶν. ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖσε καὶ τὰ τῶν Κορυβάντων μυστήρια καὶ τὰ τῆς Ἑκάτης καὶ τὸ Ζήρινθον ἄντρον, ᾗ κύνας ἔθυον. ἐν κινδύνοις οὖν γενόμενοι ἐπεκαλοῦντο τοὺς δαίμονας ἐπι- φανῆναι καὶ ἀλεξῆσαι. ἐδόκουν δὲ οἱ μεμυημένοι ταῦτα ἐκ τῶν δεινῶν σῴζεσθαι καὶ ἐκ χειμώνων. ἀποστραφῆναι δὲ ἀντὶ τοῦ διακλασθῆναι, τοῦ μετιόντος τὸν δοίδυκα: ἢ ἐναντίαν αὐτῷ τὴν εἰς τὸ δεύτερον γενέσθαι ὁδόν, ὥστε μηκέτι αὐτὸν ὑποστρέψαι.
[1] In the N Aegean. See generally E.N. Borza in OCD4 s.v.; Barrington Atlas map 51 grid F3.
[2] Antiphon fr.1 Gernet (50 Sauppe, 49 Blass). See on this passage (and speech, of the 420s) R. Meiggs, The Athenian Empire (Oxford 1972) 240-1.
[3] i.e. that he sprains or breaks his ankles, as explained later in the entry. The quotation is from Aristophanes, Peace 277-79 (though the Suda omits τυγχάνει , "happens to be", which comes after Σαμοθρᾴκῃ in the original: see web address 1 for the text), with comment from the scholia there. Polemos (War) has sent his slave Kydoimos (Tumult) to fetch a pestle (ἀλετρίβανος in Aristophanes, here δοῖδυξ ). The words are spoken by Trygaios. This second half of this entry, beginning with the Aristophanes quotation, occurs in an almost identical form as entry alpha 1164 (ἀλλ’ εἰ τις ...). The reference to Zerynthos occurs in a shorter version in zeta 86 (Zerynthia).
[4] The second phase of the initiation-ceremony, presumably.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: aetiology; chronology; comedy; definition; geography; history; military affairs; politics; religion; rhetoric; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 12 July 2003@04:21:47.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified end of translation; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 12 July 2003@05:14:24.
William Hutton (cosmetics, minor changes of wording, added link) on 12 July 2003@07:52:28.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 16 August 2011@07:58:25.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 19 December 2013@10:10:05.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 9 August 2014@10:00:08.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 30 September 2014@01:23:13.


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