Film info

Creator / Collector

Footage from the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothraki.

Views of the sanctuary, the Ionic style columns, the main architraves, the stones from the remaining monuments, the Tholos Arsinoe, close-up shots of the columns of the sanctuary and the rectangular structure where the Winged Victory of Samothrace statue was located.

The Sanctuary of the Great Gods was a sacred place for performing rituals equivalent to the Eleusinian mysteries, with the only difference that initiation was not obligatory.

The sanctuary was dedicated to the worship and the rituals of the Mysteries of the Great Gods but the identity and nature of the gods of Samothraki (referred to by the name of Cabeiri) remains enigmatic.


Film Information

Bonar, Andrew Graham

HD (1440x1080)



Duration (seconds)

Super 8mm

Creator's description

In ancient times the most important thing in Samothraki was the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, whose mystery cult was pre-Greek in origin and grew to be second in importance only to the mysteries of Elefsis. As so often happened the buildings were plundered in later times, and little remains now, but at least one can see and admire the very fine workmanship of the surviving walls, with each piece of stone fitting perfectly into place.

Probably the most famous work to survive is the statue of Winged Victory, discovered by a French consul in 1861 and taken to the Louvre. There are different theories as to why the Victory was made, but what is certain is that it stood on the prow of a marble ship, and was erected above a pool in such a way that its reflection gave the impression that it was sailing across water. The sanctuary is also important as the site of the historic first meeting of Philip, King of Macedonia, and his wife Olympia. But for that meeting Alexander the Great would not have come into existence.
Bonar, Andrew Graham