Friday, November 20, 2015

Samothrace Treasure at the Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is set on the foothills of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is situated. It's an impressive building that offers, through glass floors, views of the ruins of the city of Athens below that were discovered during excavations for its construction. Its large windows frame the Acropolis hill with full views of the Parthenon.
I have visited the Museum a few times since its opening but this year we had a special treat. The exhibit of the Treasure of Samothrace had just opened.
The Samothrace Temple Complex, known as the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, (Greek Ιερό των Μεγάλων Θεών Ieró ton Megalón Theón) is one of the principal Pan-Hellenic religious sanctuaries, located on the island of Samothrace within the larger Thrace in Greece. Built immediately to the west of the ramparts of the city of Samothrace, it was nonetheless independent, as attested to by the dispatch of city ambassadors during festivals.
It was celebrated throughout Ancient Greece for its Mystery religion, a Chthonic religious practice as renowned as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Numerous famous people were initiates, including the historian Herodotus – one of very few authors to have left behind a few clues to the nature of the mysteries, the Spartan leader Lysander, and numerous Athenians. The temple complex is mentioned by Plato and Aristophanes.
During the Hellenistic period, after the investiture of Phillip II, it formed a Macedonian national sanctuary where the successors to Alexander the Great vied to outdo each other's munificence. It remained an important religious site throughout the Roman periodHadrian visited, and Varro described the mysteries – before fading from history towards the end of Late Antiquity.
One of the best known sculptures of Samothrace is the Winged Victory or Pteroti Niki of Samothraki displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

The exhibited items at the Acropolis Museum are very impressive and, along with an informative video, give an understanding of the Sanctuary and its importance in the Ancient World.

Fragments of plaques with writing.
One of the pros of this museum is that it is well curated. I find that as a visitor I am not overwhelmed with the quantity and placement of the exhibits.  The items are well selected and displayed in a way that makes walking through pleasurable and educational.

I am aways in awe when visiting the Acropolis of Athens and its Museum. This time I expanded my knowledge about our ancestors as well as enjoyed the lasting beauty of ancient art.

If you ever are in Athens, the Acropolis Museum is a must destination.