National Geographic : 2016 Jul
116 national geographic • july 2016 PATHOFTHEINITIATES The Sacred Way Greeks turned to mystery cults when seeking meaning in their individual lives and protection after death. At sites such as the sanctuary of the great gods, on the island of Samothrace, initiates were admitted to the cults in ceremonies whose details are still not fully known. 1. Propylon of Ptolemy II Initiates entered the sanctuary at night through this gatehouse. The structure forded a deep ravine that divided the physical world from the sacred space. Anaktoron The purpose of this building, which was destroyed and rebuilt three times, is a mystery. The uninitiated may have been barred from entry. Rotunda of Arsinoe II This marble hall honoring a princess of ancient Egypt was the largest enclosed space in a round building in the Greek world. Banquet Hall This banquet hall where initiates celebrated their admission was the gift of a wealthy female donor. 2. Hall of Choral Dancers Named for its elaborate frieze of dancing women, this grand building put up in the fourth century B.C. featured chambers and installations for both sacrifice and liquid offerings to the gods.