Negotiating Sacred Terrain: The Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Samothrace

(The lecture was postponed due to CWRU restrictions on large gatherings during the current COVID surge)

Bonna D. Wescoat, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History, Emory University; Director of Excavations in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Samothrace

The Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace is a physically remarkable place, whose   expansion from a regional to international center in the late 4th to 2nd centuries BCE bore witness to the urgency—and perceived efficacy—of the cultic promises offered its initiates. Investigations reaching back to the 15th century have revealed an extraordinary array of novel buildings, remarkable monuments, royal dedicatory inscriptions, and lists recording participants in the mysteria and annual festival. Our work approaches this rich material record through the powerful environmental factors underlying it and the human actions through which it was determined and experienced. In this lecture, I present how recent research privileging the interaction of landscape, architecture, movement, and materials, along with the use of 3D modeling, has helped to reshape our understanding of the Sanctuary as well as provide new insights into the famous Winged Victory of Samothrace.