A sanctuary of
the Kabeiroi situated about 8 km W of Thebes on the
Thebes-Levadia road. Before the crossroads going to
Vagia, Leondari, and Thespies there is a bypath that leads
to the site.
The origin of these deities is still unknown. Pausanias
says nothing about their nature or their mysteries
(9.25.5), merely stating that, according to the Thebans,
there was a city whose inhabitants were called Kabeiroi.
Demeter, who came to the region, revealed some mystery
to Prometheus, one of the Kabeiroi, and Aetnaios, his
son. Pausanias could not disclose Demeter's words. The
mysteries were one of Demeter's gifts to the Kabeiroi,
who had been chased out of their country by the Argives.
Demeter's wrath toward men was implacable, as was
shown by the punishment of the Persians who came with
Mardonios and dared to enter their temple and pillage it,
and later, after Alexander seized Thebes, when the Macedonians who had entered the sanctuary of the Kabeiroi
were all killed by thunderbolts. The Kabeiroi were said
to be guardians of vines and the fertility of animals (over
1400 representations of animals have been found, also
over 700 representations of the pais, either the son or an
The sanctuary was discovered in 1887-88 and excavation was resumed in 1955 and the years following. Today
the remains of a rectangular temple have been located,
the earliest traces dating to the 6th c. It was followed by
two more monuments oriented E-W. A theater of the
Hellenistic period was built in the axis of this temple
(orchestra: 26 m in diameter). It had no skene, but had
10 kerkides as well as an altar in the middle of the orchestra. The diameter of the theatron is 60 m. Southeast
of the theater is a stoa (40 x 6 m) which may possibly
have been used in the cult. A circular building from the
4th c., between the stoa and the temple, may have been
used for sacrifices.
There was also a Sacred Grove of Demeter Kabeiria
and Kore, where Demeter is supposed to have revealed
According to Pausanias (9.22
), just near the center of
the city of Anthedon NE of Thebes there was a sanctuary
of the Kabeiroi related to a cult of Demeter and Kore.
F. Chapouthier, Les Dioscures au service d'une déesse
(1936) 155, 170, 175 & n. 2; P. Wolters & Gerda Bruns, Das Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben
; B. Hemberg, “Die Kabiren” (diss., Upsala
1950); M. P. Nilsson, Gesch. gr. Relig
. I (2d ed. 1955);
H. P. Drögemiiller, Gymnasium
68 (1961) 219-22MP
Gerda Bruns, “Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben,” Arch.Anz
; (1967) 228-73MIP
, ed. N.
Papachatzis (1969) v 150-59.