Theater and Dionysiac Cult on Samothrace and Its Peraia | January 2022 (126.1)



This article examines the material remains related to theater and the cult of Dionysos on the island of Samothrace and its peraia (the coastal zone opposite the island, between Maroneia and Ainos) in combination with the written sources. The study first assesses the overall extent of Dionysiac presence and particularly the existence of theaters and theater-related artifacts in the heart of Aegean Thrace during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Second, the article offers a fresh examination of select portable finds and the Hellenistic theater in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in relation to the developments at the Samothracian Peraia. The argument is made that in addition to the widely diffused Dionysiac cult and the overall Macedonian expansion, a decisive factor for the development of theater in the area can be traced in the local histories and the competition be­tween waning and rising political centers, and that the construction of the monumental theater on Samothrace was the result of the strong theater tradition on the opposite coast.

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