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Cyclades; 150 BC
Tetradrachm
In Greek mythology, the Kabiri were a group of enigmatic chthonic (underworld) deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace —at the Samothrace temple complex— and at Thebes. They were most commonly depicted as two people: an old man, Axiocersus, and his son, Cadmilus. Due to the cult's secrecy, however, their exact nature and relationship with other ancient Greek and Thracian religious figures remained mysterious. As a result, the membership and roles of the Kabeiri changed significantly over time, with common variants including a female pair (Axierus and Axiocersa) and twin youths who were frequently confused with Castor and Pollux, who were also worshiped as protectors of sailors. The number of Kabiri also varied, with some accounts citing four (often a pair of males and a pair of females) of them, and some even more, such as a tribe or whole race of Kabiri. Obverse Demeter wearing a triple pendant earring and a wreath with grain. Reverse depicts the two Cabiri, naked except for cloaks over their shoulders, each with his head surmounted by a star and a spear in his hand. The monogram AY is in the lower right. The whole side is within a laurel wreath. ΘΕΩΝ ΚΑΒΕΙΡΩΝ ΣΥΡΙΩΝ.
Mint: Syros
Provenance: Courtesy Gemini Numismatic Auctions, LLC

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