Skip to main content

Samothraki and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods

Last Autumn I visited the small island of Samothraki, Greece in the northeastern Aegean Sea. The island is beautiful with rocky beaches, mountains, dense forests, and natural waterfalls all packed into a small space.

View Larger Map

But, what initially drew my attention to it was the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Alexander the Great's mother and father met there during a initiation. I wanted to find out if there were any links between modern-day Masonic ceremonies and the ritual initiations performed there. The site is beautiful!

The layout doesn't fit with the east-west layout of today's lodges. Almost every building on the site was situated north-south. Of course, with the gorgeous views of the sea to the north, who could blame them!

This site of temples and meeting halls is also where the "Winged Victory" statue was found.

The statue "Winged Victory", which now resides in the Louvre was found on Samothraki and recently featured in the movie Angel-A.

But, back to Masonic connections. It just doesn't look like there are any. While researching Masonic rites for a series of articles on National Treasure: Book of Secrets, I came across the following diagram from the Entered Apprentice degree that jogged my memory

Notice the circle in the center with the square and right angled bolded lines above it. Now, take a look at the rotunda at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods where initiations were performed.

The raised structure within the rotunda is reminiscent of the thick lines around the square in the diagram! That's it. What do you think? Does anyone else have any information? If you do, your comments are welcome!


Anonymous said…
Where did you find the diagram.I would like to see the whole page to get the whole idea. Its amazing and beautiful.
Hamilton said…
Thanks for the comment! The page is from a Masonic Lodge Monitor. You can find a picture of the whole page at:

Click on the picture for a bigger version.

Popular posts from this blog

Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla

to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.

What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:

2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:

3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:

How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

Lost Phone

We were incredibly lucky to have both been in university settings when our kids were born.  When No. 1 arrived, we were both still grad students.  Not long after No. 2 arrived, (about 10 days to be exact), mom-person defended her dissertation and gained the appellation prependage Dr. 

While there are lots of perks attendant to grad school, not the least of them phenomenal health insurance, that’s not the one that’s come to mind for me just now.  The one I’m most grateful for at the moment with respect to our kids was the opportunities for sheer independence.  Most days, we’d meet for lunch on the quad of whatever university we were hanging out at at the time, (physics research requires a bit of travel), to eat lunch.  During those lunches, the kids could crawl, toddle, or jog off into the distance.  There were no roads, and therefore no cars.  And, I realize now with a certain wistful bliss I had no knowledge of at the time, there were also very few people at hand that new what a baby…

Lab Book 2014_07_10 More NaI Characterization

Summary: Much more plunking around with the NaI detector and sources today.  A Pb shield was built to eliminate cosmic ray muons as well as potassium 40 radiation from the concreted building.  The spectra are much cleaner, but still don't have the count rates or distinctive peaks that are expected.
New to the experiment?  Scroll to the bottom to see background and get caught up.
Lab Book Threshold for the QVT is currently set at -1.49 volts.  Remember to divide this by 100 to get the actual threshold voltage. A new spectrum recording the lines of all three sources, Cs 137, Co 60, and Sr 90, was started at approximately 10:55. Took data for about an hour.
Started the Cs 137 only spectrum at about 11:55 AM

Here’s the no-source background from yesterday
In comparison, here’s the 3 source spectrum from this morning.

The three source spectrum shows peak structure not exhibited by the background alone. I forgot to take scope pictures of the Cs137 run. I do however, have the printout, and…