Thassos Cave of Pan

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Location: Limenas

Thassos Cave of Pan: The sanctuary of Pan, the goat-god, is situated in the area of the ancient town of Thassos, close to Limenas. It is actually a small cave and a depiction of god Pan in bas-relief, playing his piccolo and resting lazily, can be seen inside. This engraving, which is thought to belong to circa 4 B.C., has over the years faded out but the brilliant portrayal can still be distinguished.

Pan is the Greek god of the fields, the wild and he is the supreme shepherd. He has the torso of a man and the legs, haunches, and horns of a goat. Pan is also associated with music. According to a myth, he once challenged the great god Apollo to see who was a better musician. However, the pipes of Pan were no match for Apollo's lyre and the latter was proclaimed the winner.

The goat-god is closely associated with eroticism and his amorous tales with both male and female beings are well-known myths. One of the stories tells of how he invented his favorite instrument, the Pan Pipe or else Pan Flute. As the story says, Pan had fallen madly in love with the water nymph Syrinx who would dismiss all his lustful advances. To save herself from Pan, Syrinx was turned into a water cane.

Pan did not know which cane Syrinx had been turned into but what he heard left him ecstatic: the wind as it blew through the canes created beautiful music. Enchanted with the sound of music and still numbed with thoughts about beautiful Syrinx, Pan chopped of seven or nine of the canes and carried them back with him. Thenceforth, he created the Pan Pipe which gave him the sweet music of the canes and also reminded him of the beauty of Syrinx.

Yet another story that is attributed to Pan's amorous ways is the story of Echo, a nymph with extraordinary expertise in singing and dancing. She was not interested in any man and Pan, failing to have her, had her torn into little pieces and scattered all over the earth. Perhaps this is why the reverberation of a voice is called an echo, since her voice was all that had remained, calling out all over the world.

In ancient times, Pan used to be a follower of Dionysus and represented free sexual activity, drinking wine and revelry. His cultivation was widely spread in the antiquity and continued till the Roman times.



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