Sándor Krasznai

Sándor Krasznai was a Hungarian athlete and constructor. Born in Újpest, he graduated from the Budapest University of Economics. One of the leading javelin throwers in the 1950s in Hungary, he designed his own javelins with them he won six national titles. In 1955 he broke the Hungarian record twice. A year he was present at the Summer Olympics in Melbourne, he passed the 66 metres qualifying limit with his second throw in the qualifying round and advanced to the final on the fifteenth place. In the final round he moved up to places to come thirteenth with a 66.33 metres throw. After his retirement from professional sport, Krasznai took a coaching position by Újpesti Dózsa, he trained among others Sándor Boros, Viktória Fekete and Zsuzsa Malovecz, all of whom became Hungarian champions in javelin throw. From 1957 Krasznai worked for electronics manufacturer Tungsram, first as design engineer and as main constructor. In 1990 he contributed to the development of a Miklós Németh designed javelin, the Flying Fantasy.

He died in March 2009, aged 77

Samothrace temple complex

The Samothrace Temple Complex, known as the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, is one of the principal Pan-Hellenic religious sanctuaries, located on the island of Samothrace within the larger Thrace. Built to the west of the ramparts of the city of Samothrace, it was nonetheless independent, as attested to by the dispatch of city ambassadors during festivals, it was celebrated throughout Ancient Greece for its Mystery religion. Numerous famous people were initiates, including the historian Herodotus, one of few authors to have left behind a few clues to the nature of the mysteries, the Spartan leader Lysander, numerous Athenians; the temple complex is mentioned by Aristophanes. During the Hellenistic period, after the investiture of Phillip II, it formed a Macedonian national sanctuary where the successors to Alexander the Great vied to outdo each other's munificence, it remained an important religious site throughout the Roman period. Hadrian visited, Varro described the mysteries; the cult fades from history towards the end of Late Antiquity, when the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire.

The identity and nature of the deities venerated at the sanctuary remains enigmatic, in large part because it was taboo to pronounce their names. Literary sources from antiquity refer to them under the collective name of "Cabeiri", while they carry the simpler epithet of Gods or Great Gods, a title or state of being rather than the actual name, on inscriptions found on the site; the Pantheon of the Great Gods consists of numerous chthonic deities predating the arrival of Greek colonists on the island in the 7th century BC, congregating around one central figure – the Great Mother. The Great Mother, a goddess depicted on Samothracian coinage as a seated woman, with a lion at her side, her original secret name was Axiéros. She is associated with the Anatolian Great Mother, the Phrygian Mount, the Trojan Mother Goddess of Mount Ida; the Greeks associated her with the fertility goddess Demeter. The Great Mother is the all-powerful mistress of the wild world of the mountains, venerated on sacred rocks where sacrifices and offerings were made to her.

In the sanctuary of Samothrace, these altars correspond to porphyry outcroppings of various colours. For her faithful, her power manifested itself in veins of magnetic iron, from which they fashioned rings that initiates wore as signs of recognition. A number of these rings were recovered from the tombs in the neighbouring necropolis. Hecate, under the name of Zerynthia, Aphrodite-Zerynthia, two important nature goddesses, are venerated at Samothrace, their cult having been distanced from that of the Great Mother and more identified with deities more familiar to the Greeks. Kadmilos, the spouse of Axiéros, is a fertility god identified by the Greeks as Hermes. Two other masculine deities accompany Kadmilos; these may correspond to the two legendary heroes who founded the Samothracean mysteries: the brothers Dardanos and Iasion. They are associated by the Greeks with the Dioscuri, divine twins popular as protectors of mariners in distress. A pair of underworld deities and Axiokersa, are identified to Hades and Persephone, but do not appear to be part of the original group of pre-Hellenic deities.

The legend of the rape of the goddess of fertility by the god of the underworld plays a part in the sacred dramas celebrated at Samothrace. During a period this same myth was associated with that of the marriage of Cadmos and Harmony due to a similarity of names to Kadmilos and Electra; the whole of the sanctuary was open to all who wished to worship the Great Gods, although access to buildings consecrated to the mysteries was understood to be reserved for initiates. These rituals and ceremonies were presided over by the priestess in service to the people; the head priestess, a prophetess, was titled a Sybil, or Cybele. The most common rituals were indistinguishable from practice at other Greek sanctuaries. Prayer and supplications accompanied by blood sacrifices of domestic animals burnt in sacred hearths, as well as libations made to the chthonic deities in circular or rectangular ritual pits. A large number of rock altars were used, the largest of, surrounded by a monumental enclosure at the end of the 4th century BC.

The major annual festival, which drew envoys to the island from throughout the Greek world took place in mid-July. It consisted of the presentation of a sacred play. During this era the belief arose that the search for the missing maiden, followed by her marriage to the god of the underworld, represented the marriage of Cadmos and Harmonia; the frieze on which the Temenos is indicated may be an allusion to this marriage. Around 200 BC, a Dionysian competition was added to the festival, facilitated by the construction of a theatre opposite the great altar. According to local myth, it is in this era that the city of Samothrace honoured a poet of Iasos in Caria for having composed the tragedy Dardanos and having effected other acts of good will around the island