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33 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Eleusis occupied a strategic location on the Bay of Eleusis near Athens

not very vulnerable to attack by sea thanks to its geography, and was accessible to major population centers
wars in athens
Early in the second millennium B.C.E., there were one or more wars between Eleusis and Athens

Eleusis fell into the sphere of Athenian influence
Mycenaean Age, 1500-1100 B.C.E.
village was expanded

the cult of Demeter was likely established
Megaron B
the original Temple of Demeter

dates to Mycenaean Age

it exists above the Kallichoron, the well above which the Homeric Hymn specifies that the temple was built

Fortification walls probably were built during this time period
In the second half of the seventh century B.C.E., during the Archaic period

soon the Athenian leader Solon managed to retake it (he and future Athenian leaders made improvements to the telesterion (temple))
the Persians
Eleusis remained under constant Athenian control until the Persian Wars of the fifth century

then the Persians destroyed most of the city and sanctuary by fire
the Athenians regain control
Once the Persians were defeated, Kimon, a leading Athenian statesman and general rebuilt the sanctuary and rebuilt the Telesterion using much of the remains of the Peisistratean Telesterion
2nd independence
During the confusion of a period of general civil war in Attica Eleusis briefly declared its independence

soon brought back under Athenian influence and saw a period of great expansion
the Romans
Romans took over Eleusis several centuries later

greatly expanded the sanctuary and incorporated it into their own religion

Many important Romans, such as Augustus himself, took part in the Mysteries
the Eleusinian Mysteries
one of the most important religious festivals in the Greek/Roman world

they were secret rites and could not be told to non-initiates (so we don't kno much)

The Greeks believed that the goddess herself doled out the punishments

Many specialized officials were needed to preside over the Mysteries, a good indication of how well-developed and important they were
the Archon Basileus (an Athenian magistrate)
him and several of his assistants were in charge of the non-religious aspects of the celebration
the Hierophant (chief religious official)
the high priest at Eleusis for life

He was the one who revealed the Hiera (Sacred Objects) to initiates

The Hierophant alone could decide whether to reject a potential initiate

He could marry, but during the celebration, he had to be chaste

In Roman times, he was a hieronymos, meaning that his name could not be uttered under the threat of severe punishment

was always from the family of the Eumolpids, the family descended from Eumolpus, the mythical ruler of Eleusis who appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter
Hierophantides (two priestesses)
one for Demeter and one for Persephone

They too had the privilege of hieronymy, were from the family of the Eumolpids, and held their positions for life

The Priestess of Demeter belonged to the family of the Eumolpids or the Philleidae, and lived in the Sacred House at Eleusis. She held the office for life and her name was used to date events and inscriptions. She even had the license to dispute with the Hierophant over sacrificial procedures.
Priestesses Panageis (women ministers)
though their role is uncertain

have the privilege of being allowed to touch the Hiera (sacred objects...we don't really know what they are)
the torchbearer
the herald of the initiates
Priest at the Altar
responsible for the sacrifice of animals
man who cleaned the statues of the gods
who purified the initiates with water
who was in charge of the cleaning and decorating of the sanctuary
young boy or girl
rom an aristocratic Athenian family was voted to be initiated at the State's expense

"altar boy"
there were also numerous other priests and priestesses responsible for the singing involved in the celebration
the mysteries
The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries were a set of rites, surrounded by a major multi-day festival, which show numerous ties to the tale of Demeter and Persephone told in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter

held once each year over nine days, partly in Athens, partly in Eleusis

Initiates came from all over the Greek and later the Roman world

Messengers from Eleusis proclaimed a holy truce in Greek city-states lasting fifty-five days

The Eleusinian Mysteries lasted for well over a millennium and had countless initiates. The Mysteries probably ceased to be celebrated in 396 A.D. with the destruction of the sanctuary at Eleusis and the Eleusinion at Athens by Alaric and the Visigoths.
the day before the first official day
a procession carried the so-called "Hiera," mysterious "holy things" whose nature is unknown, from Eleusis to Athens after preliminary sacrifices

The procession would stop to rest at the Sacred Fig Tree, where according to later legend Demeter stopped to rest and was cared for by Phylatos

As a reward, she gave him the fig tree

The procession then went from Athens to the city Eleusinion, the temple of Demeter in Athens, near the Acropolis.
day 1

On the first official day of the Mysteries, the Archon Basileus summoned the people to the Agora (marketplace) of Athens and, in the presence of the Hierophant and the Dadouchos, read a proclamation calling forth the initiates. Those who were forbidden from participating included those who had committed homicide, barbarians (after the Persian Wars), and those who could not understand Greek. Those admitted could enter the Eleusinion after washing their hands in lustral water at the door.
day 2

On the second day the participants walked to the sea near Athens and cleansed themselves and a small pig. Upon returning to the city, participants sacrificed the pig.
day 3

The activities of the third day, the Day of Sacrifices, are not certain, but it is likely that on this day the Archon Basileus made sacrifices on behalf of Athens, and then theories (delegations) sent to Athens for the occasion made sacrifices on behalf of their home cities.
day 4

The fourth day was called Asklepia to commemorate the late purification of the god Asklepios. Tradition states that the god arrived at Athens a day late for his purification. However, the purification rites were repeated so that he could be properly initiated into the Mysteries. On this day, those participants who arrived late are purified. Those who had already been purified stayed home that day and probably received further instructions.
day 5

The fifth day was known as Pompe, or "procession." Officials, initiates, and sponsors proceeded to Eleusis from Athens on foot, a distance of 14 miles, though in the fourth century B.C.E. the rich customarily rode in carriages. A young intiatePriests and the Hiera also began riding in carriages at about this time. At the head of the procession was a statue of Iacchos, the personification of the excitement and noise of the procession.

After the initiates had crossed the bridge of the river Rheitoi, an event known as the "krokosis" took place, named for the legendary Krokos, the first inhabitant of the region. Here, his descendants would tie a woolen "kroke," a saffron-colored ribbon, around the right hand and the left leg of each initiate. Though the purpose of this is not clear, it definitely gave the initiates a chance to rest until sunset, when the procession continued.

Once the procession reached the river Kephisos, men with covered heads, known as "gephyrismoi," waited to hurl insults, jeers, mockery, and abuse at initiates -- among whom were included important citizens of Athens! The purpose of this action is opaque, but perhaps it was to humble these citizens, or vet them so that evil spirits could not affect them. In any case this aspect of the ritual echoes a vulgarized evolution of the soothing jokes of Iambe (lines 194-205). Finally, upon the arrival of the procession, many dances and festivities were held for the excited initiates before the people dispersed to rest for the night.
day 6

At this point, the details of the Mysteries become much less clear due to their secretive nature. The sixth day, called the Telete, or "rites," was probably a day of fasting and purification. Kernoi (lamps) from Eleusis The fasting was probably broken by the drinking of the kykeon, a potion commemorating the Demeter's refusal to drink red wine. (lines 208-9) Further sacrifices were made by the Archon Basileus before the final initiation began. (lines 368-9) We know little of this part of the Mysteries, as the ancient sources tell us only that it consisted of "things enacted," probably a sacred pageant telling the tale of Demeter and Persephone, "things said," probably a series of brief liturgical or invocational statements, and "things shown," probably the Hiera and other objects, though again, we cannot be certain.
day 7

was probably spent resting in preparation for the initiate's final night in the Telesterion
day 8

mostly for libations to the dead, though there were probably many festivities that day, as well
day 9

The ninth day was the return to Athens and the close of the festival. On the day following, the Archon Basileus and his assistants reported to the Athenian ruling assembly at the Eleusinion on the proceedings and recommended legal action against anyone who had acted impiously. At this point, initiates had no further obligation to the cult and could resume living their lives as they pleased.