Eleusis

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Eleusis

(ĭlo͞o`sĭs), ancient city of Attica, Greece, 12 mi (20 km) NW of Athens. Through ancient times it was the seat of the Eleusinian MysteriesEleusinian Mysteries
, principal religious mysteries of ancient Greece. The mysteries may have originated as part of an early agrarian festival peculiar to certain families in Eleusis. The Athenians later (c.600 B.C.) took over the ceremonies.
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. There was a large temple to Demeter. The Eleusinian games, also held there, were not connected with the mysteries. Excavation of the cemetery began in 1952; graves were found that date from the 7th and 8th cent. B.C. The temple and a type of theater with rock-cut seats for about 3,000 spectators were uncovered near the modern village of Eleusis.

Eleusis

 

a city in Attica, Greece, 22 km west of Athens.

Eleusis was settled in the Neolithic age; in the second millennium B.C. it was the capital of one of the Achaean states. The existing remains of defensive walls, a palace, a royal tomb, and burials of nobles indicate the important role of Eleusis in the 16th to 12th centuries B.C In the first millennium B.C the city was the center of the cult of Demeter and Persephone and the place where the Eleusinian mysteries were celebrated.

Excavations begun in 1882 uncovered a section of the Sacred Way leading from Athens to Eleusis and the remains of sanctuaries dating from the sixth century B.C. to the third century A.D. Architectural monuments and complexes have been only partially preserved. They include a necropolis with tholi and a megaron (both from the 15th—13th centuries B.C.); a sanctuary containing the ruins of telesterions (meeting halls for the mystery cult), built one above another in the age of Pericles (principal architect Ictinus) and under other rulers; the Small Propylaea (c. 40 B.C.); the Great Propylaea (second half of the second century A.D.); and Roman structures—two triumphal arches and the Temple of Artemis.

Aeschylus was born in Eleusis circa 525 B.C In A.D. 396 the city was destroyed by the Goths. An archaeological museum is located in Eleusis.

REFERENCES

Noack, F. Eleusis, vols. 1–2. Berlin-Leipzig, 1927.
Kourouniotes, K. Eleusis: A Guide to the Excavations and Museum. Athens, 1934.
Mylonas, G. E. Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Princeton, 1961.

Eleusis

a town in Greece, in Attica about 23 km (14 miles) west of Athens, of which it is now an industrial suburb
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But in its remarks on the Eleusinian mysteries and the cults of the Cabiri, Trophonios, and Mithras, it illustrates the extent of Yourcenar's academic knowledge and allows its reader to appreciate how and why she had written of the mysteries in Memoires as she did.
In the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiates are similarly given a special psychoactive drink of barley and pennyroyal called kykeon, taken in the Telesterion where certain hiera (sacred objects) are revealed to them, as they recite, "I have fasted.
39) When Themistius of Aphidna assaulted (hubrizein) a Rhodian lyre player at the Eleusinian festival, he suffered a capital sentence (Dinarchus, In Demosth.
In Metamorphoses, Ovid addresses the child-god Iacchus as puer aeternus, praising him for his role in the Eleusinian mysteries.
And, as Marie Marianetti suggests in Religion and Politics in Aristophanes' Clouds, Aristophanes also took the "opportunity [in The Clouds] to caricature the cult-based, religio-philosophical views of the Pythagoreans," the "mystery cults, with the exception of the Eleusinian mysteries, [being] foreign in origin, style, and spirit.
His perspectives include tragic worlds: narrating the Athenian polis; death is death is death: narrating a world of perennial suffering; mythological intertextuality: Alcestic and Heracles; and death is death is life: Eleusinian Orphism and moral courage.
At the outset, Lucius prays to Venus and Ceres and Proserpine, the tutelary deities of the Eleusinian mysteries, to restore his human form.
Here we might think him mastered by the spell Of Dionysus, lately intertwined With winnowing-fans and a new clientele Mad keen for any psychotropic smell Of Eleusinian mysteries.
The story may be read as a perverse revisiting of the Eleusinian mysteries as initiation ceremonies for the cult of Demeter and Persephone, the disrupted nuptials and the resonance of the economic with human sacrifice.
The discipline of hermeneutics is symbolically associated with the god Hermes, an expert at deciphering riddles and assisting successive steps of initiation, which made him become patron of the Eleusinian mysteries in ancient Greece.
Addressing his lover, the poet calls on her to join him in observing the ancient rituals, the Eleusinian mysteries: "Lass uns beide das Fest im stillen freudig begehen
Stages or Initiation in the Eleusinian and Samothracian Mysteries" in Creek Mysteries: The Archaeology and Ritual of Ancient Greek Secret Cults.