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