Chapter

Eleusinian Festivals

Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.003.0016
Eleusinian Festivals

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The Mysteries were, and are, the most famous festival in ancient Greece. Huge throngs usually went from Athens to Eleusis for the Mysteries, raising the iakchos (mystic chant) cry on the way. Visitors came for the single, all-glorious festival, but the Mysteries need to be put in a broader context. Other festivals of Demeter and Kore were also celebrated at Eleusis, several of them with involvement of the same sacred personnel who had central roles at the Mysteries. The Eleusinia contains not only competitions but also sacrifices. Another Eleusinian festival is the Haloa, which apparently occurred at Eleusis only, with the priestess of Demeter as a possible main celebrant, and expenses met from the funds of the goddesses. Another Eleusinian festival is Proerosia, whereby a pre-ploughing sacrifice was celebrated in various demes of Attica but the rite at Eleusis was the most prestigious.

Keywords: festivals; ancient Athens; competitions; sacrifices; Attica; Eleusinia; Eleusis; goddesses; cults

Chapter.  24487 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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