Chief priest of the Eleusinian mysteries, was chosen for life from the clan of the Eumolpidae. He was distinguished by a head‐band, myrtle wreath, and a robe probably of purple, and like many priests he carried a sceptre. Among Athenian priests he was the most revered. An impressive, melodious voice was an important requirement for appointment. Before the celebration he sent out heralds to proclaim truce for the period of the mysteries. He opened the ceremonies with a proclamation that barbarians (unlikely to know much Greek), murderers, and those defiled must keep away. In presenting the mysteries to the initiates he was assisted by the dadouchos, ‘torchbearer’.
Subjects: Classical Studies.