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The Eleusinian Mysteries: An Unresolved Ancient Greek Puzzle

Friday, October 28, 2016 17:09
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The Eleusinian Mysteries: An Unresolved Ancient Greek Puzzle

To this day the Eleusinian mysteries remains a subject enveloped by broken pieces of information, creating great controversy among historians who work under heavy assumptions while trying to puzzle out this ancient tradition. Complete details involving the rites and celebrations which took place during the mysteries were marked by a sworn oath of secrecy by the initiated and, therefore, vanished from our knowledge. In that respect, what do we know about the mysteries and what are the speculations involving it? Although modern Historians still argue about different aspects regarding this mystic ritual, some ideas are often accepted among them, which are understood by the testimonials of the initiated.

In Ancient Greece, the town of Eleusis, situated west of Athens, became the most important religious center of the pagan world during its time. According to the old belief and relates in the Homeric Hymn, Demeter (goddess of agriculture) stopped to rest at Eleusis during her quest for her daughter, Persephone, who was kidnaped by Hades. There, Demeter ordered a temple and altar to be built in her honor. After the joyful reunion of the goddess with the missing Persephone, she instructed the leaders of Eleusis in how to perform her rites. The cult, then, is believed to have been taught directly by Demeter herself.   

Demeter with her daughter by her side.

Demeter with her daughter by her side. (Public Domain)

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