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ELEUSIS The settlement of Eleusis was founded in ca. 2000 B.C. on the slopes of the hill, and during the Mycenaean period it developed into a large fortified.

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Presentation on theme: "ELEUSIS The settlement of Eleusis was founded in ca. 2000 B.C. on the slopes of the hill, and during the Mycenaean period it developed into a large fortified."— Presentation transcript:

1 ELEUSIS The settlement of Eleusis was founded in ca B.C. on the slopes of the hill, and during the Mycenaean period it developed into a large fortified settlement, mostly due to its strategic position. During this period the cult of Demeter was introduced, as the worship of a deity connected to nature and the growing of cereals. The continuity of Demeter's cult is attested until Roman times, by the erection of successive temples on the east side of the hill. In the 8th century B.C. the sanctuary aquired a panhellenic character, and in the time of Solon, the Eleusinian Mysteries were established as one of the most important Athenian festivals. During the tyranny of Peisitratos the sanctuary and the settlement were enclosed with a massive fortification wall reinforced with towers. Splendid buildings were erected during the Classical and Roman periods, but with the spread of Christianity and especially after the invasion of the Ostrogoths, the sanctuary was abandoned. The settlement of Eleusis was founded in ca B.C. on the slopes of the hill, and during the Mycenaean period it developed into a large fortified settlement, mostly due to its strategic position. During this period the cult of Demeter was introduced, as the worship of a deity connected to nature and the growing of cereals. The continuity of Demeter's cult is attested until Roman times, by the erection of successive temples on the east side of the hill. In the 8th century B.C. the sanctuary aquired a panhellenic character, and in the time of Solon, the Eleusinian Mysteries were established as one of the most important Athenian festivals. During the tyranny of Peisitratos the sanctuary and the settlement were enclosed with a massive fortification wall reinforced with towers. Splendid buildings were erected during the Classical and Roman periods, but with the spread of Christianity and especially after the invasion of the Ostrogoths, the sanctuary was abandoned.

2 TELESTERION=Temple of Demeter The Telesterion itself was unique compared to any other Greek temple. Its seats were cut into the rock itself, and it was designed to hold the large number of initiates in the darkness so that they would experience the "things said, things done, and things revealed." The Telesterion itself was unique compared to any other Greek temple. Its seats were cut into the rock itself, and it was designed to hold the large number of initiates in the darkness so that they would experience the "things said, things done, and things revealed." The Telesterion does not have the columns and sculpture we associate with Greek sacred architecture. The Telesterion does not have the columns and sculpture we associate with Greek sacred architecture. Large square hall with six entrances, two on each of the three sides, and eight tiers of seats along all of the four sides, where the initiates sat (only their foundations are preserved today). The centre of the hall was occupied by the "megaron", the adyton of the Eleusenian cult, where only the hierophantes (the high priest) was allowed to enter in order to perform the mysteric rites. Several architectural phases are distinguished in the building, dated from the 5th century B.C. until the 2nd century A.D. Large square hall with six entrances, two on each of the three sides, and eight tiers of seats along all of the four sides, where the initiates sat (only their foundations are preserved today). The centre of the hall was occupied by the "megaron", the adyton of the Eleusenian cult, where only the hierophantes (the high priest) was allowed to enter in order to perform the mysteric rites. Several architectural phases are distinguished in the building, dated from the 5th century B.C. until the 2nd century A.D.

3 Telesterion _Demeters temple= Eleusis, plan and reconstruction

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6 Reconstruction of the entrance to the Eleusis precinct (left) what survives now- Built in Roman times

7 Eleusinian Mysteries The Eleusinian Mysteries were a cult associated with the god Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The cult rites were performed at Eleusis because it was there, according to the myths, that Demeter found her daughter again after Persephone had been carried off by HADES. Though the Mysteries may have been performed earlier, it was during the Classical period that they attained a special place in the religious life of Athens. The Eleusinian Mysteries were a cult associated with the god Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The cult rites were performed at Eleusis because it was there, according to the myths, that Demeter found her daughter again after Persephone had been carried off by HADES. Though the Mysteries may have been performed earlier, it was during the Classical period that they attained a special place in the religious life of Athens.cult ritescult rites There are frequent references to the Mysteries in ancient writers, inscriptions, prosopographies of priests, and art. Yet the precise reconstruction of the rite and its philosophical underlay is extremely difficult. The basic reason for this is that a veil of secrecy surrounded the proceedings, inasmuch as the initiates pledged themselves not to make them common knowledge. Hints can be gleaned from Plutarch, when he refers in his Life of Alcibiades to an attempt - "sacrilegious and ill-tuned " - he and some friends had made to copy the Eleusinian Mysteries and guy them in the privacy of their homes. From the archaeological data we have details about the place and the building in which the Mysteries were celebrated - the great Telesterium at Eleusis. There are frequent references to the Mysteries in ancient writers, inscriptions, prosopographies of priests, and art. Yet the precise reconstruction of the rite and its philosophical underlay is extremely difficult. The basic reason for this is that a veil of secrecy surrounded the proceedings, inasmuch as the initiates pledged themselves not to make them common knowledge. Hints can be gleaned from Plutarch, when he refers in his Life of Alcibiades to an attempt - "sacrilegious and ill-tuned " - he and some friends had made to copy the Eleusinian Mysteries and guy them in the privacy of their homes. From the archaeological data we have details about the place and the building in which the Mysteries were celebrated - the great Telesterium at Eleusis.Telesterium at Eleusis

8 The festival of the Mysteria took place every year in the month Boedromion (late September). Organizing it was the privilege of two famous clans: the Eumolpids and the Kerykes. The hierophant - the person presiding over the secret rites - was always a Eumolpid; while the dadouchos (torchholder) - who played a key part in the process of initiation - and the hierokeryx (sacred herald) were always Kerykes. The female priest of Demeter worked closely together with the hierophant, residing permanently in the shrine of Eleusis. The festival of the Mysteria took place every year in the month Boedromion (late September). Organizing it was the privilege of two famous clans: the Eumolpids and the Kerykes. The hierophant - the person presiding over the secret rites - was always a Eumolpid; while the dadouchos (torchholder) - who played a key part in the process of initiation - and the hierokeryx (sacred herald) were always Kerykes. The female priest of Demeter worked closely together with the hierophant, residing permanently in the shrine of Eleusis.

9 Votive clay tablet of Ninnius, with scenes of Eleusinian worship. (Bottom): Iacchus leading the initiates to Demeter in the preliminary stage of the Eleusinian Mysteries. (Top): Persephone leading the initiates to Demeter at the 'Mysteries-in-the- Fields'. First half of the fourth [4th] century B.C. Athens, National Archaeological Museum Votive clay tablet of Ninnius, with scenes of Eleusinian worship. (Bottom): Iacchus leading the initiates to Demeter in the preliminary stage of the Eleusinian Mysteries. (Top): Persephone leading the initiates to Demeter at the 'Mysteries-in-the- Fields'. First half of the fourth [4th] century B.C. Athens, National Archaeological Museum


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