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453

ELEUSINIA.

At the time when the local governments of the several townships of Attica were concentrated at Athens, the capital became also* the centre of reli­gion, and several deities who had hitherto only en­joyed a local worship, were now raised to the rank of national gods. This seems- also to have been-the case with the Eleusinian goddess, for in the reign of Theseus we find mention, of a temple at Athens, called Eleusinion (Thucyd. ii. 17), pro­bably the new and national sanctuary of Demeter. Her priests and priestesses now became naturally attached to the national temple of the capital, though her original place of worship at Eleusis, with which so many sacred associations were con­nected, still retained its importance and its special share in the celebration of the national solemnities ; and though, as we shall see hereafter, the great Eleusinian festival was commenced at Athens, yet a, numerous procession always went, on a certain 'day, to Eleusis: it was here that the most solemn part of the sacred rites was performed.

We must distinguish between the greater Eleu­sinia which were celebrated at Athens and Eleusis, and the lesser which were held at Agrae on the Ilissus. (Steph. Byz» s> v. "Aypa.} From the tra­dition respecting the institution of the lesser Eleu­sinia, it seems to be clear, that the initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries was originally confined to Atticans only ; for it is said that Heracles, before descending into the lower world, wished to be ini­tiated, but a& the law did not admit strangers, the lesser Eleusinia were instituted in order to evade the law, and not to disappoint the-great benefactor, of Attica. (Schol. ad Aristopli. Plut. 846.) Other legends concerning the initiation of Heracles do not mention the lesser Eleusinia, but merely state that he was adopted into the family of one Pylius, in order to become lawfully intitled to the initia­tion. But both traditions in reality express the same tiling, if we suppose that the initiation of Heracles was only the first stage in- the real ini­tiation ; for the lesser Eleusinia were in reality only a preparation (irpoKaOapcris^ or 7rpo«yz/6v<m) for the real mysteries. (Schol. ad Aristopli. I. c.) After the time when the lesser Eleusinia are said to have been instituted, we no langer hear of the exclusion of any one from the mysteries, except barbarians; and Herodotus (viii. 65) expressly states, that any Greek who wished it, might be initiated. The lesser Eleusinia were held every year in the month of Anthesterion (Plut. Demetr. 26), and, according- to some accounts, in honour of Persephone alone. Those who were initiated in them bore the name of mystae (nvcrrai, Suidas, s. v. sE7r^7TT?7s), and had to wait at least another year before they could be admitted to the great mys­teries. The principal rites of this first stage of initiation consisted in the sacrifice of a sow, which the mystae seem to have first washed in the Can-tharus (Aristoph. Acharn. 703, with the Schol. 720, and Pax, 368 ; Varro, De Re Rust. ii. 4 ; Plut, P/ioc. 28), and in the purification by a priest, who bore the name of Hydranos. (Hesych. s. v. 'TSpcwos ; Polyaen. v. 17.) The mystae had also to take an oath of secrecy, which was administered to them by the mystagogus, also called tepotydyTijs or Trpotp'hrirjs: they received some kind of pre­paratory instruction, which enabled them after­wards to understand the mysteries which were revealed to them in the great Eleusinia ; they were admitted into the sanctuary of Demeter, but

ELEUSINIA.

remained during the solemnities in the vestibule. (Seneca, Quaest. Nat. vii. 31.)

nor

The great mysteries were celebrated every year in the month of Boedromion during nine days,, from the 15th to the 23d (Plut. Demetr. 26 -f Meursius, Eleusin. c. 21), both at Athens and Eleusis. The initiated were called eV^/rra/ or 34<pvpoi. (Suidas, s. -y.) On the first day, those who had been initiated in the lesser KKminia,. assembled at Athens, whence ita name was a.'yvpfj.os (Hesych. s. v.) ; but strangers who wished to witness the celebration of these nation;?! so­lemnities likewise visited Athens in great numbers at this season, and we find it expressly stated that Athens was crowd d with visitors on the occasion. (Maxim. Tyr. Dissert. 33. sub fin. ; Philostrat. Vit. ApolL iv. 6.) On the second day the mystae went in solemn procession to the sea-coast, where they underwent a purification. Hence the day was called "AAaSe (UiWai,. probably the conventional phrase by which the mystae were in­vited to assemble for the purpose; (Hesych. s..v. ; Polyaen. iii. LI.) Suidas (s. v. 'Psmoi : compare Paus. i. 38. § 2.) mentions two rivulets-, called pet-rot, as the place to which the mystae went in order to be purified. Of the third day scarcely anything is known with certainty ; we only learn from Clemens of Alexandria (Protrept. p. 1:8,. ed. Potter) that it was a clay of fasting, and that in the evening a frugal meal was taken, which con­sisted of cakes made of sesame and honey. Whether sacrifices were offered on this day, as Meursius supposes, is uncertain ; but that which he assigns to it consisted of two kinds of sea-fish (T.piyXi] and juazz>is, A then. vii. p. 32.5), and of cakes of barley grown in the Rharian plain. (Pans; i. 38. § 6.) It may be, however, that this sacri­fice belonged to the fourth day, on which also the Ka.Xa.Qos icddoSos seems to have taken place. This was a procession with a basket containing pome­granates and poppy-seeds ; it was carried on a 'waggon drawn by oxeu, and women followed with small mystic cases in their hands. (Callim. Hymn. in Cer.; Virg. Georg. i. 166 ; Meursius,/. c. c. 25.) On the fifth day, which appears to have been called the torch day (ji t&v Xap.Tra$<jov. -fyue'pa), the mystae, led by the 5os5oi'xos, went in the evening with torches to the temple of Demeter at Eleusis, where they seem to have remained during the following night. This rite was probably a symboli­cal representation of Demeter wandering about in search of Persephone* The sixth day, called lakchos (Hesych. s. v. "loucxov),- was tne most solemn of all. The statue of lakchos, son of Demeter, adorned with a garland of myrtle and bearing a torch in his hand,, was carried along the sacred road (Plut. Alcib. 34 ; Etymol. Magn., and Suidas, & «?. 'lepa 'O86s} amidst joyous snouts (tafcx^eu/) and songs, from the Cerameicus to Eleusis. (Aristoph. Ran. 315, &c. ; Plut. Pho-oion, 28, and Valcken. ad Herod, viii. 65.) This solemn procession was accompanied by great numbers of followers and spectators, and the story related by Herodotus is founded on the supposition that 30,000 persons walking along the sacred road on this occasion was nothing uncommon. During the night from the sixth to the seventh day the mystae remained at Eleu­sis, and were initiated into the last mysteries Those who were neither eVoTTTat were sent away by a herald. Tba

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