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MYSTERIA.

took place in a temple surrounded by a beautiful grove. The first two days men and women took part in the celebration together; on the third day the men left the sanctuary, and the women re­ maining in it performed during the night certain mysterious rites, during which not even male dogs were allowed to remain within the sacred precincts. On the fourth day the men returned to the temple, and men and women now received each other with shouts of laughter and assailed each other with various railleries. (Paus. vii. 27. § 4 ; Cornutus, de Nat. Deor. 28.) Other particulars are not known. [L. S.]

MYSTAE, MYSTAGO'GUS (/irforai, fJLvcrTay(ay6s}. [eleusinia.]

MYSTERIA (nvffT'fipia). As each mystery or mystic festival is described in a separate article, a few general observations only will be required under this head. The names by which they were de­signated in GTeece, are /xucrT7?pja, TeAercu, and opyia. The name opjia (from eopya) originally signified only sacrifices accompanied by certain ceremonies, but it was afterwards applied especially to the ceremonies observed in the worship of Dio­nysus, and at a still later period to mysteries in general. (Lobeck, Aglaopham. i. p. 305.) TeAer^ signifies in general a religious festival (Aristot. Itftet. ii.. 24 ; Find. Nem> x. 63), but more particu­larly a lustration or ceremony performed in order to avert some calamity either public or private. (Plato, de Rep. ii. p. 264, E.) MvarTjpiov signifies, properly speaking, the secret part of the worship, but it was also used generally in the same sense as reAer^, and for mystic worship.

Mysteries in general may be defined as sacrifices and ceremonies which took place at night or in secret within some sanctuary, which the uninitiated were not allowed to enter. What was essential to them, were objects of worship, sacred utensils, and traditions with their interpretations, which were withheld from all persons not initiated. We must however distinguish between mysteries pro­perly so called, that is, such in which no one was allowed to partake unless he had undergone a formal initiation, and the mystic ceremonies of certain festivals, the performance of which, though confined to particular classes of persons^ or to a particular sex, yet did not require a regular initia­tion. Our attention in this article will be confined to the mysteries properly so called.

It appears to have been the desire of all nations of antiquity to withhold certain parts of their re­ligious worship from the eyes of the multitude in order to render them the more venerable. (Strabo, p, 7170 But that the ancient mysteries were nothing but impositions of priests, who played upon the superstitious and ignorant, is an opinion, which, although entertained by Limburg-Brouwer, the latest writer on the subject (Histoire.de la Civilisa­tion Morale et Relig. des Grecs^vol. iv. p. 199)^ certainly cannot satisfy those who are accustomed to seek a more solid and vital principle in all re­ligious institutions that have ever had any lasting influence upon mankind. The persons united and initiated to celebrate the mysteries in Greece were neither all priests* nor did they belong to the ignorant and superstitious classes of society, but they were on the contrary frequently the most dis­tinguished statesmen and philosophers. It has been remarked under eleusinia (p. 454, b) that it is far more probable that the mysteries in the

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MYSTERIA.

various parts of Greece were remains of the ancient Pelasgian religion. The associations of persona for the purpose of celebrating them must therefore have been formed at the time when the over­whelming influence of the Hellenic religion began to gain the upper hand in Greece, and when persons who still entertained a reverence for the worship of former times, united together with the intention of preserving and upholding among themselves, as much as possible of the religion of their fore­fathers. It is natural enough that they formed themselves for this purpose into societies, analogous to the brotherhoods in the church of Rome (Por-phyr. de Abstin. iv. 5), and endeavoured to preserve against the profanation of the multitude that which was most dear to them. Hence the secrecy of all the Greek mysteries, and hence the fact that they were almost invariably connected with the worship of the ancient Pelasgian divinities. The time when mysteries were established as such, must have been after the great changes and disturbances produced by the Dorian migration, although tra­dition referred their institution to Orpheus, the Curetes, the Idaean Dactyles, Dionysus, &c., who belong to a much earlier period. These tradi­tions, however, may in so far be regarded as true, as the mysteries were only a continuation and pro­pagation of the ancient religion. But it must be admitted that in subsequent times new elements were added to the mysteries, which were origin­ally foreign to them. The development of philo­sophy, and more especially the intercourse with the East and with Egypt, appear to have exercised a considerable influence upon their character.

The most celebrated mysteries in Greece were those of Samothrace and Eleusis. [cabeiria ; eleusinia.] But several other places and divini­ties had their peculiar mysteries, e. g. the island of Crete those of Zeus (Strabo, p. 718 ; Athen. ix. 18) ; Argolis those of Hera (Paus. ii. 38. §2) ; Athens those of Athena and Dionysus (Plut Alcib. 34 ; dionysia) ; Arcadia those of Artemis (Paus. viii. 23. § 3), and Aegina those of Hecate. (Pans. ii. 30. § 2). But not only the worship of the great gods, but also that of some ancient heroes was connected with mysteries. (Paus. iv. 34. § 6, ii. 1, ii. 30. §5 ; Herod, v. 83.)

The benefits which the initiated hoped to obtain were security against the vicissitudes of fortune, and protection from dangers both in this life and in the life to come. The principal part of the ini­tiation, and that which was thought to be most efficacious in producing the desired effects, were the lustrations and purifications, whence the mys­teries themselves are sometimes called /caflapcrtcc or

Offences against and violations of xthe mysteries were at Athens under the jurisdiction of the archon king, and the court in such cases only consisted of persons who were themselves initiated (^ue/xu^e-voi)^ and were selected from the heliastae for the purpose. (Pollux, viii. 141.) Even in cases which were brought before an ordinary court, the judges were only initiated persons, if the case had any connection with the mysteries. (Andocid. de Myst. p. 14.) That no one but the initiated might hear the transactions in such a case, the court was sur­rounded by public slaves to keep all profane per­sons at a distance. (Pollux, viii. 123.)

The Roman religion had no such mysteries as that of the Greeks, but only mystic rites and cere-

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