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October 1, 2012- Eleusinian Mysteries, Great Mysteries.docx

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Queen's University
Classical Studies
CLST 100
Christina Zaccagnino

Eleusinian Mysteries  King archon overseer of the Mysteries; had power in all religious matters  Hierophantes (revealer of holy things) from Eumolpidai family  Daidoukhos (the torch-holder) from Kerykes family Great Mysteries  Open to men, women, youth and even slaves  Foreigners participated too  Only Greek speakers were allowed  Those polluted by bloodguilt were not allowed  Some messengers went to the Greek cities to announce the incoming ritual and ask for a truce of 55 days  Boedremion 14: the sacred objects were moved to Athens, in the Athenian Eleusinion. The ephebes (epheboi youths 18 or 19 years old) escorted the sacred objects (hiera)  Boedremion 15: people met in the agora and were invited to take part of the Mysteries, except those who couldn’t speak Greek, those who had committed homicides or those who were impure  Boedromion 16: Initiates to the sea. People went to Phaleron, washed themselves in the sea, and sacrificed a piglet  Boedremion 19 or 20: After the other rituals the procession moved to Eleusis, bringing back the sacred objects. People brought myrtle branches (bakkhoi), a walking stick and a sack. The procession was led by Iakkhos, and they arrived in Eleusis at night  Iakkhos is the personification of crying  A vase (kernos) contained offerings  On the following days they performed purification rituals, sacrifices and fasting, then the secret part of the ritual. In the walled sanctuary, where just initiates were allowed, they experienced rituals, could see the sacred objects (hie
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