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Eleusinian Mysteries

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Eleusinian Mysteries were secretive ceremonies of initiation into the cult of Demeter and Kore (Demeter’s daughter Persephone), whose main sanctuary lay in Eleusis, west of Athens.  Demeter was the goddess of agricultural abundance, and Persephone, Demeter’s daughter was the goddess of the Underworld and of fertility of the earth.  

Demeter and Kore, as well as Dionysus, god of wine and ritual ecstasy – were central figures in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which represented the foremost mystery cult in ancient Greece.  The low and frequently overlooked ruins lying beside the path that leads down the northern slope of the Acropolis into the Agora are the crumbling walls and terraces of a building complex that once played a major role in ancient Greek religious life – the City Eleusinion.  Archaeological traces of the once-celebrated rites stretch across the Attic landscape from the Athenian Agora and the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos to the intriguing sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis.  Athens Plus (23.10.2009): Secrets of Eleusinian Mysteries still confound (p.12)   Photo: Demeter and Persephone stand on either side of a nude youth. Fragments of the Great Eleusinian Relief (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)