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Polytheism and Society at Athens$
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Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216116

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.001.0001

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Eleusinian Festivals

Eleusinian Festivals

(p.327) 15 Eleusinian Festivals
Polytheism and Society at Athens

Robert Parker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Mysteries were, and are, the most famous festival in ancient Greece. Huge throngs usually went from Athens to Eleusis for the Mysteries, raising the iakchos (mystic chant) cry on the way. Visitors came for the single, all-glorious festival, but the Mysteries need to be put in a broader context. Other festivals of Demeter and Kore were also celebrated at Eleusis, several of them with involvement of the same sacred personnel who had central roles at the Mysteries. The Eleusinia contains not only competitions but also sacrifices. Another Eleusinian festival is the Haloa, which apparently occurred at Eleusis only, with the priestess of Demeter as a possible main celebrant, and expenses met from the funds of the goddesses. Another Eleusinian festival is Proerosia, whereby a pre-ploughing sacrifice was celebrated in various demes of Attica but the rite at Eleusis was the most prestigious.

Keywords:   festivals, ancient Athens, competitions, sacrifices, Attica, Eleusinia, Eleusis, goddesses, cults

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