Divulging the Eleusinian Mysteries

The Eleusinia was an agrarian cult based out of an ancient temple site dedicated to the goddesses Demeter and Kore just northwest of Athens. While this cult survived the entire duration of Greco-Roman Antiquity, initiating hundreds of thousands, very little is known about it today on account of its highly secretive practices. This documentary attempts to shed some light on what exactly went on at Eleusis, and why the cult was so popular.

This video is based on a remastered version of an early 2010s audio-only lecture I recorded and posted on YouTube entitled “Unveiling the Eleusinian Mysteries.” This has proved one of the most popular videos on this channel over the years, so to celebrate the end of 2020, I’ve tried my best to clean up the shoddy audio from the original and provide some accompanying visuals. While there are a great number of things I would have said and done differently were I writing and recording this script today now that I am older and wiser (and especially given the rather outdated nature of a few of my claims), there’s still a good deal of relevant information contained herein and it’s well worth the watch.

Bibliography/Works Cited (w/ affiliate links)

Angus, Samuel. Mystery Religions & Christianity (Kessinger Publishing, 2003). (http://amzn.to/1Pyj6nm)

Burkert, Walter. Ancient Mystery Cults. Harvard University Press, 1989. (http://amzn.to/1JRwgPZ)

Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Harvard University Press, 1982. (http://amzn.to/1JRwhTU)

Cumont, Franz. The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. (Forgotten Books, 1911). (http://amzn.to/1Qe22b9)

Evans, Nancy A. “Sanctuaries, Sacrifices, and the Eleusinian Mysteries.” Numen, Vol. 49, No. 3 (2002): 227-254.

Grant, Frederick C. Hellenistic Religions: The Age of Syncretism (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, Liberal Arts Press, 1953). (http://amzn.to/1PiUtLg)

Keller, Mara Lynn. “The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring, 1988): 25-54.

Meyer, Marvin, The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook of Sacred Texts, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999). (http://amzn.to/1PyjBOh)

Mylonas, George E. “Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries.” The Classical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 3 (1947): 130-146.

Orlin, Eric M. “Foreign Cults in Republican Rome: Rethinking the Pomerial Rule.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Vol. 47 (2002).

Turcan, Robert. The Cults of the Roman Empire (Wiley-Blackwell, 1997) (https://amzn.to/3mON0f1)

Walton, Francis R. “Athens, Eleusis, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.” The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Apr., 1952): 105-114.

Wasson, Gordon, Albert Hofmann, Carl A. P. Ruck, The Road to Eleusis (https://amzn.to/2L1wQlu)

Webster, Peter. “Mixing the Kykeon.” JPPC, Vol. 4 (2000): 1-25.

Willoughby, Harold R. “Pagan Regeneration: A Study of Mystery Initiations in the Graeco-Roman World.” Bibliolife, 1929. (https://amzn.to/3mRIVH5)

Zachariades, George Elias. “The Anabasis and Katabasis in Eleusis.” The Classical Weekly, Vol. 36, No. 10 (1943): 113-115.

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