From the Hymn to Demeter of Kallimachos we will see how the Goddess managed the disrepsectuf young prince Erysichthon and what was his ending.
In this article are presented the characteristics of the priests of the Gods and the responsibilities of the priest in Eleusinian Mysteries.
Sometimes, people get confused with Demeter and Gaia. They believe that they are the same Goddess. Demeter is newer than Gaia. Their names are connected but not their powers.
Gaia is the general Goddess of the earth. She grows everything, good or bad. She raised Gods and Titas, Demons, Monsters... She loves all of her children. Gaia makes weed grow and trees too. There is no seperation. The worship of Gaia was spread in all over Hellas in ancient times, but she had general characteristics and shape.
Demeter on the other hand is in charge of the upper levels of soil. She rules agriculture, she gives food to people, medical plants, animals etc. She taught humans how to work with animals and how to cultivate, how to behave and how they can organize societies.Demeter also, healed her followers.
Demeter cares about humans, about life and she wants humans to be happy. She also worries about the fear of death of humans. Demeter and Persephone bring hope, life and wellness.
Other religious celebrations which took place in Eleusis: Eleusinia, Proerosia, Aloa, Kalamaia
Demeter, Triptolemus, Persephone
A very big anaglyph stele. Height: 2.2 meters width: 1.55 meters 445 b.C. Left we see Demeter who gives instructions to Triptolemus, prince of Eleusis. Triptolemus learns from the Goddess how to grow cereals (demetriaka in hellenic). On the right side, Persephine holds torches and blesses Triptolemus. Demeter learned the Hellenes how to work with the land, that's why she is the Goddess of agriculture. Persephone is the Goddess who makes the trees grow fruits and nuts. From Hellenes all other nations learnt the agriculture. The adaptation of agriculture was closely connected with the worship of Demeter, in Hellas.
Persephone, Triptolemos, Demeter
The anaglyph is very big. Height: 0.79meters width: 1.24 meters 4rth century b.C. Left we see Persephone holding torches, symbols of chthonic Gods and Goddesses. Triptolemus is sitting in his chariot of winged snakes (chthonic). Demeter gives instructions. Close to Demeter we see a team of her devotees.
Fleeing Maiden or Hekate Propolos 490-480 b.C.
This statue was in the hieri oikia, sacred house. Some people believe that she is Persephone. In her hands she holded torches and she runs, but she also looks back.
Demeter and Persephone with Torches
Anaglyph stele. Demeter sits and talks with her daughter. It was found close to larger propylaia. Height: 0.78 meters width: 0.56 meters
This is the most beautiful statue of Her. Height: 18.0 meters 420 b.C. from the school of Agoracritos
This statue was in the entrance of telesterion. People who wanted to be initiated washed their hands from the basin of sacred water that she holded with her hands. Height of the statue: 1.25 meters
Persephone cleanses an initiated
Pluton and Persephone
Pluton is laid in a bed and Persephone gives him food to eat. Other followers participate in the feast of the Underworld.
Goddess Demeter was invited by the friends of the king's daughter to the palace. She started working to find comfort after the abduction of Persephone. She was repeating a ritual to make the son of the king Keleos, immortal. One day, his mother, Metaneira entered the room and saw Demeter holds the key over the fire. Metaneira started shouting. Demeter left the palace, she got angry. She ordered Keleos to built a temple in her honour under Eleusis with stone walls and in a high level over Kallichoron Frear. Demeter entered in her place and caused limos, famine. After the return of her daughter, she taught to the Eleusineans, her Mysteries.
Tuque, Actae, Ceres, cursu cui semper anhelo
votivam taciti quassamus lampada mystae.
A building of three rooms in which meetings took place of senate, the counsil of the town and the parliament of 500 elected.
Useful places for the followers, who leaved their personal items before the beggining of the Mysteries.
A building with three rooms and an altar.
Telesterion was the most sacred place of rituals in Eleusis.It was expandinf every 50 years because more and more people came to be initiated to the Mysteries. When the Romans ruled the world, roman citizens from all over the world came to Eleusis to become followers of Demeter and learn the secrets of life and death.
In that place, Demeter was living when she left the palace of Keleos and she started teaching Eleusineans her Mysteries. Magickal acts took place in telesterion, totally unknown to us. Many good writers do hypothesis of what it could happen during initiation ceremonies. The truth is that peole changed and follower Her way. Some of the architects of Telesterion were: Iktinos, Koroivos, Ksenocles, Filon. Of course, some barbarians destroyed parts and all telesterion, because yes, not all people can become humans and the Mysteries of Hellas, achieved to transform an Hellene to a higher new person.
In the center of telesterion, it was a palace, a very sacred place with sacred objects of Demeter. Noone could go inside except one person, the hierophant.
Cistern with marble and a system to filter water and trade it to the sacred place. Gymnasium, Mithraio, baths, fountains, hot tubs etc. Store houses for ears
The sacred place of Eleusis, is today the archaeological place of the city, in which in ancient times the Mysteries of Eleusis took place, offering ceremonies, magickal rituals, religious rituals etc. Inside of the arcaeological place there is the hill of Acropolis of Eleusis. In that hill the first houses of Eleusis were built and after many other houses close to them. I am going to describe the main sites of the place with few words, but have in mind that you will not see the 16 meters buildings, because all kind of barbarians have destroyed the place. Walk with me in this tour. Ground plan of the sacred place of Eleusis
According to the arcaeological evidence Eleusis was inhabited at 1900 b.C. Houses have been found at the southwest area of Thriassio Pedio. At 1850 b.C. many houses are built and the kingdom of Keleos is starting to arise. His kingdom expanded to Kithairon, Parnetha and Aigaleo. Eleusis was a crossroads between Athens, Pelopponese and Thebes. Due to her position, the Atheneans wanted to incorporate Eleusis to their demos (municipality).
When king Erechteus of Athens was ruled, Eleusineans and Atheneans fought. To the side of Eleusineans fought theThraces with Eumoplides Immarados. Atheneans won the war but Immarados and Erechteus died. In Eleusis, the Eumolpides stayed and got the priviledge to declare the hierophant of the mysteries, from their clan. Eleusis became a part of Athens until later years.
Ath 760 b.C. in Hellas a limos (famine) killed many people. Hellenes went to the Oracle of Delphoi. Pythia said that they had to make sacrifices to the Goddess Demeter, because they have made her sad. In all the country Hellenes came to Eleusis and celebrated in order to honour Demeter. Famine stopped. The Mysteries of Eleusis were pretty famous by that period. At that period the Telesterion (the ritual place) expanded and the Plutonium is built.
After 600 b.C. the sacred place of Eleusis was expanding every 50 years, because many people came for initiation every year. Solon, Peisistratos, Kimon and the the Roman emperors, Adrianos, Antoninos and Marcus Aurelius expanded the place and build arches and temples and more buildings and fortifications. During the roman empire, the Mysteries of Eleusis became a worldwide celebration. The Roman emperors persuaded the hierophantes to accept and Roman citizens to the Mysteries. The sacred place was destroyed by barbarians (who could expect something else from them?) like the persians at 480-497 b.C., at 170 a.C. the Kostovokoi destroyed the hiero. The biggest destroyers of Hellas, the Bysigotthoi of the barbarian Alarichos, left nothing but ruins and dust at 395 a.C. Some years before, the Byzantine emperor Theodosios, had forbidden the old religion.