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where the Laconian and Arcadian cults of ^ 'EAcuo-trta claimed
to be pre-Dorian foundations? This is the difficulty which has
caused mistrust of the simple and obvious explanation of

* We must often reckon with this Zeus 'U/Muof, 'Ai^po&Vio*, Apollo lap-
factor in the growth of cult-titles, e. g. mfiowio^t Athena Klayris,

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'EXcvo-mo. But we must " consider the value of that claim.
In regard to the worship at Basilis**^ we have the temple-
legend given us by Athenaeus from the * Arkadika ' of Nikias,
ascribing its foundation to the pre-Dorian Kypselos. Now
Kypselos may have been a real Arcadian ancestor of the
period before the conquest ; but such temple legends, which
are often valuable for ethnological arguments, are useless for
exact chronology ; for every shrine would be tempted to
connect its worship with a striking name belonging to the
mythic past. We may only draw the cautious inference that
the cult at Basilis was of considerable antiquity * The account
of the Laconian temple has preserved no legend of foundation,
but the * Pelasgic ' xoanon of Orpheus may have been a work
of the seventh century B. c, and suggests associations with
Attica or North Greece. On the other hand, we have no
right to assert that the Attic cult could not have diffused the
title of 'E\iv(nvia through parts of the Peloponnese or into
Boeotia in the Homeric or pre-Homeric period. The silence
of Homer proves nothing : the prestige of the Attic Eleusis
may have been great in his time and before his time. The
very early associations between Attica and Arcadia have been
pointed out by Toepffer^, and we may trace in legend and
cult a similar connexion between Laconia, Argolis, and Attica.
And many of the smaller tribal migrations into the Pelo-
ponnese may have journeyed by way of Eleusis and the
Isthmus ; and have brought on with them to their new homes
the name, though not always the mystery, of Demeter Eleu-
sinia. The Boeotian temple may of course have named its
Demeter after the perished town of Eleusis on Lake Kopais ;
but the legend about that town savours a little suspiciously of
Boeotian jealousy of Attica. And that the Plataean district
of Cithaeron could have borrowed the name Eleusinia for its
Demeter at any early time from the Attic Eleusis is very easy
to believe.

* lmmcrwnhTyA'ul/euftdAfyiA,Ari'ad. as to the meaning of 'EXfi/cru'io, whether

p. 123, regards the cult of Basilis of in Arcadia or Messenia, he does not

Messcnian origin : his arguments appear consider,
to me unconvincing, and the question ^ Op. cit.ye.g. pp. 214-215.

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At least one is driven to admit that no other scientific
hypothesis has as yet been put forward explaining the cult of
Demeter Eleusinia outside Attica: and in dealing with the
question we should bear in mind the new proof that has been
afforded by excavation that Eleusis was a centre of some
external commerce as early as at least the later Mycenaean

The mysteries of Keleai^o^h^ Lerna"^*''-^^ and Pheneos-*'
were influenced by the Eleusinian, probably after these latter
were thrown open ; but we have no chronological data for
determining when this influence began. And in two of them,
those of Keleai and Pheneos, certain peculiar features are
found which prevent our regarding them as mere offshoots of
the Attic. The latter Arcadian city vaunted the Eleusinian
character and origin of its mysteries, but it is strange that in
the record of them there is no mention of Kore : certain
sacred books were kept in a building called the TreVpwpio, and
were read aloud to the inystae at the ' greater m3^tery '
which occurred every other year. The curious custom which
Pausanias mentions of the priest of Demeter Kifiapta donning
the mask of the goddess, and striking on the ground with
a rod to evoke the earth-powers, seems to have belonged to
the mystic celebration and to have been specially Arcadian.
What is most strange in this service is the assumption by the
male functionary of the likeness of the goddess. And this
impersonation of the divinity by the mortal ministrant seems
to have served the purposes of ritual magic, and not, as at
Eleusis and probably at Andania, of a religious drama. Nor
can we be sure that the mysteries of Pheneos were penetrated,
as no doubt the Lemaean were, with the doctrine of a blessed

The mysteries at Andania in Messenia 2*« are the last that
require some closer consideration here, as much obscurity
attaches to the question of their association with Eleusis and
the personality of their divinities. If we trusted the account
of Pausanias who is comparatively explicit concemii^ these
mysteries, regarding them as standing second to the Eleusinian
alone in prestige and solemnity, we should believe them to

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have been instituted originally in honour of Demeter and
Kore, who were known by the vaguer and more reverential
names of al MeyaXot d^ol^ * the great goddesses,' while Kore
enjoyed also the specially mystic title of * Hagne/ * the holy
one.' And this author believed in the legend that traced
their institution to Attica and Eleusis through the names of
Kaukon and Lykos. But we can now supplement and per-
haps test the statement in Pausanias by the famous inscription
of Andania which can be dated «.t 91 B.C. From this it
appears that other divinities had by this time been admitted
to the Messenian mysteries; the oath is taken in the name
of the Q^oX ols ra ^vartjpLa ^TrtreAfirai, and these form a group
to whom a special priest is assigned. The group includes
Demeter, Hermes, the d€OL MeyoAot, Apollo Kapv€io9y and
Hagne : the name d€al Mr/oAat nowhere occurs. It has been
therefore supposed * that Pausanias was misled in his account,
and wrongly attributed to the dfol MeyoAat mysteries that
belonged by right to the 6€ol MeyoAot ; and it has even been
thought that 'Ayi;?/ was not really a sobriquet for Kore as
Pausanias understood, but was merely the name of the foun-
tain in the temenos or the fountain-nymph. This latter
opinion is held by M. Foucart ; but there are grave objections
to it. For it is unlikely that a fountain-nymph should be
called by a name of such mystic solemnity or should be given
so prominent a position by the side of the national divinities
in the greatest of the state mysteries : nor does the inscription
prove that the fountain was itself called ^k.yvl\\ the sacred
books probably referred to the Kpr\v^ ttJj 'Ayr?}?. The name
must belong to one of the leading goddesses, and it is in-
credible that Kore should have been absent from this mystic
company, and that nevertheless the legend of the cult, whether
true or false, should have so many connexions with Eleusis.
But Kore is never mentioned at all in the long inscription,
unless Hagne is she. We may believe then with Pausanias,
who would be certain to make careful inquiry on such a
matter, that * the Holy one ' was * the Daughter * at Andania, nor

• By Sauppe, MysUrunimchrift voti Andania^ p. 44, and Foucart in his
commentary on Le Bas, 3, no. 326 V

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need we suppose that the *AyrT| Bti of Delos was other than
Kore ***. But it is almost equally difficult to conceive that he
was altc^ether deceived about the ^eat MeyciAai. As he else-
where shows himself perfectly conversant with the difference
between them and the Otoi ^UyiKoL why should he have made
this foolish mistake in gender here*, and again apparently in
the same book when he speaks of the sacrifices offered on the
recolonization of Messene to the BtaX M^ycJAai and Kaukon ^*^ ?
Still stranger would it seem for Methapos to have made the
same blunder in his inscription that was set up in * the tent of
the Lykomidae * at Phlye in Attica : for this person, probably
a contemporary of Epaminondas, boasts in it that ' he purified
the dwelling-place of Hermes and the ways of Demeter and
Kore, the early-born, where they say Messene consecrated
to the great goddesses the funeral-festival of Kaukon of
Phlye,' and he wonders how * Lykos the son of Pandion could
have established all the Attic sacred service at Andania'-*^.
In fact this well-attested Lycomidean monument is fatal to
the theory that would exclude the MeyoAat Q^ai from the
Andanian mystery. But could we regard them as late-
comers and the AhycfXot 6€oi as the original divinities of the
mysteries ? This reverential title is found applied to no other
gods but the Dioscuri and the Kabiri. As regards the former
their cult was very prominent, as Toepffer** has shown, both
in the earlier and later period of Messenia, and at certain
places touches that of Demeter « ; but we have no proof that
the Messenians ever styled them *the great gods,' and we
have no evidence that their worship was anywhere of a mj^ic
character before they became at a later period confused
with the Kabiri \ The more probable and the more com-
mon opinion is that these Andanian McyclXot Q^ol were no

* This objection is properly stated by the Diotcnri, Kouretesy or Kabiri, but
Toepffer, Attische Centalogitt p. aao. adds that the learned preferred the last

^ loc dt. explanation. The term vcuSft probably

* Cf. Geogr. Reg. s.v, Messene and refers to the diminutive size of the
R. 149*. images, and is against the supposidon

^ Pans. 10. 38, 7 speaks of the TfXcr^ that these are the HeUenic twin-
*Avcurrfltfy itaXovfiivoj¥ muici/if at Am- brethren,
phissa, and suggests that these may be

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other than the divinities of the Samothracian mysteries, to
whom the prescribed victim, the young sow — an offering
scarcely likely to be acceptable to the Hellenic Dioscuri — was
for some special reason appropriate. On this view it is incon-
ceivable that these foreign divinities could have been the
original powers to whom a mystery so associated with the pre-
historic past of Messenia and with Eleusis was consecrated :
for the earliest establishment of the Kabiri-cult in Greece was
at Thebes, and the earliest date which the excavations suggest
for its introduction there is the sixth century B.C.*, while it was
not likely to have touched Messenia till some centuries later.
We might believe that the mystery-monger Methapos played
some part in its installation at Andania, as according to
Pausanias he was specially interested in its propagation. The
prestige of the Samothracian rites increased in the Macedonian
period, and it is in no way strange that a leading Demeter
mystery should be found in the later centuries lending them
some countenance. Near the Kabeirion at Thebes lay the
temple of Demeter Ka^upia, where she was worshipped in
a mystic cult with Kore ^ ; and we have some indication of
a similar association of the native and the imported worships
at Anthedon"*. On the other hand, if we can trust certain
statements of Strabo and Mnaseas-^^, we can believe that
Demeter and Kore were themselves admitted into the inner
circle of the Samothracian worship.

But all such rapprochement was probably late; and the
most reasonable hypothesis concerning the Andanian mysteries
is that the mother and the daughter were the divinities to
whom they were consecrated in the earliest period ; to the
mother perhaps originally before the daughter grew up at her
side. For in the inscription Demeter appears more prominently
than any other divinity ; two distinct priestesses of hers are
mentioned among the native officials ; and her priestess from
the Laconian Aigila, where we may infer there was another

* Dorpfeld, A then. Mitth. 13, p. 89. nothing relating to her has been foond

^ Nevertheless the actual worship of in the Kabeirion, vide Roscher*s LcxU

the Kabiri at Thebes seems to have kon^ vol. 3, p. 2539.

been entirely independent of Demeter's :

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mystery of Demeter's, perhaps the Thesmophoria, was specially
invited *-^ As for Hagne her importance is sufficiently
attested ; it appears that a special table of offerings, a lecti-
stemum consecrated no doubt to her as a nether goddess, was
set up near her fountain ', and near the same spot one of the
two stone treasuries was erected which was only opened once
a year at the mysteries ^\

But in the later period at least they no longer rule alone ;
Hermes, Apollo Kameios, as well as the McyoAoi ^eot, are
among the O^oX oh ra ixvcTijpia cirtr^Xctrai. Apollo, whose cult
is nowhere else mystic, may have forced his way in through
the historic importance of the worship and the legend of
Kameios; it was in his grove that the mysteries were
celebrated, and the initiated were crowned with laurel. But
Hermes, an old Messenian god, and a specially appropriate
personage in a chthonian ritual, may have belonged essentially
to them as representing the male deity of the lower world.
However, his relations with the Mother and Daughter cannot
here be determined. That these latter were the leading
personages of the Andanian, as they were of the Eleusinian
mysteries, is further suggested by the fact that in the rules laid
down in the inscription concerning the apparel of the female
officials there is special reference to the raiment necessary
for the impersonation of divinities ; but women could only
personate goddesses : it would seem then that there was some
bpafxa ftvomxJif in which the goddesses appeared alone, for there
is no reference to the male actor. The priestesses were
married women, and were required to take an oath that they
had lived * in relation to their husbands a just and holy life ' —
a rule that obviously strengthened the ethical law of chastity
but which probably had a ritualistic origin, such as the
common rule that excluded adulteresses from temples. We
hear also in the inscription of the functions of the sacred
maidens who escorted the chariots containing the mystic

It is hard to estimate how far the whole ceremony was
influenced by Eleusinian procedure and ideas ; we note
• I. 86. ^ 11 90-95.


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a resemblance in the fact that at Andania as at Eleusis there
were grades of initiation, for we find the irpan-ojuivoTai specially-
designated and distinguished by a peculiar diadem or crown.
We are told also of the purification of the mystae with the
blood of swine and of the sacrificial meals shared by the priests
and the priestesses, the latter sometimes wearing on their feet
the skins of the slaughtered animals. But there is no record
of a sacrament nor of any mystic teaching or eschatological
promise. Yet, unless the Eleusiniay tradition and the record
concerning Methapos are utterly at fault, the Andanian
mysteries probably maintained and secured the hope of future

Finally, the title 0€at MeyoAat is not likely to have been
an invention of Pausanias, though it does not occur in the
Andanian inscription. It is attested by the epigram of
Methapos, and was attached to Demeter and Kore in the
worships of Megalopolis and Trapezus ^^^^^ -*^. And we may
surmise with Immerwahr* that there was some connexion
between these Arcadian cults and the Messenian.

As regards the mysteries of Megalopolis, we gather little
beyond the names of 0€at M^yaXat and Kore Soteira ; and the
significance of the latter appellative has already been noted.
The principle of apostolic succession was maintained here as
in some other rituals, for an inscription has been found at
Lykosura in honour of a Megalopolitan hierophant who was
descended from * those hierophants who first instituted the
mysteries of the great goddesses among the Arcadians "'*^.'
The same principle of divine tradition was maintained by the
Eumolpidae, and we may surmise that Eleusinian influences
touched Megalopolis. But it was to the Lykosuran cult of
Despoina that the Megalopolitan worship was mainly assimi-
lated, and the Despoina-mystery and legend belonged no
doubt to a very ancient stratum of Arcadian religion ^^^*. In
the sacred story of Phigaleia, Thelpusa, and Lykosura, Despoina
is the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon, and the tale of
the rape was told not of Hades and Kore, but of Poseidon and

• KulU ArkadienSj p. 123.

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the mother-goddess *. And tn the cult of Lykosura and the
kindred legends of the other centres Despoina is always
the daughter ^ not the independent and self-sufficing earth-
goddess, but a personality that arose when the latter had
become pluralized *^» **. We may identify her with Korc-
Persephone as the men of Megalopolis did"^*, but we cannot
apply Eleusinian ideas to the Lykosuran mystery, in whicli
there is no trace of a passion-play or of a Upb^ yiyios or of any
legend of sorrow and loss. Pausanias noticed something
peculiar in the sacrifice in the Megaron : the throat of the
victim was not cut, according to the usual ceremony, but each
sacrificer chopped off the limbs quite casually. It is con-
ceivable that this is a modification of some wild form of
sacramental sacrifice like that described by Professor Robert-
son Smith as practised by the Arabs : * The whole company
fall upon the victim (a camel) with their swords, hacking
off pieces of the quivering flesh and devouring them raw ^.'
Certain minute rules of the Lykosuran ritual are conveyed to
us by an inscription found in the temple ^^'^^ and some of these
remind us of the Andanian regulations : the women must wear
their hair loose, and no sandals on their feet ; gold was tabooed
and no flowers must be brought into the shrine, and a rule,
which I am not aware of as existing elsewhere in Greece,
excluded pregnant women and those giving suck from partici-
pation in the mystery.

As regards the Mantinean mysteries -^^, some few points
in the record that are of interest have already been noticed :
a prominent part of the mystic rite was the reception of
the goddess — Kore or Kore-Demeter — into the house of the
priestess ; we have reason for supposing that the TeAen} was
connected with some belief in the life after death, but we

* The ordinary HeUenic story of the haps only for the moment — from Perse-

abduction may have afterwards gained phone : mother and daughter were

some currency at Phigaleia, vide Pans, called Despoinae at Kyzikos (R. 128),

8. 42.' in Elis (R. 118), and we have a hint of

** In the inscription from the Laco- the worship of Despoina at Epidauros

nian Messoa of the Roman period (R. 147).

Despoina is grouped with Demeter and • Religion of Semites ^ p. 320.
Pluto, and seems distinguished — per-

P 2

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212 CREEK RELIGION * [chap.

have no trace of a sacramental rite. It is possible that the
idea of some communion with Demeter through the sacra-
mental cup explains the strange title of ITonypio^pof which
was attached to her in Achaea 2** : the * cup-bringer ' might
be the goddess who offered the KVKttiv to the lips of her

Except in Greece proper, there is no clear trace of Demeter-
mysteries possessing a prominent national character or im-
portance for religious history. Weilo not know whether the
Ephesian cult of Eleusinia was strictly mystic -^^'. But we
can conclude that mysteries were associated with the Triopian
cult of the chthonian divinities of Knidos ; for when this was
transplanted to Gela by the ancestor of Gelo, we hear that this
family secured the privilege of acting as * hierophants/ a name
that always connotes mysteries. And we can thus better
understand why this worship at Gela and Syracuse exercised
so strong a religious attraction as to serve as a ladder to high
political power ^^^.

This review of the Demeter-mysteries outside Attica was
necessary, and the facts recorded of them are of some historical
importance ; but they scarcely assist the solution of the
Eleusinian problem. Generally we may believe that they all
proffered in some way the promise of future happiness ; but
we do not know the means by which this promise in each and
all of them was conveyed and confirmed.

It has been doubted whether the Eleusinian &ith had really
a strong and vital hold on the religious imagination of the
people, on the ground that the later grave-inscriptions rarely
betray its influence. For the purposes of private consolation
the Orphic mysteries may have appealed more powerfully to
certain circles, especially in South Italy, where Kore also
played her part in the Orphic-Dionysiac cults*. And so
authoritative a witness to the public opinion concerning the
doctrine of immortality in the fifth century B.C. as the Attic

• Produs tells us that those who sos, R. 135) : these tre the well-known

are being initiated to Dionysot and words of the Orphic mystic hymn pre-

Kore pray ' to cease from the circle of valent in Crete and South Italy. Cf.

existence and to rest from evil * (Diony- Dtmeter^monumcnts^ p. 224.

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inscription on those who fell at Potidaia seems to reveal a
creed qmte independent of £leusis\ Doubtless there was
neither uniformity nor dogmatism in this as in any other
domain of Greek religious speculation, and the paradise of the
mystae was not always clearly defined. Nevertheless the
Eleusinian faith b not silent on the stones: it speaks in
the epitaph of the hierophant of Eleusis who had found that
death was not an evil but a blessing 2®-*; and in the devout
prayer inscribed on Alexandrian grave-reliefs that the departed
* might reach the region of the holy ones **.'

* A//t. Mitth. I901, p. 263.

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The literary records of this cult are in some respects fuller
and more explicit than the monuments, and some of the more
interesting aspects of the Demeter-Persephone service lack,
or almost lack, monumental illustration. The theriomorphic
conception, of which we detected a glimpse in the Phigalean
legend, can scarcely be said to have left a direct impress upon
art * ; and it is doubtful if even the later aniconic period has
left us any representation or fiyaXfta to which we may with
certainty attach Demeter*s name. On a few late coins of
certain Asia Minor states **, of which the earliest is one struck
under Demetrius III of Syria in the first century B.C., we find
a very rude semblance of a goddess with corn-stalks but with
only faint indication of human form. But in spite of the
emblems we cannot say that this is a genuine Demeter; it
may very probably be merely one of the many forms of the
great mother-goddess of Asia Minor, the divine power of
fertility and fruits ; and it may descend from the same stratum
of cult as that to which the type of the Ephesian Artemis
belongs, to which it bears an obvious resemblance. Only
when Demetrius took it as his badge, he and his people may
have regarded it as Demeter's image for his name's sake.
But at the time when this primitive fetich first came into
vogue in these regions, we may be fairly certain that it did not
belong to the Hellenic corn-goddess.

The same doubt attaches to another relic of prehistoric

• Vide supra, pp. 56-57. ^ Ovcrbeck, MitnZ'Taf. 8. 1-5,

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and semi-iconic art. A small terracotta ^^ma has been
found at Eleusis* probably in a grave, though this is not
stated, of the type known as Pappddes, because it represents
a goddess with a kalathos of much the same shape as the
high hat of the modern Greek priest (PL III a). The decora-
tion of the breasts and of the curls shows the Dipylon style,
but the curious spiral attachment to the kalathos seems to be
borrowed from Egyptian art ; while in another fetich of the
same group we find a decorative motive derived from Assyria^.
Yet these terracottas are of indigenous fabric and may belong
to the seventh century B.C.; we are tempted therefore to
attach to them some divine name of the Hellenic system, for
ceitainly by this period the polytheism had passed beyond
the embryonic stage, and Gaia, Demeter, Kore-Persephone
had become, at least nominally, distinct personalities, though
art was often too inarticulate to distinguish them. The
Pappades are, it is true, found in different localities, Tanagra,
Megara, Thisbe, as well as at Eleusis ; and it is very unlikely
that they represented in all places the same divinity ; but if
an Eleusinian grave was really the * find-spot ' of the terracotta

Online LibraryLewis Richard FarnellThe cults of the Greek states → online text (page 21 of 40)