Ancient Greek Religion
The Eleusinian Mysteries: Demeter and her daughter Percephone
Classical Greece, Eleusis, near Athens, Greece.
The Mycenaean culture of Greece in 1500 BC , in further imitation of Crete, perhaps allowed their citizens to retain a Nature goddess at Eleusis.
'When recorded history in the western world began, in Athens in the fifth-century BC,' read Miranda, 'the Eleusinian Mysteries were well-established in the then city of Eleusis, some fourteen miles from Athens and a member of the wider Athenian state. The Mysteries played a large part in Athenian culture. Athens, according to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, himself an Athenian, could trace an unbroken cultural tradition extending back many millennia into the distant past.'
'Many millennia!' remarked Quintin.
'Despite this admittedly rather exaggerated claim by Plato,' continued Miranda, 'archaeology has confirmed that the site at which the central mysteries were revealed during classical times, the hall of the Telesterion at Eleusis, dates back to the Mycenaean age, to as far back as 1500 BC. It was during this era that the predominantly god-fearing and warlike Achaean invaders of Greece from the north had settled and begun to assimilate and even to aspire to something of the Minoan culture of Crete that lay beyond their southern shores; to covert Minoan objects, to admire and perhaps to wish to emulate the sea-empire of Minoan Crete, to embrace what would become known as the Mycenaean culture and perhaps in further imitation of Crete, to allow their citizens to install, or perhaps the indigenous population simply to retain, a Nature goddess at Eleusis.'