Eleusinian Mysteries In ancient Greece, sacred rites initiated by Eumolpus and Celeus in honor of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone; held at Eleusis, a city 14 miles west of Athens, near the Isthmus of Corinth. Celebrated in February and September, the rites consisted of purifications, fasts, and dramas, but the exact particulars of each are not known. Their purpose was to ensure rebirth and immortality. Because such rites conflicted with Christianity, they were abolished by Emperor Theodosius at the end of the fourth century. Swinburne’s “At Eleusis,” Shelley’s “Song of Proserpine, While Gathering Flowers on the Plain of Enna,” Tennyson’s “Demeter and Persephone,” and George Meredith’s “The Appeasement of Demeter” all deal with Demeter and Persephone.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante