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once impenetrable rite were then disclosed ; and the information which has reached us, if it be not sufficient to gratify a minute curiosity, yet contains more than is well worth knowing.
It has been asserted that the mysteries were designed to be a vehicle of sublime knowledge, and represented in a kind of drama of the history of Ceres “ the rise and establishment of civil society, the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, the error of Polytheism, and the principle of unity, which last article was their famous secret.” But this weighty superstructure is not reared on the solid basis of antiquity. It is certain, that the story of Ceres, which was the ground-work of the mysteries, besides its absurdities, was both ludicrous and indecent. Let Orpheus and Baubo silence the advocate for their dignity and purity.* But the author of this hypothesis perhaps intended his dissertation, on the sixth book of the Æneis, as a piece of solemn irony; and probably has laughed at his success.
The grand mysteries were quinquennial. When the season approached, the mystæ, or persons who had been initiated only in the lesser mysteries, repaired to Eleusis to be instructed in the ceremonial. The service for the opening of the temple, with morning sacrifice, was performed. The ritual was then produced from the sanctuary. It was enveloped in symbolical figures of animals, which suggested words compendiously, in letters with ligatures, implicated, the tops huddled together, or disposed circularly like a wheel; the whole utterly inexplicable to the profane. The case, which
* See a treatise.of the learned Meurisius entitled Eleusinia, p. 137 in the collection of Grævius, and his Attica Lectiones, p. 1786.
was called Petroma, consisted of two stones exactly fitted.
1844 opogumil.1975 i Dond diosanojl.
larity, impiety, or act of injustice committed during the festival. The language of the mysteries,* like the letters of the ritual, was incomprehensible to the profane. The passport to initiation was an occult formulary, not to be acquired but at the lesser mysteries ; and the acclamationt at the conclusion, if the words had any signification, was intelligible only to the assembly.
The story of Ceres and Proserpine, the foundation of the Eleusinian mysteries, was partly local. It was both verbally delivered, and represented in allegorical show. Proserpine was gathering flowers when she was stolen by Pluto. Hence the procession of the holy basket, which was placed on a car, dragged along by oxen, and followed by a train of females, some carrying the mystic chests, shouting, Hail Ceres! At night a procession was made with lighted torches to commemorate the goddess searching for her daughter. A measure of barley, the grain which, it was believed, she had given, was the reward of the victors in the gymnic exercises ; and the transaction at the temple had a reference to the legend. A knowledge of these things and places, from which the profane were excluded, was the amount of initiation; and the mode of it, which had been devised by craft, was skilfully adapted to the reigning superstitions. The operation was forcible, and the effect in proportion. The priesthood flourished as piety increased. The dispensation was corrupt, but its tendency not malignant. It produced sanctity of manners, and an attention to the social duties; a desire to be as distinguished by what was deemed virtue as by silence. I
* The mystic name of the goddess was Axhela. + Kovč. 'Outrať.
See what is said of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, p. 93.
The procession of Iacchus from Athens--The sacred way to the mountains - The monastery of Daphne, 8c.--The sacred way beyond, to Eleusis—The Rhiti or salt-streams, fc.--An inscription-Incursions of the Lacedæmonians into Attica.
The sixth day of the Eleusinian mysteries was called Iacchus from a son of Jupiter, who was said to have accompanied his mother Ceres when seeking Proserpine. An image of him, crowned with myrtle and bearing a torch, was carried from the inner Ceramicus at Athens in solemn procession to Eleusis, as it were to visit Ceres and his sister ; attended by a vast multitude, some with victims, shouting, singing, and dancing, and playing on cymbals, tabors, and other musical instruments. The way, on which he passed with his retinue, was called the Sacred. It was exactly described by Polemio, the guide. Eleusis is reckoned about four hours from Athens. In the Antonine Itinerary. the distance is thirteen miles. :-} spj... 13:
The sacred way was one of the roads, which branched off without the gate, called Dipylon. Onit was the pillar of Anthemocritus ; and beyond, a tomb; and a place called Scirum, from Scirus a prophet of Dodona, who was buried there by the torrent-bed. A monument stood near it. Farther on were two; with the sacred portion of the hero Lacias, the town called Laciades, a monument, an altar of Zephyrus, and a temple of Ceres and her daughter, with whom. Mi- nerva and Neptune were jointly worshipped. Here Phytalus, it was said, received the goddess into his house, who requited him, as the inscription on his tomb testified, by discovering to him the culture of the fig. The procession rested at the sacred fig-tree on its return to Athens. Nearer the Cephissus was a monument; and on the bank, a statue of a woman, and of her son cutting off his hair in honour of the river. Beyond the Cephissus was the altar of the mild Jupiter, at which Theseus was purified; with two tombs. By the road was a small temple of Cyamites or the beangiver. This was an epithet of Bacchus, but Pausanias was uncertain whether he was intended or some hero; for the invention of beans, from which the mystæ were directed to abstain, was not to be referred to Ceres. He adds, “ Whoever has been initiated at Eleusis, or has read the Orphica, knows what I mean.” The monument of a Rhodian was remarkable for its magnitude and beauty; as also one erected by Harpalus the Macedonian for a courtezan, whom he married at Athens. This portion of the sacred way, it is believed, extended to the mountains, which bound the plain of Athens, toward Eleusis. The present road is nearly in the same direction, leading to the olive-groves and the Cephissus. Instead of the sepulchres, altars and temples, now occur solitary churches, and a few traces suggesting unsatisfactory conjecture. The Cephissus was formidable as a torrent. A bridge was erected, that Iacchus might pass without delay. An epigram, which was inscribed on it, is preserved under the name of Simonides. It is an address to the myste, bidding them to proceed to the temple of Ceres without fear of wintry foods; for Xenocles of Lindus, a city of Rhodes, had provided for their safety in passing the broad stream. I saw