Managing Eleusis : Religious Organisation and Financial Administration of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.

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Title: Managing Eleusis : Religious Organisation and Financial Administration of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.
Author: De Martino, Gianluca
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Grekiska språket och litteraturen
Greek Language and Literature
Kreikan kieli ja kirjallisuus
Abstract: The sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis, Attica, was the stage of the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the most venerated cults of Antiquity. The sanctuary attracted initiates for almost one thousand years, until it was destroyed by the Gothic army of Alaric in 395 AD. The aim of this work is to understand how the religious organisation and the financial administration of the sanctuary functioned and how they developed during this long span of time. By analysing the documents issued by the religious and civil officials in charge of Eleusis, it is possible to unfold the mechanisms which permitted to this peculiar shrine to thrive until the end of Antiquity. The material used in this work ranges from ancient literary sources, to the evidence brought by the epigraphic material concerning the sanctuary. In addition, also the contribution of modern scholarship is used in order to reinforce or criticize theories concerning the most disputed and controversial aspects of the subject. Almost all the most important posts in the Eleusinian priesthood were filled by two clans, the Eumolpids and the Kerykes. The former were of Eleusinian origin, while the latter were of Athenian stock and they are purported to have been added later to the cult. By analysing the range of duties performed by the Eleusinian priests, I suggest that the later inclusion of the Kerykes to the cult is evident in that during the celebration of the Mysteries this clan was responsible for the ceremonies prior to the arrival of the procession of the initiates to Eleusis from Athens. The most ancient ceremonies, held in Eleusis, were instead performed by Eumolpid priests, the originally local clan. In regard to the financial administration of the sanctuary I concentrate on the definition of roles of the single boards involved in managing a large compound as the Eleusinian shrine. Also political backgrounds and their implications are considered in discussing the reforms of the financial administration of the sanctuary which occurred during history. The Athenian democracy took control of the finance of Eleusis in the Periclean age, but I suggest that beginning from the end of the 4th century BC the Eleusinian priesthood began a process of decentralisation of the administration of the sanctuary. There is evidence suggesting that is possible that even in the Roman period the local officials of the sanctuary were left some sort of autonomy for what regarded the administration.
Subject: Eleusis
Eleusinian Mysteries
Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore

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