Lecture Series

Mysteries: The sanctuary of Eleusis and the worship of Dionysus

This series took place onFrom to

This series of two lectures will analyse the mystery religions held in Eleusis, southeast of Athens, in honour of the goddess Demeter, and those dedicated to Dionysus, god of wine.

As opposed to the official Greek religion, the Eleusinian mysteries—originally agrarian cults—promised initiates a hopeful life after death through the metaphor "the death and annual resurrection of the grains", as the Professor of Greek Philosophy, Fernando García Romero, will explain in his presentation about the complex Eleusinian ritual. These myths lasted for an extremely long time, from at least the seventh century BC until the elimination of the worship by Theodosius and the destruction of the sanctuary by the Goths at the end of the fourth century AD.

Similarly, for Greek society the feasts of Dionysus, in which the fundamental experience was extasy through the dances and euphoric cries of the acolytes, entailed renouncing the common sense necessary to be able to deal with civil order, as the Emeritus Professor of Greek Philology Alberto Bernabé will discuss in his lecture. The ritual was celebrated for several days, after which Dionysus left the city and social order was immediately restored.

Lectures in this series