Ancient Greek Religion and the Eleusinian Mysteries with Dr. Frederika Tevebring

Ancient Greek Religion and the Eleusinian Mysteries with Dr. Frederika Tevebring


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Every year people from all over the Greek world would travel to Athens to take part in a multi-day ceremony which ended with a ceremony at the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis, some 20km down the coast. There, participants were initiated into the goddess’s mysteries, a secret religious society. The Eleusinian mysteries was one of the most significant panhellenic festivals, one of the rare religious institutions common to all Greeks, from the Black Sea to the Italian coast. 

According to myth, Demeter was welcomed by the people of Eleusis when she was searching for her abducted daughter. To thank them, she introduced humanity to agriculture. The cult was founded in the Bronze Age, became a constant throughout Greek history. It continued under Roman rule (several emperors were initiated) until its slow demise with the advent of Christianity. We know both much and little about what happened at the festival. We can reconstruct the ceremonies (which included bathing with a piglet), but the exact benefits the initiates could expect has remained a well-kept secret since antiquity.

 In this talk, we will look at the archaeological site of Eleusis, the many literary and artistic depictions of the cult, and the myths surrounding it. We will also discuss how modern scholars and philosophers became fascinated with Eleusis and interpreted it as anything from an early version of freemasonry to a raging sex party.

Led by an expert on Greek mythology and its modern afterlife, Dr. Frederika Tevebring, this Conversation will introduce you to one of the most important of the ancient Greek religious institutions, the Eleusinian mysteries. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the lived experience of Greek religion. 

Originally from Sweden, Frederika lived in Berlin and Chicago before settling in London. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature with focus on Classics from Northwestern University. She has also earned a BA and MA in Ancient Studies and Religious History respectively from the Freie Universität, Berlin and has several seasons of archaeological fieldwork around Greece under her belt.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

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B. (Hatfield, GB)
Excellent deep dive into the subject

This was an excellent session - well paced, thorough and full of interest. I also appreciate the suggestions for further reading/research.

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A. (Portland, US)

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Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
50%
(1)
50%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
B. (Hatfield, GB)
Excellent deep dive into the subject

This was an excellent session - well paced, thorough and full of interest. I also appreciate the suggestions for further reading/research.

A
A. (Portland, US)

Guest did not leave comment