Greek Ideals: A Study of Social Life

By C. Delisle Burns | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE ELEUSINIA

IN all Athenian religion there is nothing that we should more easily recognize as religious than the Mysteries. That is so, no doubt, because of the great effect the Mysteries have had on our own religious tradition; for not even Protestantism, with all its fear of ritual, has been able to escape the ideas and the emotions which were developed at Eleusis, since the literature of Christianity, especially in its early documents, is filled with the language and conceptions of Mysteries. The development of which all such Mysteries were proved capable is one of the reasons for their immense effect on the progress of thought. The first Athenian philosophers owed not only some of their terms, but even some of the experience on which they relied, to Mysteries; and the whole of Athenian life was coloured by the meaning given to it at the Eleusinia. Hence in the study of ideals it is necessary to allow for this influence; and if possible to explain the moral standard which initiation established at first in Athens and then in the whole Greek world.

It is well known that the Eleusinian Mysteries were only the most striking of many secret rites;

-51-

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Greek Ideals: A Study of Social Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Greek Ideals i
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents xi
  • Greek Ideals 1
  • Chapter II - The Anthesteria 13
  • Chapter III The Panathenaia 22
  • Chapter IV The Dionysia 39
  • Chapter V The Eleusinia 51
  • Chapter VI Politics 72
  • Chapter VII 98
  • Chapter VIII The Fifth Century 115
  • Chapter IX The Old School 132
  • Chapter X Socrates 162
  • Chapter XI The Philosophers 192
  • Chapter XII Plato on Right Action 200
  • Chapter XIII Plato on the Ideal Man 213
  • Chapter XIV Plato on Education 230
  • Chapter XV Plato on the Ideal Society 241
  • Chapter XVII The Afterglow 293
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