Mystery cults represent the spiritual attempts of the ancient Greeks to deal with their mortality. As these cults had to do with the individual's inner self, privacy was paramount and was secured by n initiation ceremony, a personal ritual that established a close bond between the individual and the gods. Once initiated, the individual was liberated from the fear of death by sharing the eternal truth, known only to the immortals. Because of the oath of silence taken by the initiates, a thick veil of secrecy covers those cults and archeology has become our main tool in deciphering their meaning. In a field where archeological research constantly brings new data to light, this volume provides a close analysis of the most recent discoveries, as well as a critical reevaluation of the older evidence. The book focuses not only on the major cults of Eleusis and Samothrace, but also on the lesser known Mysteries in various parts of Greece, over a period of almost two thousand years, from the Late Bronze Age to the Roman Imperial period. In our mechanized and technology-oriented world, a book on Greek spirituality is both timely and appropriate. The authors' inter-disciplinary approach extends beyond the archaeological evidence to cover the textual and iconographic sources and provide a better understanding of the history and rituals of those cults. Written by an international team of acknowledged experts, Greek Mysteries is an important contribution to our understanding of Greek religion and society.
'Its success lies in putting together a series of extremely interesting essays which represent the best introduction to their topic currently available.' - Antiquity
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