At Eleusis stood the most important temple of Demeter, the Greek goddess of the crops and fertility. The mysteries there were famous. But what happened there?
Needless to say there is a load of hogwash available in printed and web form averring that it was all exactly like a Christian ceremony, or maybe slightly like, or some other form of anachronistic drivel. It would seem that some US scholars even encourage this kind of mental confusion, which tells us something about the state of US universities. So where do we start, to get hold of reliable information?
As ever, the first thing to do, if we want to examine the question, is to look at the primary sources.
It seems that a website has collected all the primary sources, mingled with ancient testimonia about the myth of Demeter (which bulks them out a bit). They are here:
The site is not a scholarly one, but the author has gone to some trouble to collect these materials, and deserves our gratitude. The labour must have been considerable!
UPDATE: It looks as if the sources have been copied from elsewhere, and perhaps derive from George Mylonas, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries, Princeton, 1961. Apparently this is a compilation of data, and was the life’s work of the author. I couldn’t find a PDF, tho – anyone got one?