Travel not to escape life but for life not to escape you

Iera Odos (Sacred Road / Ιερά Οδός in Greek) was in ancient times the road that connected the city of Athens with Eleusis / Elefsina (Ελευσίς / Ελευσίνα), where once a year the famous (but still unexplained about their exact character) Eleusinian Mysteries (Ελευσίνια Μυστήρια) were performed. Iera Odos was 22 km long, starting from Kerameikos (Κεραμεικός) and for the most part it followed the course of today’s Iera Odos ending at the Sanctuary of Demeter in Eleusis. Based on historical data, it is considered that the inhabitants of Athens crossed this course for the first time during the Late Helladic period (1600-1100 BC) in order to approach the settlement of Eleusis. Later, when the worship of the goddess Demeter began in the area of Eleusis (during the 11th century BC) and after the Eleusinian Mysteries were officially established (in the 8th century BC), the ancient Iera Odos played an important role with the procession of Athenian pilgrims following this path on their route to the Sanctuary. Eleusinian Mysteries were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone. They are the most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece. Their basis was an old agrarian cult and represented the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother Demeter by the king of the underworld Hades, in a cycle with three phases: the descent, the search and the ascent, with the main theme being the ascent of Persephone and the reunion with her mother. Those who took part in the Mysteries were called mystes (mystics / μύστες in Greek) and were selected by very strict procedures. Mystes were accepted into the Mysteries at least one year after their initial initiation and had to take an oath of secrecy. The ceremonies of the first stage of initiation included the sacrifice of a pig and the purification by a priest. Mystes also received some teaching, which later allowed them to understand the Mysteries. [Visit this link for more information about Eleusinian Mysteries].


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