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Homeric Hymn to Demeter

[700-650 B.C.]  
From the reading and discussions, know the following:
    Keleus (king of Eleusis)
    Iambe (maid)
    kykeon (beer)
    mystery religion
    hieros logos (sacred story)
    Lesser Mysteries (at Athens in Feb-March)
    Greater Mysteries (9 days in Sept-Oct)
    Great Procession along the Holy Way
    dromena (things acted out)
    deiknumena (things revealed)
    legomena (things spoken)
    mystes (pl. mystai)
    epoptes (pl. epoptai)

Study Questions
1. What kind of power do the major divinities have in HH 2? Is Zeus really the all-powerful god that we see in Homer and Hesiod? How does Hades' power conflict with Demeter's? Is there any evidence that Demeter is a mother goddess more powerful than the male divinities in the poem?

2. Compare Demeter to any of the mother goddesses in Enuma Elish or Theogony.

3. Compare the power of Demeter with the power of God in Genesis.

4. Compare the mother-daughter relationship in HH 2 with the father-son relationships in Theogony or the male-male friendship in the Iliad or Gilgamesh.

5. Violence is quite prevalent in the creation myths we have read. Compare the use of violence in HH 2 with its use in the succession myth of Theogony or in Genesis. Do they use similar means? Are there similar results?

6. How do the Eleusinian Mysteries differ from traditional Greek religion that we have seen in Homer and Hesiod? What components are the same? What accounts for the differences? In other words, why do you think the mysteries were so popular?

7. What is the relation between myth and ritual in this mystery religion? In what details do they correspond? Are there any discrepancies between the myth and the ritual? Which came first, the myth or the mysteries? Why? Can you think of any modern parallels in which there is a correlation between myth and ritual?

8. Even though the Eleusinian Mysteries were practiced during antiquity in only one place, is there anything in the mysteries that one could consider universal? In other words, is there anything in the cult that could be considered meaningful today? The type of gods worshipped? The kind of ritual enacted? Its doctrine?

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