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The Eleusinian Anaktoron of Demeter and Kore

The Eleusinian Anaktoron of Demeter and Kore The Anaktoron at Eleusis, mentioned in many literary and epigraphic texts, has been the subject of considerable controversy for well over a century, as to whether the term anaktoron refers to the entire hall of initiation (Telesterion) or an inner sanctum or both. After a brief summary of the history of the controversy, special emphasis is given to the evidence of three large statue bases, most probably originally set up outside the Telesterion. Their epigrams proclaim to visitors that they are standing near a monument called Anaktoron, which clearly should be a building, not a structure within a building. While many of the testimonia concerning the Anaktoron unambiguously refer to a building, no testimonium unambiguously shows that it is not the entire building. Finally, close examination of the context of two difficult passages--a fragmentary text in Aelian (fr. 10) and Plutarch, De prof. virt. 81D­E--shows that both most likely refer to the Telesterion. Keywords: Eleusis, Sanctuary, Anaktoron, Telesterion, Mysteria In modern discussion of the Eleusinian sanctuary, from the early nineteenth century to the present, the term "Anaktoron" has been interpreted in three ways: 1) an inner sanctum, "Holy of Holies," 2) an inner sanctum or the Telesterion, or http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

The Eleusinian Anaktoron of Demeter and Kore

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 4 (1) – Jun 1, 2016

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the
ISSN
2324-8106
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2016-0008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Anaktoron at Eleusis, mentioned in many literary and epigraphic texts, has been the subject of considerable controversy for well over a century, as to whether the term anaktoron refers to the entire hall of initiation (Telesterion) or an inner sanctum or both. After a brief summary of the history of the controversy, special emphasis is given to the evidence of three large statue bases, most probably originally set up outside the Telesterion. Their epigrams proclaim to visitors that they are standing near a monument called Anaktoron, which clearly should be a building, not a structure within a building. While many of the testimonia concerning the Anaktoron unambiguously refer to a building, no testimonium unambiguously shows that it is not the entire building. Finally, close examination of the context of two difficult passages--a fragmentary text in Aelian (fr. 10) and Plutarch, De prof. virt. 81D­E--shows that both most likely refer to the Telesterion. Keywords: Eleusis, Sanctuary, Anaktoron, Telesterion, Mysteria In modern discussion of the Eleusinian sanctuary, from the early nineteenth century to the present, the term "Anaktoron" has been interpreted in three ways: 1) an inner sanctum, "Holy of Holies," 2) an inner sanctum or the Telesterion, or

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Jun 1, 2016

References