Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The period of Roman control in Greece has often been considered a time of deterioration of the traditional Greek culture, when Greek ideals were abandoned and the Greek way of life became inhibited due to the loss of independence. Roman rule had, on the contrary, brought prosperity to the Greek world, which continued to flourish under the Roman auspices. The topic of this thesis is the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis in the Roman world. The study of the Eleusinian sanctuary shows that, in fact, Greek traditional institutions could thrive, and even be enhanced in the Roman period. The sanctuary occupied a prominent position in the religious life of Athens and the Greeks in the Classical period and proceeded to prosper under the Roman authority.
Roman individuals, including a number of Roman emperors, exhibited a personal interest in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Many were initiated into the cult and some chose to commemorate the event by erecting various monuments to Demeter and Kore in the sanctuary. The Athenians honoured the Romans in a number of ways connected to Eleusis. They set up statues to Romans, adlected them into the priestly families and awarded them honourary Eleusinian titles. Occasionally, the Eleusinian officials even modified the rules of the cult to accommodate the requests of the Romans. A mutually beneficial relationship was formed, whereby the Eleusinian sanctuary profited from the privilege of Roman protection and the Romans enjoyed the prestige associated with the Eleusinian cult.
Pek, Bemardine M., "The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis in the Roman World" (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6402.
McMaster University Library