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ERECHTHEUS 100.00%

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A mythical king of Athens. According to Homer he was the son of Earth by Hephaestus, and brought up by Athene. Like that of Cecrops, half of his form was that of a snake-a sign that he was one of the aborigines. Athene put the child in a chest which she gave to the daughters of Cecrops, Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosos, to take care of; forbidding them at the same time to open it. The two eldest disobeyed, and in terror at the serpent-shaped child (or according to another version, the snake that surrounded the child), they went mad, and threw themselves from the rocks of the Acropolis. Another account made the serpent kill them. Erechtheus drove out Amphictyon, and got possession of the kingdom. He then established the worship of Athene, and built to her, as goddess of the city (Polias), a temple, named after him the Erechtheum. Here he was afterwards worshipped himself with Athene and Poseidon. He was also the founder of the Panathenaic festival. He was said to have invented the four-wheeled chariot, and to have been taken up to heaven for this by Zeus, and set in the sky as the constellation of the charioteer. His daughters were Orithyia and Procris (see BOREAS and CEPHALUS). Originally identified with Erichthonius, he was in later times distinguished from him, and was regarded as his grandson, and as son of Pandion and Zeuxippe. His twin brother was Butes, his sisters Procne and Philomela. The priestly office fell to Butes, while Erechtheus assumed the functions of royalty. By Praxithea, the daughter of Cephissus, he Was father of the second Cecrops (see PANDION, 2), of Metion (see DAeDALUS); of Creusa (see ION), as well as of Protogoneia, Pandora, and Chthonia. When Athens was pressed hard by the Eleusinians under Eumolpus, the oracle promised him the victory if he would sacrifice one of his daughters. He chose the youngest, Chthonia; but Protogeneia and Pandora, who had made a vow with their sister to die with her, voluntarily shared her fate. Erechtheus conquered his enemies and slew Eumolpus, but was afterwards destroyed by the trident of his enemy's father, Poseidon.
 
ERICHTHONIUS 100.00%

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See ERECHTHEUS.
 
CHTHONIA 72.71%

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Daughter of Erechtheus of Athens, who was sacrificed by her father to gain the victory over the men of Eleusis. (See ERECHTHEUS.)
 
PANDION 49.63%
Son of Erichthonius, father of Procne and Erechtheus (q.v.).
 
XUTHUS 37.65%
Brother of Aeolus (q.v., 1), and husband of Creusa, the daughter of Erechtheus; adoptive father of Ion (q.v.).
 
ERECHTHEUM 23.84%

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The original sanctuary of the tutelary deities of Athens, Athene Pollas, (the goddess of the city) Poseidon, and Erechtheus. It was situated on the Acropolis. The old temple, said to have been built by Erechtheus, was burnt by the Persians in 480 B.C. The restoration was perhaps begun as far back as the time of Pericles, but, according to the testimony of an inscription in the British Museum (no. XXXXV), was not quite finished in 409. The new temple was, even in antiquity, admired as one of the most beautiful and perfect works of the Attic-Ionic style. It was 65 feet long and nearly 36 broad; and was divided into two main parts. Entering through the eastern portico of six Ionic pillars, one came into the cella of Athene Pollias, with an image of the goddess, and a lamp that was always kept burning. To the solid wall at the back was attached the Erechtheum proper. Here were three altars, one common to Poseidon and Erechtheus, the other to Hephaestus and the hero Butes. Connected with this, by three doors, was a small front-chamber, with seven half columns adorning the western wall, and three windows between them. This chamber was approached through a hall attached to the north side of the temple, adorned with seven Ionic columns in front, and one on each side. Under this was a cleft in the rock, said to have been made by the stroke of Poseidon's trident during his contest with Athene for the possession of the Acropolis. Corresponding to this on the south side was a small hall, supported not by pillars, but by caryatides. This was called the Hall of Core, and it probably contained the tomb of Cecrops. From it a step led down to a court, once walled round, in which were the Pandroseum (see PANDROSOS), the sacred olive tree of Athene, and the altar of Zeus Herkeios. On the east side, in front of the temple of Athene Polias, stood the altar on which the great hecatomb was offered at the Panathenaea. (See plan of ACROPLIS.)
 
PANDION 16.58%
Son of Cecrops and Metiadusa, grandson of Erechtheus, king of Athens. Driven into exile by the sons of his brother Metion, he went to Megara, where he married Pylia, the daughter of king Pylas, and inherited the kingdom. His sons, Aegeus, Lycus, Pallas, and Nisus, regained Attica from the Metionidae, and the first three shared it among themselves, while Nisus (q.v.) received Megara.
 
BUTES 16.51%
An Athenian hero, son of the Athenian Pandion and Zeuxippe. A tiller of the soil, and a neatherd, he was a priest of Athene the goddess of the stronghold, and of Poseidon Erechtheus, and thus ancestor of the priestly caste of the Butadae and Eteobutadae. He shared an altar in the Erechtheum with Poseidon and Hephaestus. The later story represented him as the son of Teleon and Zeuxippe, and as taking part in the expedition of the Argonauts.
 
ACROPOLIS 13.95%
 
BOREAS 12.25%

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In Greek mythology, thd North Wind, son of Astraea and Eos, brother of Zephyrus, Eurus, and Notus. His home was in the Thracian Salmydessus, on the Black Sea, whither be carried Orithyia from the games on the Ilissus, when her father, Erechtheus king of Athens; had refused her to him in marrage. Their children were Calays and Zetes, the so-called Boreadae, Cleopatra, the wife of Phineus, and Chione, the beloved of Poseidon (see EUMOLPUS). It was this relationship which was referred to in the oracle given to the Athenians, when the fleet of Xerxes was approaching, that "they should call upon their brother-in-law." Boreas answered their prayer and sacrifice by destroying a part of the enemy's fleet on the promontory of Sepias; whereupon they built him an altar on the banks of the Ilissus.
 
SCIROPHORIA 10.18%
An Athenian festival celebrated on the 12th of the month Scirophorion (June-July), called after it. It was in honour of Athene, who was worshipped under the name of Sciras near Sciron, a spot on the "holy way" leading from Athens to Eleusis. It had its name from the large white sunshade (sciron) beneath which the priestess of Athene (the patron goddess of the city), the priest of Erechtheus, and the priest of Helios went to Sciron to sacrifice. The sunshade was a symbol of heavenly protection against the rays of the sun, which began to burn more intensely during the month of the festival. This protection was invoked with special reason, for the dry limestone rock was thinly covered by a meagre surface of soil in the neighbourhood of Athens, and particularly near Sciron itself. In this, as in other festivals of invocation, there were also expiatory offerings; and hence they carried in he procession the hide of a ram that had been sacrificed to Zeus as the mild and gracious deity (meilichios).
 
CECROPS 9.08%

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One of the aborigines of Attica, and as such represented with a human body ending in a serpent (see cut). In the later story he was erroneously represented as having come to Attica from Sais in Egypt. He was said to have been the first king of Attica, which was called after him Cecropia. He divided the rude inhabitants into twelve communities, founded the stronghold of Athens, which was called Cecropia after him, and introduced the elements of civilization, the laws of marriage and property, the earliest political arrangements, and the earliest religious services, notably those of Zeus and Athene. When Poseidon and Athene were contending for the possession of the land, Poseidon struck the rock of the acropolis with his trident, and water (or, according to another story, the horse) sprang forth; but Athene planted the first olive tree. Cecrops, on being called in to decide between them, gave judgment in favour of the goddess, as having conferred on the land the more serviceable gift. Cecrops had four children by his wife Agraulos: a son Ervsichthon, who died childless, and three daughters, Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosos. The names of the last two show them to be the deities of the fertilizing dew; and indeed the three were regarded as in the service of Athene, and as giving fruitfulness to the fields. Pandrosos was Athene's first priestess. She had a shrine of her own (Pandroseum) in the temple of Erechtheus on the acropolis, and was invoked in times of drought with the two Attic Horae, Thallo and Carpo (see ERECHTHEUM). In her temple stood the sacred olive which Athene had created.
 
ION 8.07%
According to the Attic story, the son of Apollo and Creusa, daughter of the Athenian king Erechtheus. He was exposed at his birth by his mother in a grotto on the cliff of the Acropolis, whence he was taken by Hermes to Delphi and brought up by the Pythian priestess to be an attendant in his father's temple. Creusa afterwards married Xuthus, who had migrated from Thessaly, and was son of Hellen and brother of Aeo1us and Dorus. As this marriage was childless, the pair went to Delphi to consult the god as to the cause. Xuthus received the command to consider as his son the first person he should meet in front of the temple. This happened to be Ion, who bad meanwhile grown up, and was at once accepted by Xuthus as his son. But Creusa, fancying he was her husband's son by a former union, resolved to poison him. Ion detects her design in time and would have killed Creusa, who however takes refuge at the altar of the god. Then the Pythian priestess produces the cradle in which he had been exposed as an infant, and thus brings about recognition and reconciliation between mother and son. Ion married Helice, the daughter of Selinus, king of the Aegialeans on the north coast of the Peloponnesus. At the death of this king he became monarch of the land, and the inhabitants assumed the name of Ionians after him. Afterwards being called upon by the Athenians to help them against Eumolpus and the Eleusinians, he conquered the enemy and was made king of Athens. From the four sons who are attributed to him, Hoples, Ge1eon, Aegicores, and Argades were descended the four Ionic tribes.
 
DAEDALUS 7.51%
The mythical Greek representative of all handi-work, especially of Attic and Cretan art. As such he was worshipped by the artists' guilds, especially in Attica. He was said to be the son of the Athenian Metion, son of Eupalamus (the ready-handed) and grandson of Erechtheus. He was supposed to have been the first artist who represented the human figure with open eyes, and feet and arms in motion. Besides being an excellent architect, he was said to have invented many implements, the axe for instance, the awl, and the bevel. His nephew and pupil (son of his sister Perdix) appeared likely to surpass him in readiness and originality. The invention of the saw, which he copied from the chinbone of a snake, of the potter's wheel, of the turning lathe, and of other things of the kind, was attributed to him. Daedalus was so jealous of him that he threw him from the Acropolis; and being detected in the act of burying the body, was condemned by the Areopagus, and fled to Crete to king Minos. Here, among other things, he made the labyrinth at Gnosus for the Minotaur. He and his son Icarus were themselves confined in it, because he had given Ariadne the clue with which she guided Theseus through the maze. But the father and son succeeded in escaping, and fled over the sea upon wings of wax feathers made by Daedalus. Icarus, however, approached too near to the sun, so that the wax melted, and he fell into the sea and was drowned. The sea was called after him the Icarian, and the island on which his body was thrown up and buried by Heracles, was called Icaria. Daedalus came to Camicus in Sicily, to king Cocalus, whose daughter loved him for his art, and slew Minos who came in pursuit of him. He was supposed to have died in Sicily, where buildings attributed to him were shown in many places, as also in Sardinia, Egypt and Italy, particularly at Cumae. In Greece a number of ancient woodtn images were supposed to be his work, in particular a statue of Heracles at Thebes, which Daedalus was said to have made in gratitude for the burial of Icarus.
 
ATHENE 5.37%

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A Greek goddess, identified with the Roman Minerva. According to the story most generally current, she was the daughter of Zeus, who had swallowed his first wife Metis (" Counsel "), the daughter of Oceanus, in fear that she would bring forth a son stronger than himself. Hephaeestus (or, according to another version, Prometheus) clave open the head of Zeus with an axe, on which Athene sprang forth in full armour, the goddess of eternal virginity. But her ancient epithet Tritogeneia ("born of Triton," or the roaring flood) points to water (that is, to Oceanus); as the source of her being. Oceanus was, according to Homer, the origin of all things and of all deities. The worship of Athene, and the story of her birth, were accordingly connected with many brooks and lakes in various regions, especially in Boeotia, Thessalia, and Libya, to which the name Triton was attached. From the first, Athene takes a very prominent place in the Greek popular religion. The Homeric hymns represent her as the favourite of her father, who refuses her nothing. When solemn oaths were to be taken, they joined her name with those of Zeus and Apollo, in a way which shows that the three deities represent the embodiment of all divine authority. With the exception of the two gods just mentioned, there is no other deity whose original character as a power of nature underwent so remarkable an ethical development. Both conceptions of Athene, the natural and the ethical, were intimately connected in the religion of Attica, whose capital, Athens, was named after Athene, and was the most important seat of her worship. Athens was originally the maiden daughter of the god of heaven; the clear, transparent aether, whose purity is always breaking forth in unveiled brilliancy through the clouds that surround it. As a deity of the sky she, with Zeus, is the mistress of thunder and lightning. Like Zeus, she carries the aegis with the Gorgon's head, the symbol of the tempest and its terrors. In many statues, accordingly, she is represented as hurling the thunder-bolt. But she also sends down, from sky to earth, light and warmth and fruitful dew, and with them prosperity to fields and plants. A whole series of fables and usages, belonging especially to the Athenian religion, represents her as the helper and protector of agriculture. The two deities Erechtheus and Erichthonius, honoured in Attica as powers of the fruitful soil, are her foster-children. She was worshipped with Erechtheus in the temple named after him (the Erechtheum), the oldest sanctuary on the Athenian Acropolis. The names of her earliest priestesses, the daughters of Cecrops, Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, signify the bright air, the dew, and the rain, and are mere personifications of their qualities, of such value to the Athenian territory. The sowing season was opened in Attica by three sacred services of ploughing. Of these, two were in honour of Athene as inventress of the plough, while the third took place in honour of Demeter. It was Athens, also, who had taught men how to attach oxen to the yoke; above all, she had given them the olive-tree, the treasure of Attica. This tree she had made to grow out of the rock of the citadel, when disputing the possession of the land with Poseidon. Several festivals, having reference to these functions of the goddess, were celebrated in Attica; the Callynteria and Plynteria, the Scirophoria, the Arrhephoria or Hersephoria, and the Oschophoria, which were common to Athens with Dionysus. (See DIONYSIA.) Even her chief feast, the Panathenoea, was originally a harvest festival. It is significant that the presentation of the peplos or mantle, the chief offering at the celebration, took place in the sowing season. But afterwards more was made of the intellectual gifts bestowed by the goddess. Athens was very generally regarded as the goddess of war; an iaea which in ancient times was the prevailing one. It was connected with the fact that, like her father Zeus, she was supposed to be able to send storms and bad weather. In this capacity she appears in story as the true friend of all bold warriors, such as Perseus, Bellerophon, Jason, Heracles, Diomedes and Odysseus. But her courage is a wise courage, not a blind rashness like that of Ares; and she is always represented, accordingly, as getting the better of him. In this connection she was honoured in Athenian worship mainly as a protector and defender; thus (to take a striking example) she was worshipped on the citadel of Athens under the name of Promachos ("champion," "12 protector.") But she was also a goddess of victory. As the personification of victory (Athene Nike) she had a second and especial temple on the Athenian Acropolis. (See Plan of ACROPOLIS.) And the great statues in the temples represented her, like Zeus, with Nike in her outstretched hand. The occupations of peace, however, formed the main sphere of her activity. Like all the other deities who were supposed to dispense the blessings of nature, she is the protectress of growing children; and as the goddess of the clear sky and of pure air, she bestows health and keeps off sickness. Further, she is (with Zeus) the patroness of the Athenian Phratrioe, or unions of kinsfolk. At Athens and Sparta she protects the popular and deliberative assemblies; in many places, and especially at Athens, the whole state is under her care (Athene Polias, Poliachus). Elsewhere she presides over the larger unions of kindred peoples. The festival of Athene Itonia at Coronea was a confederate festival of all Boeotia. Under the title of Panachais she was worshipped as the goddess of the Achaean League. Speaking broadly, Athene represents human wit and cleverness, and presides over the whole moral and intellectual side of human life. From her are derived all the productions of wisdom and understanding, every art and science, whether of war or of peace. A crowd of discoveries, of the most various kinds, is ascribed to her. It has been already mentioned that she was credited with the invention of the plough and the yoke. She was often associated with Poseidon as the inventress of horse-taming and ship-building. In the Athenian story she teaches Erichthonius to fasten his horses to the chariot. In the Corinthian story she teaches Bellerophon to subdue Pegasus. At Lindus in Rhodes she was worshipped as the goddess who helped Danaus to build the first fifty-oared ship. In the fable of the Argonauts it is she who instructs the builders of the first ship, the Argo. Even in Homer all the productions of women's art, as of spinning and weaving, are characterized as "works of Athene." Many a Palladion or statue of Pallas bore a spindle and distaff in its left hand. As the mistress and protectress of arts and handiwork, she was worshipped at the Chalkeia (or Feast of Smiths) under the title of Ergane. Under this name she is mentioned in several inscriptions found on the Acropolis. Her genius covers the field of music and dancing. She is inventor of the flute and the trumpet, as well as of the Pyrrhic war-dance, in which she was said to have been the earliest performer, at the celebration of the victory of the Gods over the Giants. It was Phidias who finally fixed the typical representation of Athens in works of art. Among his numerous statues of her, three, the most celebrated, were set up on the acropolis of Athens. These were (1) The colossal statue of Athene Parthenos, wrought in ivory and gold, thirty feet in height (with the pedestal), and standing in the Parthenon. (See PARTHENON.) The goddess was represented wearing a long robe falling down to the feet, and on her breast was the aegis with the Gorgon's head. A helmet was on her head; in one hand she bore a Victory, six feet in height, in the other a lance, which leaned against a shield adorned with scenes from the battles of the Amazons with the Giants. (2) The bronze statue of Athene Promachos, erected from the proceeds of the spoils taken at Marathon, and standing between the Propylaea and the Erechthteum. The proportions of this statue were so gigantic, that the gleaming point of the lance and the crest of the helmet were visible to seamen, on approaching the Piraeus from Sunium. (3) The Lemnian Pallas, so named because it had been dedicated by the Athenian Cleruchi in Lemnos. The attractions of this statue won for it the name of "the Beautiful." Like the second, it was of bronze; as a representation of Athene as the goddess of peace, it was without a helmet. Throughout the numerous and varying representations of her, Athene has an imposing stature, suggesting a masculine rather than a feminine form; an oval face, with a brow of great clearness and purity; thoughtful eyes, compressed lips, firm chin, and hair carelessly thrown back. (See cut.) Her ordinary attributes are the helmet, the aegis covering the breast or serving as a shield for the arm, the lance, the round shield with the Gorgon's head, the olive branch, and the owl. (On her identification with Minerva, see</italics MINERVA.)
 
ELEUSINIA 2.89%

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The two mystic festivals of Demeter and her daughter Persephone (Core) celebrated in Attica. They took their name from the city of Eleusis, twelve miles distant from Athens. This was, from time immemorial, a seat of the worship Of Demeter, instituted, it was said, by the goddess herself after the disappearance of her daughter. (See DEMETER.) The worship of Dionysus was early associated with that of the two goddesses of the earth, for Dionysus was himself a god of fertility, worshipped here under the name of Iakchos, as son of Zeus and Demeter or Persephone. The ritual of the Eleusinian service was supposed to have been ordained by Eumolpus (see EUMOLPUS). The conquest of Eleusis, which took place, according to the story, under king Erechtheus, gave Athens a right to take part in the solemnity, and the lesser of the two festivals was actually celebrated in Athens. Eleusis, however, continued to be the chief seat of the worship, and the highest priesthoods were hereditary in the Eleusinian families of the Eumolpidae and Kerykes. The sanctity which shrouded the Eleusinian mysteries occasioned the foundation of Eleusinia on their model in other Greek cities. But the initiations at Eleusis were always accounted the most sacred and the most efficacious. The events celebrated in the mysteries were the descent of Persephone into the world below, and her return to light and to her mother. The former was celebrated at the greater Eleusinia between autumn and seed-time; the latter in spring at the lesser Eleusinia. The symbolical representation of both events had the same object. This was to excite and strengthen in the minds of the initiated, by means of the story of Persephone, the faith in the continuance of life, and a system of rewards and punishments after death. The right of initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries was in all probability restricted originally to inhabitants of Attica, but it was not long before it was extended to all Greeks. In later times, after their closer connexion with the Greeks, the Romans were also admitted. Barbarians were excluded, and so were all who had been guilty of murder, or any other serious offence. The neophyte was proposed for initiation by an Athenian citizen who had himself been initiated. He was admitted first to the lesser mysteries at the lesser Eleusinia. At this stage the candidates were termed Mystoe, and were allowed to take a limited part in the greater Eleusinia the next autumn. They were not initiated, however, into the greater mysteries, until the greater Eleusinia succeeding these ; and after their initiation were called epoptoe, or seers. The external arrangement of the festival was in the hands of the second archon, or Archon Basileus, who exercised a general superintendence over the whole of the public worship. He was assisted by four overseers (epimeletoe), two of whom were elected from the whole body of citizens, and two from the Eleusinian families of the Eumolpidae and Kerykes.[1] The high-priestly officials, who carried out the liturgical functions at the celebration, were also chosen from these two families. The Hierophantes, or chief priest, belonged to the house of Eumolpus. It was his duty to exhibit to the initiated the mysterious shrines, and probably to lead the performance of the hymns handed down from his ancestors. The Keryx, or herald, was of the house of the Kerykes. He summoned the initiated, in the traditional form of words, to worship, pronouncing for them the form of prayer. The Daduchos or torch-bearer, and the superintendent of the sacrifice, were also important officials. The lesser Eleusinia were celebrated in the month Anthesterion, which corresponded roughly to February. The service was performed at Agrae, a suburb of Athens on the Ilissus. in the temple of Demeter and Core, and accompanied by mystical rites, the nature of which is unknown. It was said to have been founded at the wish of Heracles, who, being a stranger, was excluded by usage from the greater Eleusinia. The great Eleusinia were celebrated in the middle of Boedromion (roughly = September), for a space probably of nine days. The first days were devoted to the preparation for the main festival, bathing in the sea, sacrifices of purification, and the like. On the sixth day, the 20th Boedromion, the immense multitude of mystae, in festal attire and crowned with myrtle, marched in procession along the sacred way to Eleusis, preceded by the image of Iokchos, who gave his name to the celebration. Much time was spent, partly in the performance of acts of devotion at the numerous holy places on the road, partly in merriment and banter; so that it was late in the evening before they arrived at the Telesterion, or house of initiation, at Eleusis. This was a magnificent temple erected by Pericles in place of the ancient temple of Demeter, which had been burnt down in the Persian War. During the following nights various celebrations took place at those spots in Eleusis and its neighbourhood which were hallowed in the story of the goddess. In these were represented the sorrowful searching of the goddess for her lost daughter, and the mother's joy at finding her. The transition from sorrow and fasting to joy and festivity was symbolized by the potion mixed of water, meal, and penny-royal, supposed to have been the first food tasted by Demeter after her reception in Eleusis. It was probably while, these celebrations were going on that the Epoptae, and the Mystae who were called totheir final initiation, took part in the mysteries proper. Mysterious rites were first, it would seem, performed in darkness, which threw the celebrants into a state of painful suspense and expectation. Then, in a dazzling light, and amid great splendour, the Hierophantes showed them certain shrines of the goddess and Iakchos, explaining their meaning; holy songs being meantime performed, partly by himself, partly by choirs with instrumental accompaniment. The climax of the whole was the sacred drama, a representation of the story of the three goddesses in the worlds above and below. The festival was brought to a close by a libation of water from two vessels in the shape of a top (plemochoe). The water was poured in the direction of east and west with mystical formulae. The ancients speak of the revelations made in the mysteries as having a beneficial influence on morality, pointing as they did to reward and punishment after death. They represent them farther as giving comfort in the trials and sufferings of life, and as opening brighter hopes after death. It is certain that there were few citizens of Athens who were not initiated; many who neglected the rite early in life were initiated in old age. For in the popular belief the initiation conferred a claim to the joys promised in the mysteries to the good after death. The Eleusinian mysteries maintained their position for a long time. Among the Romans, men of the highest rank, as, for instance, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, deigned to receive the initiation. When the Christian emperor Valentinian put an end to all religious celebrations by night, he excepted the Eleusinia, which continued in existence till they were abolished by Theodosius towards the end of the 4th century A.D.
 
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