Text and Context: The Narrative Audience of the Homeric Hymn to Deemter and the Cult at Eleusis
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This thesis examines the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and its relation to Demeter's cult at Eleusis, whose origins are presented in mythological form in the hymn. The historical and religious context of the hymn is examined by analyzing the assumptions that the narrator makes about his audience. From this narratological analysis, it becomes clear that the narrator presents the concept of death as problematic early on in his story, and presents the revelation of the mystery cult at Eleusis as benevolent and necessary for mortals. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that the narrator assumes that he has a large and diverse audience, with varying degrees of mythological foreknowledge and familiarity with the Eleusinian cult, and that the narrator adapts well-known and lesser-known stories in a way that displays a complex interaction between Greek religion and myth as a whole, and local cult practices and narratives.