Demeter in Attica: the incorporation of Demeter's cult in the sacred landscape of the Athenian polis
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Demeter’s sanctuaries in the demes, the spread of Eleusinia over Attica, the celebration of the Proerosia in the demes, including the Eleusinian deme, and the strong local traditions present in the demes demonstrate the importance of the deme for Demeter’s cult. This thesis, therefore, presents a much more varied and multilayered picture of Demeter’s cult and sacred landscape than when viewed solely from an Eleusinian or Athenian perspective. By including all cult sites of Demeter in this study, I have shown the value of looking at a polis (Attica) in its entirety. While it is undeniable that the Eleusinian cult occupied a prominent position in the sacred landscape of the Athenian polis, I have noted in this thesis the presence of Demeter’s cult in the Attic demes and its importance to the cult and the sacred landscape of the Athenian polis. As the cult site of Eleusis expanded and became more important over time in Attica and the Greek world, local agricultural traditions and rites in the demes continued into the Classical period in Attica as well. This thesis fits within the scholarly debates about the importance of religion and cults in the organization and development of the polis, the influence of ancient landscapes on the organization of ritual space, and more specifically, the influence of Demeter’s cult on the sacred landscape of the Athenian polis. As already mentioned in the introduction, this thesis is only the beginning of a broader research into the sacred landscape of Demeter, as many more elements can be studied using the sources collected in this thesis.
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