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Classics & Ancient History   >   Greek Religion: Mystery Cult

What is Mystery Cult?

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Greek Religion: Mystery Cult

In this course, Professor Richard Seaford (University of Exeter) explores the Greek institution of mystery cults, focusing in particular on the Eleusinian and Dionysian Mysteries. In the first module, we think about what a mystery cult actually was – what was the purpose of mystery Cults? what form did they take? After that, we consider three aspects of the Eleusinian Mysteries: first, the various rites and rituals that were involved in the celebration of the mysteries; second, the extent to which celebration of the mysteries was a personal as opposed to a collective, political experience; and third, the process by which individuals were initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. In the fifth and final module, we turn to the Dionysian Mysteries, exploring their presentation in Euripides' Bacchae, and focusing on particular on the status of Pentheus as an unwilling and/or failed initiate.

What is Mystery Cult?

In this module, we think about what Mystery Cult was, focusing in particular on its purpose and its form.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Seaford, R. (2018, August 15). Greek Religion: Mystery Cult - What is Mystery Cult? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Seaford, R. "Greek Religion: Mystery Cult – What is Mystery Cult?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Prof. Richard Seaford

Prof. Richard Seaford

Exeter University