Roman Court (Square)

Roman Court (Square)

The spacious court (square) in front of the main entrance of the sanctuary is 65m long, 40m wide and paved with large marble rectangular slabs. The court is surrounded by monumental buildings that define all around its extent. At its north end terminated the Sacred Way, the most important road artery that connected Eleusis with Athens and was traversed by the procession of the initiates during the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Temple of Artemis Propylaia and Father Poseidon

Temple of Artemis Propylaia and Father Poseidon

Approximately in the middle of the Roman Court stands the raised platform of the temple of Artemis Propylaia and Father Poseidon.  The temple was of pentelic marble and had a wooden roof and ceramic roof tiling and dated to the 2nd cent. AD.

Northwest Portico and Eschara (Grate)

Northwest Portico and Eschara (Grate)

Porticoes are elongated roofed buildings with a colonnade along their long side, the façade. They were built in public places of gathering, such as squares, markets, sanctuaries, theatres et al. In fact, in the sanctuaries the worshippers could spend there the day or the night protected from weather changes. At the entrance of the Sanctuary, an L-shaped portico bordered the west and north side of the Roman Court as far as the Sacred Road. At the Roman Court is sited the Eschara, which is a peculiar altar dated to Roman times and most probably is contemporaneous with the paved Court

Fountain

Fountain

The Fountain was included in the overall planning of the large court (square) in Roman times and is dated to the 2nd cent. AD.  It served the needs of the worshippers upon arrival at the Sanctuary, and their cleansing before advancing into its interior.

East Triumphal Arch

East Triumphal Arch

The east side of the Roman court was defined by an impressive triumphal arch through which a road led to an area outside the walls of the Sanctuary with baths, hotels and other public edifices that served the worshippers during their visit.

West Triumphal Arch

West Triumphal Arch

The west side of the Roman Court was also defined by an impressive triumphal arch, identical and corresponding to the east one, through which passed the road that led to the city gates, in the west part of the wall, and then outside the sanctuary, to the city of Eleusis.

Kallichoron Well

Kallichoron Well

According to the myth the goddess Demeter when she arrived at Eleusis, after her wanderings for days in search of her daughter Persephone, sat down to rest close to a well, the so-called Kallichoron well. As the traveller Pausanias mentions, there were performed by the maidens of Eleusis, dances, which formed part of the sacred rites in honour of the goddess.

The Greater Propylaea

The Greater Propylaea

The Greater Propylaea was the imposing gateway to the Sanctuary in Roman imperial times. It was built over the old North Pylon (Gate), the unadorned fort entrance of Cimon’s time (first half of 5th cent. BC). The building was oriented toward Athens and was an almost exact copy of the central part of the Propylaea on the Acropolis.

Roman Cistern

Roman Cistern

The big underground cistern was built on the east side of the Greater Propylaea, inside the wall, so as to secure sufficiency of water in the main sanctuary. It consists of two subterranean vaulted spaces which are constructed of stones and kiln-baked mudbricks, coated internally with impervious plaster to achieve absolute damp-proofing.

Siroi

Siroi

The siroi were magazines into which were collected the «aparchai», the first fruits of the year’s agricultural produce, at a ratio of at least 1/200 for wheat and the double 1/600 for barley, which all the cities had to offer to goddess Demeter, as a kind of tax.

The Lesser Propylaea

The Lesser Propylaea

The monumental Gateway east of Ploutonion, built in the place where in earlier times stood the Peisistratean North Pylon, was the main entrance to the Sanctuary, before the latter was extended further to the north. Then the Greater Propylaea was constructed, as the main entrance, while the Gateway served as the inner entrance, the Lesser Propylaea. According to a Latin inscription on its architrave, it was dedicated to Demeter and Persephone by Appius Claudius Pulcher, a Roman consul in 54 BC.

Ploutonion

Ploutonion

To the west of the Lesser Propylaea, at the northeast foot of the acropolis hill, two successive shallow caves are formed in the rock, which probably constituted the core of the primordial cult. In front of the largest cave lie the poros foundations of a relatively small temple, measuring about 5,12x6.80m, which was decicated to Pluto.

House of the Ceryces (Heralds)

House of the Ceryces (Heralds)

In the area west of the Greater Propylaea have been excavated buildings that were used by the staff of the Sanctuary. At the foot of the hill, there are remains of a house that is identified as the House of the Ceryces (Heralds). This place was used by the members of the holy family of the Ceryces for sessions and rituals.

Peisistratean Fortification and Extensions

Peisistratean Fortification and Extensions

The Peisistratean Fortification, with which at the end of the 6th cent. BC the city of Eleusis as well as the Sanctuary were fortified, followed along certain parts of its course the contour of the previous wall, which was restricted to the east area of the Sanctuary, while it was extended to include as much the northwest as the southwest area of it.

Processional Road

Processional Road

The Processional Road is the continuation of the Sacred Road within the Sanctuary and led from the Lesser Propylaea to the main temple of Demeter, the Telesterion, curving along the rocky slope. In Roman times this way was paved with marble slabs, of which only a few are preserved today. On either side of the Processional Road there were pedestals on which stood statues and other dedications. Some of them can still be seen at the site.

Temple of Sabina

Temple of Sabina

It lies on the north side of the Telesterion, and is aligned in the E-W direction. This is a temple of Roman times, tetrastyle «in antis». It has shallow porch with four columns between pilasters and an almost square cella (main temple). According to the prevailing view, it was dedicated to the wife of emperor Hadrian Sabina, as an indication of respect.

Telesterion

Telesterion

This is the most important building of the Sanctuary, as within it the ritual enactments of the Eleusinian Mysteries took place. The architectural remains that, today, are visible, relate mainly to the Telesterion of the classical times (5th cent. BC), which was planned by the architect of the Parthenon, Ictinos.

Portico of Philo

Portico of Philo

The Portico of Philo was attached to the east façade of the Telesterion in 4th cent. BC and its planning was undertaken by the Eleusinian architect Philo. It was founded on a strongly built substructure and its floor was paved with eleusinian limestone. It was of the Doric order with twelve columns on the façade and two on the narrow sides, of which only parts of the lower drums are preserved.

Sacred Court

Sacred Court

In all periods of the function of the Telesterion, the worshippers gathered in the Sacred Court that extended along the east, north and south side of the Telesterion. There were set up altars and numerous dedications, and there the sacred rites were performed.

Bouleuterion (Council House)

Bouleuterion (Council House)

It is situated in the southeast corner of the Lycourgean enclosure, in the south court of the Telesterion. There are preserved the foundations of a rectangular building of the 4th cent. BC which has been identified with the Bouleuterion, in which the Sacred Senate probably assembled.

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The Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica is a regional service of the Ministry of Culture and Sports

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