Demeter’s town

To continue with the blog series (that is hiccupping along!) I had begun last year. Click here to have a quick refresher of the infographic I created as an overview of the locations featured in my book The Labyrinthine Journey. In this post, we will be heading to Eleusis, renowned for the ‘mysteries’, and where the legend of Demeter and Persephone was ignited.

Map of Eleusis. Heritage management

Eleusis was established circa 1900 BCE, during the Mycenaean Bronze Age. Fortifications were built, as the site was considered a strategic location on the Saronic Gulf. It was the ‘gateway’ between Attica (Attika) and the Peloponnese. The town got its name from a mythical hero, Eleusis. According to mythology, Eleusis was the father of Triptolemus and when Demeter arrived in town looking for her daughter, she was hired by Cothonea, Eleusis’ wife, to look after their son. While ‘taking care’ of the baby, Demeter decided she would make him immortal by dipping the boy in fire. You can imagine the horror for the parents, and when Eleusis confronted her, Demeter did what most Greek gods did to mortals—she killed him.

Ruins at Eleusis (Elefsina), Greece, sacked by Dacian Costoboci ca. 170 AD. View over the excavation site towards the Saronic Gulf.
By BishkekRocks. Public Domain,

Regardless of what Demeter did, the town of Eleusis then became the centre of worship for her and her daughter, Persephone and resulted in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

c. 1,900 BCE: First recorded settlement at Eleusis.
c. 1,500 BCE: First temple to Demeter & Persephone built at Eleusis.
c. 600 BCE: The Eleusinian Mysteries become part of the official Athenian religious calendar.
c. 479 BCE: Eleusis is destroyed by the Persians.
c. 450 BCE: Pericles oversees a significant rebuilding programme at Eleusis.
c. 360 BCE: Eleusis is again expanded and new fortifications added.
170 CE: Eleusis is destroyed by the Costobocs.
170 CE – 180 CE: Marcus Aurelius oversees a rebuilding programme at Eleusis which includes a new propylaeum.
379 CE: Theodosius I orders the closure of all Greek pagan sites.
395 CE: Eleusis is destroyed in the Visigoth invasion.

Source: Cartwright, M. (2015, January 14). Eleusis. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Why did Evan and his companions go to Eleusis? After a near death experience and a long trek from Delphi, it was a good place to stop and rest. Plus, it was not far from Athens, their main destination.

I had written articles about Demeter, Persephone and on the Eleusinian Mysteries. You can click on the links below for more information on each.

A mother’s love 
Daughter of darkness
Enigmatic, Evocative and Enduring Myth of Worship Part 1
Enigmatic, Evocative and Enduring Myth of Worship Part 2

Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.


9 thoughts on “Demeter’s town

    • He might have been right. I have read those who participated in the mysteries came out more enlightened and accepting of their fate. Not sure if that was the intent of the teachings but there was something about the mysteries that helped people. Wish I knew what it was!


  1. Hi Luciana,

    Thank you for the background information on Eleusis and its association to Demeter, and for providing a map where it is located. It is fascinating where Evan went on his journey in The Labyrinthine Journey. Hope your New Year’s is going well.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linnea,
      It is an extraordinary story and how the mysteries came to be so popular. I would have liked to explored it more in the book but as you know, it wasn’t really integral to story ;D
      I am going to be more focussed on what I need to do this year for myself, something I am not good at doing. So, 2018 is going be a year of transition.
      I hope the New Year will a great one for you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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