Mystery Inquisitors: Performance, Authority, and Sacrilege at Eleusis

Classical Antiquity 28 (2):211-247 (2009)

Abstract

The master narrative of a profound crisis in traditional faith leading to a hardening of authority and religious persecution in late fifth-century Athens has a long scholarly history, one that maintains a persistent presence in current research. This paper proposes to reexamine some aspects of religious authority in late fifth-century Athens through one case-study: the trial of Andocides in 400 BCE. Instead of proposing a new reconstruction of the events that led to this trial, it will compare and contrast the rival rhetorics of authority deployed by Andocides in De mysteriis and Ps.-Lysias in In Andocidem and attempt to locate them in their respective social and cultural contexts

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