mysteries, in Greek and Roman religion, some important secret cults. The conventional religions of both Greeks and Romans were alike in consisting principally of propitiation and prayers for the good of the city-state, the tribe, or the family, and only secondarily of the person. Individuals sought a more emotional religion that would fulfill their desires for personal salvation and immortality. Secret societies were formed, usually headed by a priest or a hierophant. By the 5th cent. BC mysteries were an important part of the fabric of Hellenic life. Although the mystic rites were kept secret, it was known that they required elaborate initiations, including purification rites, beholding sacred objects, accepting occult knowledge, and acting out a sacred drama. Some mysteries were of foreign origin, such as the Middle Eastern cults of Cybele, Isis, and Mithra; some were embodied survivals of indigenous rites. The most important mystery cults in Greece were the Eleusinian, the Orphic, and the Andanian. Since the mystery deities were associated primarily with fertility, many scholars believe that these cults were based on unrecorded primitive fertility rites. The popularity of mystery cults spread in the Hellenistic age and still more widely in Roman times.
See L. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States (5 vol., 1896–1909); J. Campbell, ed., Eranos Yearbooks, The Mysteries (tr. 1955); W. Borhert, Ancient Mystery Cults (1987); M. Meyer, ed., The Ancient Mysteries (1987).
"mysteries." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mysteries
"mysteries." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mysteries
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
"mysteries." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mysteries
"mysteries." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved July 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mysteries