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Chapter Summary

The term τελετή was traced chronologically through Greek literature. This chapter summarizes the results of this investigation by placing separately the various meanings found, at the same time bearing in mind the probable development of those meanings. One may notice that, from the earliest time, τελετή is preferably used to denote religious acts of a special kind, which deviated in some way or other from the prevailing practices in Greece and hence drew attention. Besides the Eleusinian mysteries, other secret cults, like that of Samothrace, may have contained symbolic acts. The figurative meaning of the word 'mystery' for things known only to few persons is nowadays quite current and already existed in antiquity. As it often designated the secret act of mysteries, τελετή was used in the same manner.

Keywords: Eleusinian mysteries; Greek literature; religious acts



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