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International Conference on


Monday 27th June – Friday 1st July 2022

organized by the Center for the Study of Myth & Religion in Greek Roman Antiquity, Department of Philology, University of Patras

With the kind support of the Rector’s Council and the Special Account for Research Funds, University of Patras

The Conference is under the auspices of the Rectorate of University of Patras

The Conference sessions will take place at the Conference & Cultural Center of University of Patras, Room I 10.

Within the matrix of ancient Greek and Roman religion, mystery cults constitute an intricate set of esoteric spiritual beliefs, which had strong reverberations on all aspects of human societies (politics, economy, culture), as they ardently sought to catch a fleeting glimpse of the secret eternal truth that would guarantee eternal bliss in the afterlife.
This Conference aspires to delve into the abstruse nature and the arcane pathways of ancient mysteries and cults, embracing a cross-disciplinary perspective (classics, archaeology, social and political history, anthropology, etc.), whilst welcoming original contributions on all mystery cults, both the major and the lesser / local (even isolated) ones, from within the Greek and the Graeco-Roman worlds.

Here are the essential notions and themes that the Conference aspires to discuss:

Mysteries / CultsOrigins / aetiology
Mysticism / CultismBirth, maturation, evolution (and decline) of cults
RitualsInterpretation, aims, use and abuse
DeitiesReligion / worship
Initiation / InitiatesRationalization (ancient & modern), critique
Chthonic connectionsCultural and philosophical impact
LandscapesIncongruities (logical, chronological, etc.)
Cultic associationsAttitudes, (mis)conception (ancient & modern)
“Special knowledge”Figurative vs Literary language, Symbolism
Eternal truth / realitySoteriology vs pragmatic world
Afterlife / blissReception of mysteries beyond antiquity

The organizers

Please, note that English will be the Conference’s sole official and working language