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As Marvin M. Meyer explains in his excellent introduction, the Mysteries (from the Greek myein = to close) were associations of individuals: 'The Mysteries were secret religious groups composed of individuals who decided, through personal choice, to be initiated into the profound realities of one deity or another. They joined an association of people united in their quest for personal salvation.'

Unlike the Catholic Church or State religions, the Mysteries had no power base and no organized structure. They were an easy target for those who considered them as enemies or serious rivals in their power search. The Catholic Church attacked them fanatically in speech, picture and scripture. After becoming the official religion under Constantine the Great, the Roman Church convinced emperor Theodosius the Great to commit one of the most savage crimes against humanity: he ordered in A.D. 391 the abolition of all pagan mysteries and the destruction of their sanctuaries, giving at the same time a religious monopoly to the Pope.

This book contains excerpts of very well known works like 'Bakchai' by Euripides or 'The Golden Ass' by Apulejus, but also texts which are difficult to find.

The editor wrote a small introduction for each of the mysteries considered together with excellent bibliographies.

Not to be missed by all those interested in Ancient history.
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on 24 November 2015
Pulls many ancient sources together for easy reference. Not awe inspiring but none the less a useful work based on original texts.
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