Athena, Demeter and Dionysus - The Worship of Ancient Gods before Christianity


For thousands of years before the time of Jesus, pagan religions flourished and gave rise to some of the most vibrant cultures the world has ever seen. While Greco-Roman worship of Athena took place publicly, mystery religions, such as the worship of Demeter and Dionysus, required secret initiation away from the public. The tolerance of the polytheistic state did not always permit, and sometimes even persecuted, such worshippers, especially those who followed Dionysus—the god of intoxication.

This video is episode nine from the series The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity,
presented by Hans-Friedrich Mueller.

Watch the full series at

00:00 Civic Cults and the World of Mystery Religions
00:51 How Athena Earned Her Epithet
02:07 How the Goddess Ge Was Conceived
03:10 Birth of the Panathenaic Festival
04:15 Contests in the Panathenaic Festival
05:28 The Procession and Animal Sacrifice
08:30 Demeter, Goddess of Grain
08:40 The Greatest Example of Exclusively Female Worship
10:35 What Are the Eleusinian Mysteries?
13:00 What is a Mystagogos?
15:00 What is the Highest Grade of Initiation?
17:00 The Worship of Dionysus
18:20 Depiction of Dionysus in The Bacchae by Euripides
20:00 What Are Maenads?
22:00 What Was the General Stance toward Polytheism?
23:30 Advantages of Joining a Non-State Cult
25:25 Why Did the State Sometimes Object to Cults?
26:00 Similarities/Differences between Mystery Religions and Christianity

Be the first to comment