Eumolpidae

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The Eumolpidae (Ευμολπιδαι) were one of the sacred Eleusinian families of priests that ran the Eleusinian Mysteries during the Hellenic era. They popularized the cult and allowed many more to be initiated into the great secrets of Demeter and Persephone.

The Eumolpidae were descendants of Eumolpus, one of the first priests of Demeter at Eleusis, through his second son, Herald-Keryx. Through Eumolpus, they were related to either Poseidon or Hermes.

Starting about 300 BC, the state took over control of the Mysteries, specifically controlled by two familes: the Eumolpidae and the Kerykes. This led to a vast increase in the number of initiates. The only requirements for membership were a lack of "blood guilt", meaning having never committed murder, and not being a barbarian (able to speak Greek). Men, women and even slaves were allowed to be initiated.

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