Eleusis (meris of Polemon)
Eleusis is attested in 44 documents (53 attestations) from the 3rd century BC till the 8th century AD, with a lacuna for the 4th century AD.
The village Eleusis (᾿Ελευσίς) - once spelled ᾿Η[λ]ευσίς (P.Erasm. I 2) - is probably named after the homonymous Alexandrian deme, which apparently received its name from Eleusis the cult-centre of Demeter near Alexandreia. It is less likely that the village was named after this cult-centre or after that in Greece [Schubart 1913, pp.88-89 n.2, Fraser 1972, I p.44 and 46, P.Petrie2 I, p.134; against P.Mich. XVIII, p.155]. The ethnic is Eleusinios (᾿Ελευσίνιος) (P.Mil.Vogl. IV 212).
From the 5th century AD on the village was named Eleusina (᾿Ελευσῖνα) - once incorrectly spelled ᾿Ελευσῖνας (Stud.Pal. XX 249) -, which is also the name of Eleusis in Greece today.
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Eleusis was situated in the northern part of the meris of Polemon [cf. P.Berl.Frisk I, p.23 n.4], on the road from Krokodilon Polis to Oxyrhyncha (P.Erasm. I 2), not far from the metropolis (cf. also SB VI 9596 and SB XX 14085 ). About 250 BC it perhaps belonged to the nomarchy of Diogenes [Héral 1992], though the name is more supplemented than read in P.Sorb. I 28. In the 6th-7th century AD it was part of the Theodosiopolite nome (Stud.Pal. III 32) [Timm 1992, p.2630]. Banaji 2002, p.244 suggests modern Itsa as a possible location.
Neighbouring villages are Mouchis, Aphrodites Polis, Kynon Polis, Oxyrhyncha, Theogonis and Tebetny. Perhaps Eleusis bordered the canal which led from Tebetny and Kerkesephis to Kerkeesis (P.Tebt. II 400). The topoi Narkisson and Testo were hamlets near Eleusis (P.Flor. III 340) [cf. Rathbone 1991, pp.25, 184, 186, 196-197]. Since Eleusis was closely connected with Mouchis, which probably lay near the modern town of Deir el-Azab (P.Mich. XVIII, pp.96-97), the village was probably located in the same area (see map).
The village is attested as an epoikion in the 5th century AD (P.Grenf. II 83) and as a chorion from the 6th century AD onwards. In the 7th century AD Eleusis apparently formed part of a large estate together with a.o. Kerkesephis and Mouchis (Stud.Pal. X 249) [cf. Hardy 1968, p.102 on Stud.Pal. X 138].
P.Gurob 23 lists seed-grain for 1000 arouras of crown land (basilikh; gh') in the 3rd century BC. Some 80 arouras cleruchs, including three Thracian brothers Andromachos, Aristaios and Paraibates owned land in the village in the 2nd century BC (P.Thomas 2). In the 3rd century AD the well-known estate of Poseidonios (or that of Appianus) leased out property, including a mill, in Eleusis and the surrounding hamlets (P.Flor. III 340) [cf. Rathbone 1991 p.25, 184-186, 196-197]. Somewhat later 329 arourae are taxed for payments to the army (P.Strasb. IV 295). In the 6th century AD a peach-orchard is situated in the village (SB VI 9596).
The name Eleusis suggests the existence of a cult of Demeter and Kore, which was indeed popular in the Arsinoites [Thompson 1998], but is thus far not attested for the village. An unpublished Ptolemaic petition (PWien ined. G 809) is written by an asillophoros, who is at the same time responsible for the burial of the sacred ibises and hawks. In the 6th century AD the church of [ ]onios owned 19 arouras of land (Stud.Pal. X 257) [cf. Wipszycka 1972, p.43]. In AD 660 Aurelius Johannes promises to deliver one cloak (gonachion, cf. ZPE 83, 1990, pp.241-242) and 3 mattresses for the Muslim army ( (BGU II 366).
In the middle of the second cent. BC Eleusis already had its own village scribe Marres (PWien ined.G 809).
In a list of villages Eleusis belongs with Aphrodites polis to the dependencies of Mouchis (SB 24 16175). This is confirmed by the fact that elsewhere the thesauros of Eleusis fell under the ergasterion of Mouchis (P.Gurob 23, P.Tebt. III 836, cf. SB III 7200) [cf. Duttenhöfer 1993, pp.256-257, P.Tebt. III p.26 n. on l. 1-3]. In the 7th century AD a dioiketes served in Eleusis for the abovementioned large estate (Stud.Pal. X 249; cf. Wipszycka 1972, pp.141-142).
For persons living in Eleusis, click here.