Very sacred is the procession, but not silent and
reverential. It is an hour when the untamed animal spirits of the
Greeks, who after all are a young race and who are gripped fast by
natural instinct, seem uncurbed. Loud rings the "orgiastic" cry,
"Iacchë! Iacchë! evoë!"
There are wild shouts, dances, jests, songs,
postures. As the marchers pass the several sanctuaries along the road
there are halts for symbolic sacrifices. So the multitude slowly mounts
the long heights of Mount Ægaleos, until—close to the temple of
Aphrodite near the summit of the pass—the view opens of the broad blue
bay of Eleusis, shut in by the isle of Salamis, while to the northward
are seen the green Thrasian plain, with the white houses of Eleusis town
near the center, and the long line of outer hills stretching away to
Megara and Bœotia.
The evening shadows are falling, while the peaceful army
sweeps over the mountain wall and into Eleusis. Every marcher produces a
torch, and bears it blazing aloft as he nears his destination. Seen in
the dark from Eleusis, the long procession of innumerable torches must
convey an effect most magical.