Editor’s note: A copy of this report was found this morning pushed under the door of the Mycenaean Epigraphy Room; it is reproduced here in its entirety, including the original illustrations. It is unsigned, and the author is unknown; presumably he or she wishes to remain anonymous in order not to jeopardise future fieldwork.
Many an explorer, anthropologist, or documentary-maker has attempted to enter the mysterious land known as the Faculty of Classics in order to study its inhabitants (termed Classicists). Living so long in isolation from the influence of the outside world, this uncontacted tribe must, it is often speculated, have developed its own, completely unique, culture, such as every anthropologist would dream of studying. It was, therefore, a great privilege for me not only to gain access to the Faculty of Classics just a few days ago, but also to witness first-hand one of the most important events of the Classicists’ ritual calendar: the festival known as Graduate Tea.
Although the language of the Classicists is, like all other aspects of their society, as yet poorly understood, it seems that the term Graduate refers to the level of initiation into the cult attained by the participants in this ritual,* while Tea is the name of the sacred drink (a mild stimulant) consumed in the course of the ritual. This Tea is in some way an embodiment or incarnation of the god Caffeine, so that the consumption of the drink is perhaps a form of communion with the god. Similarly there are various sacred foodstuffs, such as Brownies or Pie (illustrated):
Again, it seems that these are both sacred products in their own right and incarnations of gods – Brownies, for instance, apparently being the embodiment of both Chocolate and Sugar. The union of two gods in one foodstuff perhaps shows a connection of the ritual to fertility cults. The ritual headdresses worn by the participants, consisting of representations of wreaths of leaves, might also suggest a further connection to fertility and nature cults (their strong resemblance to Ancient Greek laurel wreaths is probably coincidental). The statue crowned with a similar wreath may be an anthropomorphic personification of one of the gods to whom this festival is dedicated (perhaps Caffeine).
What is clear from this preliminary study is that the Classicists‘ religion is characterised by highly complex ritual ceremonies. A great deal of further study will be needed to elucidate the multivalent significances of these ceremonies and the overall structure of the belief system, to say nothing of the place of ritual and belief in the Classicists’ society as a whole; but it is my hope that, now that initial contact has been established, a great deal more insight into the Faculty of Classics will soon be forthcoming.
*The cult structure appears to be rigidly hierarchical. Highest up the ranks are the Professors, presumably a kind of High Priest, although there appear to be several at any one time (we might perhaps think of the Roman pontifices). Senior Members appear to be a kind of lesser priest; Graduates rank below these but above the lowest rank, the Undergraduates, novices awaiting their first initiation ceremony.