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How the Greek revered their gods

Uploaded by kash on Jun 07, 2002

In ancient times, the Greeks had absolute and undeniable respect for their gods. They demonstrated their admiration by putting in place many rituals and celebrations to reverence the gods that they loved and feared in order to ensure harmony with them. In particular, the focus will be on the religious beliefs of the Greeks, including prayer and sacrifice, as well as on festivals and the arts, such as the ancient Olympic games and theatre. These aspects of their culture made a significant contribution to their quality of life. Moreover, these topics will be examined in relation to the twelve Olympian gods and their associates.

The ancient Greeks practiced a religion that was in effect, a building block to many ensuing pagan religions. This religion revolved around their reverence to the gods. Essentially, the Greeks worshipped numerous gods, making their religion polytheistic. They believed that exercising the opportunity to choose between a wide array of gods to worship offered them a great sense of freedom that they treasured. After all, the Greeks were known for their intellectual distinction of which their means of worship played a huge part. Each city-state, or polis, thus had an affiliated god who protected and guided its residents. Within a given polis, the belief in common gods unified the people. Ultimately, the Greeks yearned for this unity and order in the universe, which is a characteristic that is not unlike that of people today. It might seem contradictory that they believed in many gods and sought organization at the same time, for larger numbers are inherently unstable. But, to the god-fearing Greeks, each god represented a different facet of life that together upheld an organized universe if each of these gods was properly appeased. To satisfy these gods, the Greeks participated in activities such as prayer and sacrifice and erected divine temples and centers for oracles in honor of specific gods. There is evidence of this institutionalization early on in the reign of the Olympian gods, thus forming the Olympian religion.

The Olympian religion lacked the presence of true sentimentality, and the gods were not seen as forgiving or “flawless” as the Christian God is often portrayed. The Greek gods were portrayed as humans, which meant that they were not perfect. That is, the gods made mistakes, felt pain (e.g. Aphrodite in love with the mortal Adonis), and succumbed to anger and their tempers (e.g. Hera seeking vengeance...

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Uploaded by:   kash

Date:   06/07/2002

Category:   Ancient Greece

Length:   17 pages (3,725 words)

Views:   2030

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