The gods acted like humans and had human vices. They would interact withhumans, sometimes even spawning children with them. At times certain gods wouldbe opposed to others, and they would try to outdo each other. In the Iliad,Aphrodite, Ares and Apollo support the Trojan side in the Trojan War, whileHera, Athena and Poseidon support the Greeks (see theomachy). Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar’sOdes are included as sacred texts as are other works of classical antiquity,although there were no texts canonized or universally declared as sacred by theancient Greeks.
These are the core texts that were considered inspired andusually include an invocation to the Muses for inspiration at the beginning ofthe work. Such texts, however, were not considered inspired in the sense thatthey had to be believed by everyone. Plato even wanted to exclude the mythsfrom his ideal state described in the Republic because of their low moral tone.One ceremony was pharmakos, a ritual involving expelling a symbolic scapegoatsuch as a slave or an animal, from a city or village in a time of hardship. Itwas hoped that by casting out the ritual scapegoat, the hardship would go withit. In the period in Greece between Homer and about 450 bc the language ofrelationships between god and god, mortal and god, and lower-status mortal withhigher-status mortal was the same. The deities remained a super-aristocracy.
There was a scale of power and excellence on which the position of every mortaland every deity could be plotted. Both god and mortal were likely to resent anyattempt of an inferior to move higher on the scale. It constituted hybris(â€œoverweening pride,â€ or hubris) for a Greek hÄ”rÅs to claim that he wouldhave a safe voyage whether or not the gods were willing; it was likewise hubrisfor Electra to presume to criticize the behaviour of her mother, Clytemnestra. Tips For Editing We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. Youcan make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contributionby keeping a few points in mind. EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica articles are writtenin a neutral objective tone for a general audience. You may find it helpful tosearch within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered.
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The temple itself, though, was not used during religious practices as thesewere carried out at a designated altar outside the temple. Ancient authorsoften show a reluctance to go into explicit details of religious ceremonies andrites as if these were too sacred to be publicised in the written word. What wedo know is that the most common religious practices were sacrifice and thepouring of libations, all to the accompaniment of prayers in honour of the god.The animals sacrificed were usually pigs, sheep, goats or cows and always thesame sex as the god which was being honoured. The meat was then either burntcompletely or cooked, with part offered to the god and the rest eaten by someor all of the worshippers or taken away to be eaten later.
The actual killingof the animal was carried out by a butcher or cook (megeiras) whilst a younggirl sprinkled seeds onto the animals head, perhaps symbolic of life andregeneration at the moment of the animalâ€™s death. Other such rituals includedexamining the entrails of sacrificed animals to ascertain signs which couldhelp predict future events. Religious tourism is not a new idea, something thought up recently. It is theoldest, the most important form of â€œtourismâ€ in the history of Mankind.Every society has produced members whose quest was to commune with the divine.Religious travel has its roots in the pilgrimages of a bygone age.
Sinceantiquity the desire to embark on a journey for religious purposes has inspiredGreeks and non-Greeks to make their way to religious sites throughout Greece. Fromthe earliest times it has been a custom of the Greek people to express theirreligious sentiments, their deep faith and their reverence for God, a keycharacteristic of the Orthodox faith for 2000 years. The Greeks, to show the gods how important they were, built temples in everytown for one god or goddess. The temples were not like modern places ofworship, for ordinary people to pray in.
They were homes for statues of gods,which were cared for by priests. Religious ceremonies and festivals went onoutside the temple. The ancient Greeks worshiped their gods every day. They believed in a greatmany gods! The ancient Greeks built many, many temples. They believed eachtemple they built should honor only one god, no matter how big or elaborate thetemple. Some cities built more than one temple to honor the same god.
Womencould be priests. Priests were assisted by attendants. People would bringofferings, usually food, to the temples when they prayed. This food wascollected, sometimes stored, and eaten by the priests and the attendants inhonor of the gods. Sacred sites were located all over the place.
Sites held asimple alter at which the ancient Greeks could pray. Some sacred sites becameso popular, for whatever reason, that a temple was built on the site. TheGreeks also prayed at home in their courtyards. It was not unusual to pray athome, stop at a sacred site, and visit a temple, all in the same day.
TheGreeks held festivals to honor their gods. First a festival, then a parade to atemple, then a sacrifice – an animal of the same sex as the god beingworshiped, and then a feast. They held sporting events, like the ancient GreekOlympics, to honor their gods.
In ancient Greece, honoring the gods was part ofdaily life and part of just about everything they did. The Greeks did notbelieve their gods lived in the temples or at the sacred sites. But they didbelieved the gods visited these places, and had magical powers that could heartheir prayers. The Greeks also believed they could ask for help and advicethrough an oracle. An oracle was a wise woman with the ability to see thefuture. Apollo’s Oracle (The Trouble With Oracles). When we think about Greek mythology, we often assume that these are simplyâ€œjust stories.
â€ Maybe to us they are stories, but to the Ancient Greeks,this was actually their religion. Many of the things that we know of today,such as the Parthenon in Athens, the Archaeological site in Delphi, and eventhe Ancient Olympic Games all have their roots in the religion of the AncientGreeks. Hereâ€™s more information about this:. The religion of Ancient Greece was classified as polytheistic, which means thatthey believed in multiple deities. In fact, the gods and goddesses that we knowas the Olympian Gods were something that many religious experts accept as beingat the core of their belief system. Although there were multiple gods andgoddesses that existed in Ancient Greece, these twelve represented the core ofwhat most in Ancient Greece believed in. There are other gods and goddesses,however, that may also have been worshipped locally.
The Twelve Olympian Godsand Goddesses include Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis,Ares, Aphrodite, Haphaestus, Hermes, Hestia, and Dionysius. Worship of these gods and goddesses was part of their every day life. Forexample, most households had an alter dedicated to Hestia, the goddess of thehearth. Worship of Hestia was an almost daily ritual, as families would reservea portion of their evening meal to this goddess. The temples that we know oftoday, such as the Parthenon that is located in Athens and the Temple ofPoseidon that is located on Cape Sounion near Athens, were dedicated to godsand goddesses. The Parthenon was dedicated to Athena and the Tempe of Poseidonwas dedicated to Poseidon.
There are many such places located throughout Greeceand people would come from all over to worship the gods at these places. TheAncient Olympia Games were also a pivotal part of the religion of AncientGreece, as the games were dedicated to the king of the Gods, Zeus. There are many ways that the Ancient Greeks would practice their religion. Thisincluded activities such as telling the stories, making sure the stories werepreserved and written down, as is the case with Hesiodâ€™s Theogeny, performingrituals, and even making sacrifices.
For example, when families reserved aportion of their evening meal for Hestia, this was considered a type ofsacrifice. Some examples of sacrifices were more extreme than others. Overall,the Ancient Greeks used their religion to help explain the world around them.
Stories such as Hesiodâ€™s Theogeny, for example, served to explain how theOlympian gods themselves came to be. Many of the Ancient Greek mythos and legends have been preserved for us toenjoy today. However, it is important to remember that although they are simplyentertaining stories to us, they were serious tales to the Ancient Greeks sincethey actually made up the core of their religious beliefs. Knowing this cangive us insights into the culture of the people of that time. The most lavish funerary monuments were erected in the sixth century B.C. byaristocratic families of Attica in private burial grounds along the roadside onthe family estate or near Athens. Relief sculpture, statues (32.
11.1), and tallstelai crowned by capitals (11.185a-c,f,g), and finials marked many of thesegraves. Each funerary monument had an inscribed base with an epitaph, often inverse that memorialized the dead.
A relief depicting a generalized image of thedeceased sometimes evoked aspects of the personâ€™s life, with the addition ofa servant, possessions, dog, etc. On early reliefs, it is easy to identify thedead person; however, during the fourth century B.C., more and more family memberswere added to the scenes and often many names were inscribed (11.100.2), makingit difficult to distinguish the deceased from the mourners.
Like all ancientmarble sculpture, funerary statues and grave stelai were brightly painted, andextensive remains of red, black, blue, and green pigment can still be seen(04.17.1). People prayed to these gods for the same reasons we pray today: for health andsafety, for prosperity, for a good harvest, for safety at sea. Mostly theyprayed as communities, and through offerings and sacrifice they sought toplease the inscrutable deities who they believed controlled their lives. Personal, privately-held belief unimportant or trivial; public, ritualperformance mattered. While some practitioners of specific mystery cults mayhave looked to their religion as a way to attain the Afterlife, entrance toParadise or Hell did not depend on one’s religiosity. This article examines how this material culture worked to bring gods andmortals into contact.
It does so by tackling three major issues: first, itdiscusses how a wide range of artifacts, monumental and modest, shapedsanctuary space and guided and recorded the worshipperâ€™s interaction with thedivine; second, it looks at images of gods themselves and how these affectedepiphany, while maintaining a critical gap and insisting on their strangeness;and third, it uses art to rethink the relationship of religion and myth.Although there are some continuities between cultures, the rise of Hellenisticand Roman ruler cults created a new subcategory of gods, creating additionalrepresentational challenges. Out of this came Christ, who was god incarnate. Webriefly explore how early Christian artists used the problems ofanthropomorphism to their spiritual advantage. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20thcentury, Greece saw monarchies and ousting of royalty, fierce political fights,assassinations, and dictatorships, wars that added neighboring territories andnew population, but also brought economic devastation and poverty.
After thedefeat of Germany and the end of World War II, Greece joined NATO in 1952 andexperienced a bitter civil war between communist and anticommunist forces. In 1967, a group of military officers seized power, establishing a militarydictatorship that suspended many political liberties and forced the king toflee the country. In 1974, democratic elections and a referendum created aparliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In August 1974 Greek forces withdrewfrom the integrated military structure of NATO in protest against the Turkishoccupation of northern Cyprus. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. In 1981, Greecejoined the EC (now the EU) and became the 12th member of the Eurozone in 2001.It successfully hosted the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Even the Greek Constitution guarantees freedom of faith, but defines the”prevailing religion” of Greece as the Eastern Orthodox Church ofChrist. Most Greeks, whether deeply religious or not, revere and respect theOrthodox Christian faith, attend church, observe major religious holiday andare emotionally attached to Orthodox Christianity as their “national”religion. The conjugal family includes the husband and wife and their children. Theextended family includes the conjugal family as well as ascendants of thehusband and/or wife. Interestingly, the National Statistical Service of Greececonsiders all people who live under the same roof to be members of the family,regardless of whether they are related.
Greece is also famous for its alcoholic drinks. Liquor includes ouzo andtsipouro with ouzo being the most famous Greek alcoholic beverage, consideredthe trade mark of the country. It is mixed with ice or with a bit of water andis ideal to drink with all kinds of mezedes.
Tsipouro is similar to ouzo butwith a stronger taste of anis. In different parts of Greece people make theirown home made tsipouro, also called raki, depending of the region. After the ceremony, the bridal couple stays in the church and all the guestskiss them and wish them â€œna ziseteâ€ (Long Life to You). Then everybody goesto the wedding reception, which is usually a restaurant rented for the night,where people dance, eat and drink all night long. The god Poseidon, a brother of Zeus, not only looked after the seas; he wasalso in charge of earthquakes and horses. Quarrelsome, surly, petulant andgreedy were some of the adjectives used to describe him and he was reputed tohold a grudge for a long time. His symbol was the trident or fish spear whichcould cause earthquakes or create springs when struck on the ground.
Apollo was the god of music, of health, healing and human enlightenment. Histwin sister Artemis was the goddess of hunting and, oddly enough,guardian ofwildlife. Theory and Method in the Study of Religion Edited by Aaron W. Hughes(University of Rochester) This volume reflects on current debates in theacdemic study of religion by reprinting select articles form the Brill journalMethod and Theory in the Study of Religions, currently in its 25th volume, andasking a group of younger scholars to comment on them. A 1936 law requires houses of worship to get a permit, which Sharkawi says thegovernment wonâ€™t hand out. At least not to Muslims. So this mosque is one ofdozens in Athens alone, operating illegally.
The most important oracle was that of Apollo at Delphi. Hither came envoys ofnations as well as individuals, and none went away without some answer to theirquestions. After preliminary sacrifices, the priestess purified herself andmounted the tripod in the temple; the question was propounded to her by atemple official, and it was his function also to put her wild ravings intohexameter verse for the person consulting the oracle. A considerable number ofthese answers remain to us, all, of course, somewhat vague, many of themcontaining shrewd advice on the question that was brought to the oracle. Thehonor paid to the oracle and its influence, on the whole an influence makingfor high ethical standards and wise statesmanship, must be recognized. Theearly Christian Fathers held that the Pythian priestess was inspired by an evilspirit; later critics have treated the whole institution as a clever device todeceive the people; but in view of the respect paid to the oracle through somany generations, it is hard to believe that its officials were not honest intheir effort to discover and make known the will of the god they served. Gods of the natural world Peter Jones, co-founder Friends of Classics: “Ancientreligion embraces every feature of the natural world.
The original deities areearth and sky. Sky comes down to earth and copulates and produces all the knownfeatures of the world, and also all the gods. So the gods are not external tothe world – they are made by the world, they are internal to the world. Thereare gods of woods, there are gods of rivers, and there are gods of trees. Younever know when you might stumble across a god. All gods were in play, no godswere banned. Greek myths are just stories about the gods, they are not sacredtexts in any way – there was no such thing as a Greek bible.
When Christianitycame in it claimed it was unique – that there was one God, and all the othergods were false gods, and therefore had to be banished”. In comparison to most other European countries, religion is quite important inGreece. It is tied to every aspect of the culture, and the percentage ofself-identified religious people is among the highest in Europe.
The officialreligion in Greece is Eastern Orthodoxy, known also as Greek Orthodoxy.Reference to Greek Orthodox religion on Greek ID cards was mandatory until2001. If you are driving around Greece, the number of churches that seem to beeverywhere will surprise you. Wherever you are, chances are that if you lookaround you will be able to see at least one church.
Given our long and variedhistory, many of those churches are over 500 years old, not to mention theAncient Greek temples that exist in several parts of Greece. The church of AgiaFotini near Tripoli, uniquely combines several elements in one church!. The longest periods of fasting are the weeks before Easter, before Christmasand before the Dormition of Virgin Mary on 15th August. Also, Wednesdays andFridays are days of fasting. A few foods like olive oil and wine have their ownspecial place in the fasting regime, so they are not allowed on all fastingdays. Although attending church on Sundays is not extremely important in big citiesin Greece, it is quite common in rural areas and smaller towns. In many areas,the church is not only a place to worship God, but also a place to meetlike-minded people and to socialise.
The evil eye is a common idea around the Mediterranean, and not only. It is acurse, believed to be given to a person by someone looking at them. Althoughthe evil eye tradition is arguable of a pagan nature, the Orthodox churchaccepts it nevertheless.
Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of Greece. They were all butdestroyed during the Bronze Age, circa 1900 BC, when a large wave of Mycenaeantribes migrated into Greece from the Balkans. The new inhabitants were largelydominated by the Minoan civilization of Crete for some 500 years untilapproximately 1400 BC, when the Mycenaeans threw off Minoan control. Homer’sIliad and Odyssey date from the Mycenaean period. Although altered by time,they nonetheless provide at least a glimpse into Mycenaean warfare, politics,religion, and daily life.
There were four dominant Greek city-states â€” Corinth, Thebes, Sparta andAthens. Of those four, Sparta and Athens were the most powerful. Eventually thebattle for supremacy between the two would shake the Greek world to itsfoundations. In 490 BC the Persian fleet landed a huge force (somewhere between 20,000 and100,000 soldiers) in Attica. They were met by a much smaller force of perhaps9,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plateans, who defeated the Persian army in detail.
This bought the Greeks some 10 years of peace. The war continued for decades. The Spartan forces invaded Attica and besiegedAthens, and the city fell victim to a massive and deadly plague which killedthousands, including the great leader Pericles. But Athens survived, and theSpartans were driven back. The Athenian navy harassed the enemy coastlines andoverseas allies, draining the Peloponnesian League’s larders and treasuries.
Neither side was able to gain an advantage, and in 421 they signed anotherpeace treaty. Upon news of Philip’s death, the southern Greek city-states attempted torevolt, but Alexander moved south at the head of 3000 Macedonian cavalry, andthe terrified city-states quickly surrendered. He then headed north into theBalkans, where, in a lightning campaign he defeated several armies much largerthan his force.
Eastern Orthodox is the dominant religion constituting 92% of the Greecepopulation. The Religion had its origins from the schism that occurred betweenthe Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Their disagreement was onissues related to the celibacy of the priests, Holy Communion, and the wordingof the Creed. The control of the Pope of the Eastern Patriarchs was also partof the dispute. The division left the Eastern Church outside the control of thePope. It is the dominant religion that is officially recognized in theconstitution. The Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the largest congregation with hundreds ofchurches.
Other religions in Greece include Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhismamong others. The Greece government is continuously allowing for religiouspluralism through the enactment of laws aimed at enabling their operation. Forexample, in 2006, it passed a law that allows for cremation which is areligious practice done by the Hindus. The law was lauded by the Indiancommunity that is mainly found in Athens.
Jehovahâ€™s Witness, Seventh DayAdventists, Mormons, and Scientologists are the other small religious groups inthe country. Some of them number just a few hundreds.