Religion in Ancient Greece Essay

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The Greeks were one of the most religious societies in the ancient world. With roots in Minoan culture, West Asian beliefs, and Central Asian gods, religion permeated virtually every aspect of Greeks' life -- from politics and culture to family, morals, agriculture, festivals, games, as well as beliefs about nature and the origin of life (Carr). The Greeks strongly believed that there were invisible, all-powerful gods and goddesses that controlled every occurrence. As a society, therefore, it was important to maintain a good relationship with the gods through prayer, sacrifice, and leading a good (morally upright) life. The prayers and sacrifices were made in sacred sites and temples where the gods were erected in their personified forms (Cartwright). Gods were also believed to reside in mountains.

Religion in ancient Greece was strongly tied to natural phenomena like rain, storms, plagues, earthquakes, and volcanoes (Carr). There were gods for each of these phenomena. Through prayer and sacrifice, the society believed that the gods could be appeased to control the phenomena. For instance, people prayed to have enough rain, hence prevent starvation. Prayers and sacrifices were also made to end plagues or earthquakes. In fact, when a plague of an earthquake occurred, it was believed that the people or rulers had angered the gods. Prayers and sacrifices were, therefore, conducted to please and appeal to the gods to end the misfortunes (Cartwright).

The Greeks also consulted the gods before going to war or battle (Carr).
By praying and sacrificing, the gods would grant them victory against their adversaries. At the family or individual level, parents would pray and sacrifice for their sick children. They would also appeal to the gods for journey mercies and success in school. People went to oracles to seek guidance from the gods. They would ask gods to provide answers for matters such as personal life, medicine, business, war, and philosophy (Carr).

With strong adherence to religion, the society strongly believed that the gods rewarded good behaviour and punished bad behaviour (Carr). Therefore, how one behaved mattered a lot. In other words, good things happened to good people, and bad things happened to bad people. Indeed, unfortunate occurrences like enduring illness were believed to be punishment from the gods for wrongdoing (Cartwright). It was, therefore, important for people to lead a good life. Right from a tender age, children were taught about the gods and the behavioural standards that were expected of them (Carr). This was important for avoiding the wrath of the gods.

One of the most important gods in ancient Greek religion was Zeus, whose Roman equivalent was Jupiter. Zeus was the king of the Olympian gods and controlled the sky, weather, fate and destiny, law and order, and kinship (Atsma). He was portrayed as a ceremonial, strong male with a dark….....

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Works Cited

Atsma, Aaron. Zeus, Theoi Project, 2017. Web. 18 February 2017.

Carr, Karen. Greek religion. Study Guides, September 2016. Web. 18 February 2017.

Cartwright, Mark. Greek religion. Ancient History, 11 April 2013. Web. 18 February 2017.

Precourt, B. Tales of the Titans and the rise of Zeus, Patherfile, 2005. Web. Web. 18 February 2017.

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to religious rituals, games and festivals. Women, children and even slaves took part in the rituals (Religion in ancient Rome). 3) Compare religion in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. How are they related? Both Greece and Roman societies worshiped gods and goddesses in their numbers and variety. It was believed that every phenomenon had a god in control of its occurrence. The Greek people identified a set of 12 deities that they believed influenced their lives most. This set was referred to as the gods of the Olympian. The Roman admired the Greek culture. They ended up recognizing their own deities in similar fashion that the Greek did (Carnagie). Both Greeks and… Continue Reading...

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