Ancient Greek Religion - Research Paper Example

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In ancient Greek religion, the gods were similar to human beings, with full of human emotions and feelings. One can see that, most of the gods in ancient Greek religion can be seen in the Greek literature. …
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Ancient Greek Religion
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Download file to see previous pages Thesis statement: The ancient Greek religion is entirely different from other religions because the same does not represent monotheism, but is symbolic of the unique characteristics of the different branches of Greek culture (say, Greek mythology, Greek gods and theology). Ancient Greek religion and mythology One can see that ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology are interconnected. Besides, this connection is based upon a number of mythical tales on the relationship between the gods and human beings. Walter Burkert opined that “The most important evidence for Greek religion remains the literary evidence, especially as the Greeks founded such an eminently literary culture” (4). When one goes through Greek mythology, one can see that most of the Greek heroes (say, Hercules, Odysseus etc), sought help from the Greek gods. Unlike other religions, ancient Greek religion provides less importance to cosmogony. On the other side, ancient Greek religion is not a single religion based upon a single god or the designer of all the things that can be seen in the universe. Instead, the ancient Greek religion consists of a number religious beliefs generally know as a single religion. This unique characteristic of ancient Greek religion led to different viewpoints on the creation of the universe. On the other side, most of the stories related to Greek mythology provide ample importance to warfare and the involvement of the gods in the same. For instance, the Trojan War is an important theme in Greek mythology, in which the Greek gods did extend their help to the needy. Besides, Greek mythology can be considered as the backbone of Roman literature and the origin of epic poetry. So, one cannot ignore the importance of Greek mythology and its pivotal role in the evolution of ancient Greek religion. This proves that the existence of Greek mythology is deeply indebted to the Greek gods and ancient Greek religion. Ancient Greek religion and gods As a group of religious beliefs based upon polytheism, ancient Greek religion possessed a number of gods/goddesses. Bernard Evslin stated that “The Greeks accepted the idea that there were many gods and that they were very near” (113). Besides, Mount Olympus is symbolic of the dwelling place of most of the Greek gods/goddesses. Among the Greek gods/goddesses, Zeus was most important. Still, the ultimate power and influence over the other gods/goddesses can be considered as a hereditary status inherited by Zeus from his forefathers. So, one can easily identify that ancient Greek religion provided ample importance to their gods/goddesses. Besides, the ancient Greeks provided certain human characteristics to their gods. For instance, the ultimate power was not vested upon any god/goddess. Instead, Greek gods/goddesses possessed families and their individual power represents the hierarchy of power. The ancient Greeks were interested in religious ceremonies and ritualistic practices/festivals. Within this context, they made use of altars to prove their loyalty and respect towards their gods/goddesses. In addition, the devotees were allowed to believe in any god. The devotees used to worship their gods/goddesses by presenting valuable objects. Daniel Ogden stated that “Sacrifice was the central act of Greek religion, but unlike a vase or a statue dedicated to a deity, a sacrifice ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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