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Transcript of Greek Mythology
truth in Greek myth. Historical Background Greek Mythology encompasses the beliefs and ritual observances of the ancient Greeks. It consists mainly of a body of diverse stories and legends, collectively referred to as myths, about a variety of gods, events, and nature. Myths (derived from the Greek word "mythos" which means story) bring divinity into focus, and their subject matter touches upon the nature of human existence. Man created the Greek gods and goddesses in an attempt to explain the world. The importance of Greek mythology is twofold It acts as a means of present-day entertainment and exploration of an ancient culture... ...but in the distant past, it provided legitimacy and authority to the Greek aristocracy. And it may have provided a little fun for the ancient Greeks, too! ...and even involves interaction between
humans and the gods. ? Belief Systems The Greek were polytheistic, which means that they believed in more than one God. A few examples... Zeus, God of the Sky and Thunder Poseidon, God of the Sea Hades, God of the Underworld Aphrodite, Goddess of Love Ancient Greek religion was highly syncretic, which means that it integrated and borrowed many different beliefs from other religions. For example, the Hellenistic culture that arose after Alexander the Great was a blend of Persian, Anatolian, Egyptian, and Etruscan-Roman elements within a single Hellenistic system. There were 12 main gods which were distributed into three different areas of authority: the earth, the sea, and the sky. The Greeks believed that the gods chose Mount Olympus as their home. The ancient Greek polytheistic belief system was more concentrated on the passive human manifestations of the gods and goddesses, instead of special revelations. This is where it is said that the gods chose specific rankings and powers. Mystical Aspects Ancient Greek Rituals The ancient Greeks are said to not have had a religion in terms of having a set of rigorous beliefs and behaviors. Instead, they had a belief system consisting of sacred items, people, and places; therefore, ritual practices were not common other than for burials and sacrifices. Ancient Greeks who practiced the religion believed that sacrifice pleased the gods, and that everyone involved with the activity was willing to participate, including the animal. Votive offerings were gifts offered to the gods by their worshipers. They were often given for benefits already conferred or in anticipation of future divine favors. Ancient Greeks faced a daily challenge: to be good and to keep in mind that their goal in life was to strive to please the gods. After a person died, they may have cremated or buried the body; the latter option required embalming the corpses. A coin was placed in the mouth or eyes of the dead as a payment for Charon, the "ferryman" who took the souls of the dead across dimensions to Hades. Relevance? For one thing, the course is titled “Myth, Ritual and Mysticism." This course deals with the three things described in its title and more; it also discusses religion and dreams. The gods were created to explain natural phenomena (e.g., the ancient Greeks believed that, when lighting would strike, it was Zeus hurling his thunderbolt). Benefits Believe and respect all the Gods• Each city state had a different Deity/s that was/were worship more. This course deals with the three things described in its title and more; it also discusses religion and dreams. How the gods came to be, their powers, and the origin and creation of the universe originated from stories that were orally recited until they were written down. Greek mythology is comprised of myths such as Homer’s “Iliad” and “The Odyssey.” The very word “myth,” which is part of the course title, was borrowed from ancient Greek. People who followed Greek mythology would perform rituals (e.g., when people would set sail they would leave Poseidon some kind of gift or offering so they would have safe passage). Spartans: Ares, Artemis
Athens: Athena Since there were female Gods, women in Greece had more rites than other civilizations. Conclusion Greek mythology is a comprehensive reservoir of beliefs, rituals, stories, and festivities in which the ancient Greeks partook. The elaborate nature of Greek mythology, from the multitude of gods with specific powers to the intricacies of the godly gene pool makes for an “Ancient Greek Universe” of sorts, complete with characters, settings, plots, and other elements of story and myth. The complexity of Greek mythology also gives us insight about how developed the ancient Greeks were as a civilization. References:
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"Greek Gods, Myths, And Legends." About.com Ancient / Classical History. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.
"Religious Rituals, Festivals, Sacrifices: Connecting Ancient Greek Mythology, Religion with Modern Religion." Religious Rituals, Festivals, Sacrifices: Connecting Ancient Greek Mythology, Religion with Modern Religion. Ed. Austin Cline. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
“Ancient Greeks." AllAboutHistory.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Dancing In The Streets." Ms 17.1 (2007): 68-72. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 27 Feb. 2013.