There are many topics to be explored in Ancient Greek mythology. This unique polytheistic religion was based upon myth about anthropomorphic gods and goddesses. It impacted every facet of Grecian life from law and ritual to culture and art. The individual as well as society both influenced the characteristics of the religion and were influenced by the religion itself.
The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece explains a variety of ways in which the Greeks were influenced by their religion. The Greeks expressed their respect for their gods through sacred acts, primarily festivals and rituals. The festivals were held to honor certain deities such as the Olympic Games, an event held for athletes meant to honor the god Zeus. The Greeks were ritualistic, participating in actions and sayings as part of religious worship; they had practices for the birth of a baby, the coming of age of young children, the death of a family member, and many more (Buxton 322). Not only was religion incorporated into their routine, but also their law, war, and medicine. In court, people took oaths sworn under the gods. During war, army officials often saw themselves as reflections of religious heroes and battle was never undertaken without sacrificing to the gods beforehand. Medical procedures - the gods were found as the cause and cure for various ailments (Buxton 324-326). Although the Greek citizenship and government were open to a narrow audience, their religion was open to almost everyone, allowing it to influence all Grecians lives and solidify social roles. Women, who had little role in Greek society, were able to engage in festivals specifically for women. The religious worship and rituals women performed often ref...
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...man, unleashes a jar full of all the evils of mankind, portraying women as a curse upon men. Also, Zeus’s constant love affairs, whether with one of his seven wives or a mortal woman, suggest that women are simply good for marrying and making children (Hesiod & Pseudo-Apollodorus). This reflects the role of women in Greece as mothers and wives. The myths show that women were inferior to men and thought to be a burden upon them as well.
In conclusion, Greek religion was highly influential upon all aspects of Greece; their art, architecture, literature, and daily lives all were affected by their religion. The characteristics of the Ancient Greek religion represent the ideas of humanism and rationalism that were present in this time. It distinguished itself from other religions with many anthropomorphic gods and goddesses who were both feared and revered by the Greeks.
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