The Archaic and Classical Greek Periods

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Greek society is different from our won. The concepts that assist us to describe contemporary religious situations are quite unsuitable to use toward the analysis of what the Greeks regarded as divine. With this in mind, we can then be able to look at the outline of the practice of hero cult in both the Archaic and Classical Greek periods.
Each of these periods has their own distinctive cultural identity. This essay will look at political life as the most prominent significance for these communities to perform heroic cults.
Heroes and Hero Cult
“The word hero appears in Greek language with a twofold meaning. On one hand it is used for denoting a divine being, who lived a mortal life, but after doing some great deed deserved to become god. On the other hand, the hero stands for great and brave warrior who is ready to give his life in order to gain immortal glory, and continue to live in the social sphere, in the memory of his descendants.”, (Stevanović).
Ancient Greeks would regard with respect, the spirits of dead men, women, and children through cult activities focused around the location of the dead individual’s presumed gravesites. The individuals who would receive such honors were referred to as heroes. If the hero was honored in a way that is true, this could be indicated by prosperity and fertility among animals, plants and humans, which was community-wide. If the hero did not receive such suitable honors, due to the fault of one person or action, the whole community could be plagued with sterility and infertility.
From the very beginning, hero worship was known as ancestor worship, but by the classical period these two traditions had become separated. Nagy (1990) has shown that this transition was brought about by the co...

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...of ancient Greek heroes thus, aren't just fantastic and entertaining tales. If we were to look more closely, they are also politically charged religious myths with important messages about social, familial, and ethical obligations, which all Greeks were expected to uphold.

Antonaccio, Carla M. (1995). The Archaeology of Ancestors. Lanham, MD and London: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Lloyd, J. (2012). Archaic Period. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Nagy, Gregory. (1979). The best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Stevanović, L. Human or Superhuman: the Concept of Hero in Ancient Greek Religion and/in Politics Institute of Etnography, SASA, Belgrade.
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