Various Ways Ancient Greeks Used to Communicate with Gods

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Religion was an integral part of ancient Greek society and there were various ways in which the people could communicate directly or indirectly with the Olympian gods. Ancient Greeks could receive messages from the gods though a medium of a priestess or priest at oracles such as Delphi, Asclepius and Dodona. One of the biggest and most widespread ways to communicate indirectly with the gods was to sacrifice a valuable part of the harvest or a healthy animal such as an ox or sheep. Home rituals were also important to an ancient Greek household, as they were a way of communicating directly with the gods and they were performed in many aspects of life such as birth and marriage.

Oracles were used in ancient Greece as a way of the gods communicating with mortals through a mediator; this was often at oracular shrines which the people turned to for advice (Joint Association of Classical Teachers, 1984). All the oracular shrines had a fixed method of divination. They observed signs, movement of birds or even the rustle of leaves. Dreams were also often interpreted and a popular method that was used later on involved the use of an entranced priestess called a Pythia who was interpreted by a priest (Oracle, 2013). The most influential oracle was Delphi, though there were many other oracles that were available to the ancient Greek people and they used many different methods of divination, such as, rustling leaves, rushing waters and reflecting mirrors and also inhaling gases or smoke (Joint Association of Classical Teachers, 1984). The function of an oracle was not to tell the future, but to give advice to the Greeks that asked. Most oracular shrines included a subterranean chamber, yet no trace of one has been found at the Oracle of Delp...

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