Ancient Greece has been a religion- centered culture since the earliest period of habitation in Greece, the Pre-Mycenaean/Mycenaean period. Also through to the Dark Ages to the Classical period. It is a religiously centered civilization, and did have significant changes in the how it was incorporated into people’s daily lives. Religion is important to know about the Ancient Greeks because through it we are able to understand how they lived their lives.
The Greek and Roman religions were the two major religions that were established in the ancient world. Greek religion was the first to be recognized and instituted, followed by the Roman religion. Many people believed that the Romans mimicked the Greek religion; however this was a common misconception, even though they appeared to be the same there are many distinctions between the Romans and the Greeks. Even the similarities between the two religions had slight distinctions, like their gods, they had similar functions but some of their gods were completely unique to one culture (Ferguson 154). Roman religion also had different concepts like religio, ideas about afterlife and gods that emphasis on household religion. The Romans integrated certain aspects of Greek religion into their own practices, they also maintained their own ideas which made it unique and separated the Romans from the Greeks.
When people wonder about Ancient Greece the first thing that comes to their minds is Greek mythology; gods and goddesses that have helped shape many historical events. “In ancient Greece, stories about gods and goddesses and heroes and monsters were an important part of everyday life.” (“Greek Mythology.”) The civilization showed that numerous characters and stories helped shape Greeks. The beliefs the Greeks had with mythologies was they understood the meaning behind all the characters that are known today. However, to the Greeks, they were not just characters, these were their gods and goddesses who gave them meaning and understanding of the world around them. Worshiping the gods and goddesses helped them with their religious rituals and the temperament of the weather. A famous wine-jar that was made during this time period was “Achilles killing the Amazon Queen Penthesilea, 540-530 BCE, black-figured amphora”. (Khan Academy) The civilization that they lived in grew around their worship and achievements.
Greeks thought about their gods more often than most people do nowadays. Over the course of the day the Greeks would think about the gods often. if they wanted something such as death of an enemy or a good harvest he would give a offering to a temple of the of the gods domain in which he wanted help in.
In Roman religion it was crucial “to serve the gods and ensure goodwill” (The Roman Republic). The English word “Religion” comes from the Latin word “Religio” (Overview of Religion). Latin was the ancient language of Rome, but for the Roman’s the translation meant something very different from what we understand it as today. To the Romans, “Religio” translated to “ the fear of gods” (Overview of Religion). Romans invested much of their time serving the gods, performing rituals and sacrifices in honor of them. On the contrary Greek religion did not prefer to execute rituals as much as the Romans. Greeks were more lenient when honoring the gods. They did not have a theological dogma: a part of theology dealing with truths of faith concerning God and God's work. Their many gods had different purposes and works they performed. The Greeks relied more on the verbal spread of the religion rather than having a written form. Although different, both religions had forms of praising and honoring their gods. Greek and Roman religion have many differences and similarities that impacted each group of people.
Ancient Greek religion contained a number of gods, each representing a certain portion of the human condition, and even ideas such as justice and wisdom. The most important gods, were the Olympian gods led by Zeus, they were believed to have resided on Mt. Olympus and would have been reconisible across Greece.
During the Archaic Age, Greeks explored the natural world. In the Near Eastern countries, religious beliefs grew and played a huge role in history. In the Olympian religion, it was believed that their gods were very human like and shared human-like qualities. They worshiped several gods and goddesses that had their own personalities and responsibilities. Towns were allegedly built and created by the gods. Monuments and temple were built for them in cities and towns. The people of Ancient Greece glorified these supernatural beings. Religion became more of a life style rather than religion, shaping the everyday lives of Greeks as well as their history.
The Olympian religion is very complex meaning that each god had its purpose to them and they were loyal to each god by trying to satisfy them in their own way.
Books, movies, poems, plays, and stories have all been made about the Greek Gods. These things weren’t made just for entertainment, this was the ancient Greece religion. There were twelve of these Gods and Goddesses and they were all in charge of something. The people of Greece probably came up with this religion because of it being so long ago, they didn’t have the knowledge that we have now, they came up with this to explain the things that they couldn’t explain. For example storms, they believed that every time that there was a storm that it meant that Zeus, God of the skies, was upset or angry. Tsunamis, was when they believed Poseidon, the God of the seas, was angry. However, all Gods and Goddesses were not all tied to nature. They even
Greek Mythology played a monumental role in the structural development of ancient Greece, not only as a society, but as individuals. Surprisingly, their religion was not exactly one of originality. In fact, their religion was loosely based on earlier cultures’ religions. It bears many strikingly similar resemblances to some of the oldest recorded religions in history. Ancient Greek religion is a type of polytheism called “Monarchial Polytheism.” That is, they believe in several different gods and deities but there is a supreme ruler above all of them. In order to fully understand how similar the mythological systems of religions have been throughout the years, you must look back towards the earliest of recorded civilizations. Polytheism
Religion was the central foundation in all that was Greek society and culture, as illustrated by the temples and statues they built to honor them (Matthews, Noble, & Platt, 2014). The Greek culture was a polytheistic, cult-like religion and those that recognized twelve Olympian deities and the chthonian. Their religion was a communal, “the polis and religion could not be separated, for in the eyes of the Greeks the fate of each community depended on the civic deity” (Matthews, et al, 2014, p. 42). Greek mythology and religion, while not the same are closely related with one another, as the myths disclosed much information about the gods and goddesses of the Greek religion (Matthews, et al, 2014).
The ancient Greeks practiced a religion that was in effect, a building block to many ensuing pagan religions. This religion revolved around their reverence to the gods. Essentially, the Greeks worshipped numerous gods, making their religion polytheistic. They believed that exercising the opportunity to choose between a wide variety gods to worship offered them a great sense of freedom. After all, the Greeks were known for their intellectual distinction of which their means of worship played a huge part. Each city-state had an affiliated god who protected and guided its residents. In each city-state, the belief in common gods unified the people. Ultimately, the Greeks yearned for this unity and order in the universe, which is a characteristic that is not unlike that
The ancients Greeks were polytheistic which means they used to worship many gods. Greek gods and goddesses used to live at the top of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. However, despite their great powers, gods and goddesses were much like humans, and sometimes they had to come down to hearth to get involved and intervened in the affairs of mortals, involving with men and women as patrons, enemies, and sometimes lovers. Greek mythology described their lives and every day actions and use their stories to help explain the unknown and sometimes teach a lesson.
Religion was a big thing in ancient Greece. It was personal but also present everywhere in Greece. The Greeks were polytheistic which means a belief in many gods. Each god that the Greeks believed in was in charge of an emotion or some piece of nature. The main gods lived in Mount Olympus. The main gods and goddesses were Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hestia, Demeter, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, and Hephaestus. Athens was named after the goddess Athena who is the goddess of war, arts, crafts, and wisdom. During this time goddesses were dominant so Greek woman had a big influence on religion. Since women were more soft spoken and had a higher voice than men they would whisper to the gods or sing softly to them. Women in ancient Greece were seen as oracles because of this.
Like the Egyptians, Greek civilization had multiple gods that were immortal and very powerful, but there were twelve major gods that were the most important. Some of these gods and goddesses were Zeus, Hera, Athena, and Apollo to name a few. They were believed to reside on Mt. Olympus. Greek gods were immortal. The people of Greece built temples (much like the pyramids that were in Egypt), and gods were worshipped at these temples. Ceremonial rituals or any other special occasions took place here also. Most of the temples were constructed to honor a god, and they were sacred in their being. They sacrificed animals, held festivals, and sporting events. It is apparent that the Greeks adapted some similar qualities from Egyptian religion, but they are still unique in their own way.