Greek Gods

external image Olympians.jpg

Religion is used to explain the unexplainable, and the Greeks were no different. They used stories and myths about the many gods, demi-gods, and heroes to send messages. These stories serve the same function as the Bible would for Christians, the Qur'an for Islam, or the Torah for the Jewish religion. The three main gods are personifications of the three powers of nature: Air, Fire, and Water. Zeus, being the god of the sky, was symbolic for air. Posiedon, the god of the sea, was symbolic for water. Hades, the god of the underworld, is less related to fire, but in modern terms, hell is the Christian version of the underworld, and hell is usually portrayed as being a place filled with fire.
Athena, Goddess of wisdom
Athena, Goddess of wisdom


12 Olympic Gods:
Zeus: King of the Gods, God of the sky and thunder.
Poseidon: God of the sea and earthquakes.
Hera: Goddess of women and marriage.
Demeter: Goddess of grain, fertility, and the pure.
Athena: Goddess of wisdom, peace, strategy, reason, and handicrafts.
Ares: God of war and bloodlust.
Apollo: God of light, sun, prophecy, archery, healing, music, and poetry.
Artemis: Goddess of the moon, forests, child birth, virginty, and the hunt.
Aphrodite: Goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality.
Hephaestus: God of smiths, technology, fire, volcanoes, and sculptors.
Hermes: God of messengers and shepherds.
Hestia: Goddess of the hearth.

Greek God Family Tree


*Hades, the God of the underworld, and Dionysus, the God of Wine, are both other important gods, but they do not live on the peak of Mt. Olympus, so they are not considered olympic.
Mt. Olympus
Mt. Olympus

The Greeks believed that the gods resided on the peak of Mt. Olympus.

The gods played an extremely important part in the lives of the ancient greeks. There whole life was based upon pleasing the gods, or fixing the anger they have caused. They worshipped and sacrificed commonly, and were always working towards the gift of a better afterlife. If they pleased the gods, then they would be rewarded with a good afterlife. If they angered the gods, they would be condemned to the worse parts of the underworld, or even worse, some of the many creative, harsh torutures that the gods can think up.
Sisyphus, enduring one of the God's never ending torments
Sisyphus, enduring one of the God's never ending torments

The Greeks used sotries and myths to further explain things that there religions alone could not explain. One example is the story of Pandora, and how she let all of the bad things that affect mankind out of the box. The greeks needed a reason why there was so much suffering and sickness in the world, so they chose to believe the story about Pandora.
Pandora holding the box that contained all the bad things that are present for humankind.
Pandora holding the box that contained all the bad things that are present for humankind.


Greeks worshipped these gods in a number of different ways. The most common was in the form of animal sacrifice, but liquid sacrifices were also made. All sacrifices were made in the temple of the specific god. There were numerous festivals and feasts to honor the gods.

A painting of one of the many religious festivals that the Anceint Greeks celebrated.
A painting of one of the many religious festivals that the Anceint Greeks celebrated.


Many of the Greeks gods are still recognized in modern culture. Numerous statues and paintings still reflect certain gods. After the Roman empire took over Greece, they adopted many of the same types of Gods that the Greeks had, althought they changed the names and places that they resided. Many of those Gods now have the same names as planets, for example Venus is the Roman version of Aphrodite.

The Greeks were the first religion to make the gods seem more human like than animals. In Egypt, many of the gods had human bodies, but had animal heads or other parts of thier body. In Greece, the only real difference between the gods and humans was that the gods were immortal. They were portrayed mostly in human form, and myths showed that gods often made mistakes and got into arguements, which related them more towards humans.


Dionysus and a satyr
Dionysus and a satyr



Sources:

http://www.greek-islands.us/greek-gods/Olympians.jpg
http://www.allabouthistory.org/ancient-greek-gods-and-goddesses-faq.htm
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http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/grlg/hd_grlg.htm
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sumer_anunnaki/serpent_tribe/images/bacchanal_b4a_herm.jpg
http://www.mother-god.com/images/pandoras-box.jpg
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