CLIO FINAL - page 21

n the ancient Greek world, religion was a
part of everyday life from their powerful and ex-
travagant gods, to their wacky myths to explain
the origins of mankind, to their historic beautiful
temples. Whilst the average ancient Greek man or
woman may have had serious religious personal be-
liefs, they, as well as the government, were heavily
influenced by their belief in the Gods who greatly
influenced their lives.
In Greek paintings, pictures and literature
the gods were given human bodies and characters
in an attempt to create a relatable feeling between
man and god. Therefore just as ordinary men and
women they married and had children and many
common gods were the children of two powerful
gods, for example Hermes, the son of Zeus and
god of trade. The story of the gods was often told
through stories and myths which were passed on
through generations. This is one of the reasons why
the religion of the Greeks and the gods was so in-
grained in and had such an impact on their culture,
as these stories remained a constant in their lives
from childhood to old age.
The Greeks had gods for a range of things
from god of the sky (Zeus) to the god of sleep (Hyp-
nos). However, the most important gods were the
Olympian gods led by Zeus. They were believed to
reside on Mt. Olympus and would have been recog-
nised across Greece as the so called “big guys”, for
example Zeus (god of the sky) and Poseidon (god of
the sea). However, for regular Greek life, you didn’t
always need to pray to the almighty powerful gods
for everyday matters. For this the Greeks had gods
for the smaller things in life, and while they wer-
en’t as popular to the Olympians, they were just as
If you had an issue with your home and were
worried about people breaking in and robbing your
property, there was Hestia, goddess of domestic-
ity and the home. More relatable to school kids,
what if you have a test coming up that you forgot
to revise for, the real cheat sheet is Minerva, the
goddess of wisdom.
Religion in ancient Greece was so regular
and normal that looking back at it from the per-
spective we have now, it’s hard to comprehend a
society in which everyone had the same gods and
the same view on life.
Another important aspect of Greek reli-
gion was the large architecture related with it. The
temple was the place where, on special occasions,
religion took on a more formal tone. Gods were
worshipped at sacred sites and temples in all major
Greek communities in ceremonies carried out by
priests and their attendants. At first, sacred sites
were merely a simple altar in a designated area,
but over time massive temples came to be built in
honour of a particular god and these usually housed
a statue of the god in magnificent form, most fa-
mously the huge statue of Zeus at Olympia. If you
had a problem to do with something specific all you
needed to do was to visit the temple which houses
the god you need to talk to and pray in the same
way we do now. This was so common in ancient
Greece that there are records of some people trav-
elling halfway across the country to settle issues
as little as a dislikeable neighbour, for which you
would pray to Xenia the god of hospitality.
The ancient Greeks had a large amount of faith that
was entwined into their historic culture. While we
remember them for their science and maths, their
famous myths and powerful Olympian gods are
arguably what is most unique about their legacy.
Lim Kante 11W
How did the gods
influence the lives
of those in Ancient
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