Greek Mythology

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Greek Mythology: How it Relates to Greek Religion and Culture Ancient Greeks believed in a series of myths, which explained nature, set the moral code for the Greek people, and some were just entertaining stories. These myths turned the Greek world from a world of fear into a world of wondrous beauty. Many of these gods and goddesses were associated with a particular task or activity (Buxton). The Greek people believed that the gods were incorporated into every aspect of their lives. The Ancient Greeks, being a polytheistic culture, created many extravagant myths regarding 12 gods and goddesses that they believed to rule all aspects of their lives. These myths were an early science. They were the result of the Greeks trying to explain the world around them. The Greek people created their gods in their own image, naturally making heaven an enjoyable and familiar place (Hamilton). In Greek mythology the Gods did not create the universe, but instead, the universe created the gods. The mythology of the people of Greece begins with Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. It is in these epic poems that Homer tells the stories of the many gods and hero’s of Greece. We now know who and what the Greek gods were, but how are they relevant to the Greek Religion? It is important to know that the Greeks did not have a word for religion. Also they did not have any written text or scripture. When we talk about Greek religion we mean their ritual behaviors and their beliefs in sacred items, beings, and places (Cline). We also must remember that Greek mythology is not the same as Greek religion, though they are closely intertwined. The only requirement of the Greeks for their religion was to believe in the gods and perform sacrifices to them. These sacred acts, sacrifice and festivals, were the root of the Greek religion (Buxton). This seems to be a rather relaxing way to carry on in life, but not so. The Greeks attributed anything good happening to the gods being happy


Cited: “Ancient Greece.” Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2008. Sept. 14, 2008. Cambridge University Press, 1998. Anthropology. Sept. 14, 2008. . Cline, Austin. “Ancient Greek Mythology, Religion, Art” Sept. 14, 2008. “Greek Religion.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York. Back Bay Books, 1942. Sept. 16, 2008. . volume 1. California. Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2005. “The Ancient Greeks.” 2002. Sept. 16, 2008. . Wilkinson, Philip. Dictionary of Mythology. New York. DK Publishing, 1998.

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