FEATURESMyth and Religion are inseparable: they sought for answers and thesewere provided by myths.Polytheistic.Communal and social.Deities were worshipped in different ways depending on the area.Private and public rites.No dogmas, but morals: Greeks should be fair, respectful of laws,sober and should always keep in mind their human weakness andinferiority to the gods.
THE OLYMPIANSAnthropomorphic: they looked like humans and they acted as humans.Supernatural powers.Immortal.Fate or Necessity was over them and determined the events that occurred.There were twelve of them and we will be studying them in the next section. Sarcophagus of Prometheus (Louvre Museum)
FESTIVALS AND GAMESEach polis had its own festival.The most well-known were:The Panathenaea in Athens (processions)The Games in Olympia (sport events)The Dionysia in Athens (theatre and music)
SACRIFICESBloodless sacrifices: milk, honey or wine were offered to the god.Blood sacrifices: an animal was killed. The organs and fat were offered and meat was eaten by the whole community. The sacrifice of many animals (even 100) was called hecatomb. Sacrifice scene (Louvre Museum)
SANCTUARIESIn these places, gods were worshipped.The most well-known were Olympia, Delos, Epidaurus and Delphi.Epidaurus was a sort of hospital where pilgrims prayed for healing fromAsclepius.At night, he sent them healing dreams, which were interpretedby the priests the next day.. Asclepios and his daughter Hygieia
ORACLESAn oracle was the answer given by a god to a question, whose words or signalswere interpreted by a priest or priestess.At Dodona, the priests in the sacred grove interpreted the rustlingof the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken.The most well-known was Delphi where Pythoness communicated withApollo by going into a trance. Priestess of Delphi by John Collier
MYSTERIESBesides the official religion, there were the so-called mysteries.Their rituals or dogmas were only known by initiates.They offered solutions to questions about death and the afterlife. Eleusian mysteries in honour of Demeter and Persephone. Orphic mysteries: in honour of Orpheus, they offered immortal life. Dionysian mysteries: night orgies and dances of ecstasy to honour Dionysos.The Youth of Bacchus by W. A. Bouguerau