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Name: Date: Greek Mythology Myths are traditional stories. The Greeks used myths to explain things they did not understand. Other myths taught moral lessons or simply told entertaining stories. Since most myths are older than writing, we don’t know why people began to believe in myths, but we do know that myths have been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Greek poets told epic stories based on the myths. An epic is a long poem about the gods and their deeds. Most ancient cultures practiced polytheism. Polytheism is the worship of many gods. The ancient Greeks were different from most other cultures of their time because Greek gods and goddesses looked and acted like human beings. The Greeks told stories of their gods marrying and having children. Greek gods would have wars and celebrations and would often play tricks on one another. Most people no longer share the beliefs of the ancient Greeks, but they still find great inspiration in the stories and symbols of Greek mythology. The ancient Greeks believed their gods lived atop Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. Zeus was the head of the pantheon, or family of gods. Zeus ruled the sky with his powerful thunderbolt. Many ancient Greeks feared the anger of Zeus during violent thunderstorms. Zeus's wife, Hera, was the goddess of women and marriage. Poseidon was said to be Zeus’ brother and the ruler of the sea. Poseidon also had the power to create earthquakes. Greek mariners and fishermen believed that Poseidon would strike the ground with his mighty trident when he was ignored. A trident is a threepronged spear used by the ancient Greeks both to spear fish and as a weapon. Poseidon might cause shipwrecks with his trident, but Poseidon could also create new islands and favor sailors with food and safe travel to other lands. A third brother named Hades ruled the underworld. The Greeks believed that people passed to Hades’ territory when they died, and while they were treated fairly in the underworld, Hades would never allow them to return to the world they once knew. The ancient Greeks would honor Zeus at great athletic contests called the Olympics. The poli built temples where the Greek people would make sacrifices or pray to the gods asking for good health or a successful harvest. The ancient Greeks would often consult priests or priestesses called oracles before making important decisions. Many ancient Greeks believed that the gods spoke to the oracles. The Greek oracles were said to be able to read the rustling of leaves or marks on animals as signs from the gods. The oracles would often respond in unclear ways with puzzling statements so it would be difficult for people to prove them wrong. Answer in complete sentences 1. How were the Greek gods different from the gods of most other ancient cultures? *This is a higher order learning question. You must answer the question to the best of your ability, but any reasonable answer will be graded as correct. Name: Date: Fill in the Blanks The Greeks told t__a__i__i__n__l stories called m________ to explain things they did not understand. Greek poets recited e________ that told great stories about the gods. The ancient Greek were p__l__t__e__s__ic, but the Greek gods were different from those of most ancient cultures because the Greek gods and goddesses had many h__m__n qualities. The ancient Greeks believed their gods and goddesses lived atop M__u__t O_y__p__s, where they were led by Z______, the god of the sky who kept order with his powerful t__u__d__r__o__ts. Hera was the w______ of Zeus and the goddess of w__m__n and m__r__ia__e. Poseidon was the b__o__h__r of Zeus and the god of the s___. Another brother named Hades ruled the u__d__r__o__ld. The Greeks honored the gods and goddesses at t__m__l__s where they might pray for good h__a__th or a successful h__r__e__t. Often the Greeks would consult o__a__l__s, who were believed to be able to c__n__u__t with the gods. Oracles were d__f__i__u__t to prove w__o__g because they often a__s__e__ed in u__c__e__r ways with p__z__l__ng statements. Answer in complete sentences *1. If you are growing up in ancient Greece, how would you learn about an epic poem? 2. How were Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades related? *3. Zeus was the most powerful Greek god. What do his powers suggest the people of ancient Greece feared? *4. Make a prediction about modern society that would be similar to what a Greek oracle would make. Consider how the oracles madder sure they could not be proven wrong. *This is a higher order learning question. You must answer the question to the best of your ability, but any reasonable answer will be graded as correct.