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Greek Religion & Mythology Greek mythology was “anthropomorphic” (Their gods had human characteristics) It was believed that the gods controlled everything from the stars to the harvest. They believed in the power of 12 brilliant gods called the Olympians. Many festivals were had in honour of them. The 12 Olympian Gods & Goddesses Zeus – Sky God and Chief God Hera – Marriage & Childbirth Poseidon – Sea & Earthquakes Demeter – Earth Mother, Fertility, Crops Hestia – Hearth Athena – Wisdom & Skill Apollo – Sun & Music Artemis – Hunting & The Moon Hermes – Messenger of the Gods Aphrodite – Beauty & Love Hephaestus – Metalwork Ares - War Outside Hades (Zeus’ brother) was god of the underworld. There of Mount Olympus were other less important dieties Muses: Inspired artists and poets The Fates: 3 females who controlled the destinies of humans The Furies: avenged those who were killed by family members Religious practices Practiced individually (usually) To speak to the gods they went to shrines or temples and prayed. Greeks were very superstitious and thought that bad luck meant they had angered a God Why would they go to the gods? Illness, harvest, battle, marriage, birth To get their blessing To avoid punishment Greeks would speak out loud to the gods with their arms stretched out. They had no organized church and no religious teachings and laws. There were priests, but they had no authority. The Book of Orpheus (used by priests) was the closest thing to a sacred text. Oracle was a person who spoke for the Gods. People would come from all over seeking their advice. Death & The Afterlife Burial rites Women’s responsibility Would wash and oil the body, wrap in a shroud and place a crown on the head A coin was placed in the mouth for the boatman Charon. One day for visitors to pay respects Body was carried out to the tomb transported by pallbearers. Funeral oration (epitaphios) was read. Funerals were often used to display wealth. Professional mourners would often be hired. The River Styx Hermes (the messenger God) delivered the deceased to the River Styx. They had to cross the Styx to get over to the underworld. They were met at the river by Charon, the boatman. Here they were to pay a fee of one obolus one to cross the river. Cerberus protected the underworld and prevented those who entered from ever leaving again. Cerberus Happiness in Hades? The underworld was described as: dreary, shadowy and cheerless Greeks thought that by remembering the dead with offerings of food and drink, they might ensure their happiness. The Greeks believed that to achieve some form of happiness in the afterlife you needed to examine the mysteries of religion.