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Pantheon (gods)

A pantheon (from Greek Πάνθειον - pantheion, literally "a temple of all gods", neut. of πανθείος - pantheios, "of or common to all gods", from παν - pan, "all" + θείος - theios, "of or for the gods", from θεός - theos, "god") is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.

Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a pantheon of gods and the development of monotheism.

Pantheon can also refer to a temple or sacred building dedicated to all the gods of a particular religion. The most famous such structure is the Pantheon of Rome, built in the year 27 BC to honor the Roman gods. It was later renovated for use as a Christian church after the fall of the Roman empire.

Specific pantheons

Figurative use

Since the 16th century the word has also been used in a secular sense, meaning a set of exalted people. This meaning, in modern parlance, is often used to describe the rise of a person into that exalted group, e.g., "Mick Jagger has joined the pantheon of rock megastars."

Popular culture

The term has more recently been used in fictional universes, such as H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, the Marvel universe and DC universe, and in numerous role-playing games, particularly the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse. In each, different pantheons of gods from classical literature and religious systems co-exist alongside more recent fictional creations of game writers. Such a system was the basis of the AD&D tome, Deities & Demigods. In the Cosmology of Warcraft, in the first chapter "the Pantheon" is a group of metallic like gods who begin creating order, life and crafting the worlds.

In the Kingdom Come comic series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross Pantheon Gods are seen discussing the fate of mankind while Spectre, Norman Mccay and Deadman intervene.

In Hyde School Reunion, an episode of the television show Charmed, the word is used in a High School yearbook to describe the popular kids.

References

  • Wrigley, Richard & Craske, Matthew (2004), Pantheons transformations of a monumental idea. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0754608085.

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