The ancient Greeks were polytheistic and believed in a pantheon of Gods, some of whom were more powerful than others. Though Zeus was the king of the gods, he was not omnipotent, and other deities controlled specific aspects of nature and human endeavor.Continue Reading
Religion was prevalent in community life in ancient Greece, and ritualistic observance was deemed more important than private individual worship. Theatrical performances, festivals and athletic events all were held in honor of special deities. Different cities had their own protectors. For example, Athens takes its name from the goddess who protected it, Athena, and worshippers built the Parthenon on the Acropolis to honor the virgin goddess.
One aspect of the gods and goddesses ancient Greeks considered dangerous was their human-like behavior. The Greeks believed that the gods were offended if they were slighted by honoring one and not another or if humans boasted of godlike abilities. To appease the gods, priests sacrificed animals. However, because the gods did not need human food, the priests would burn certain entrails ritualistically and then offer the rest of the animal to the people for a feast. Priestesses also appeased the wrath of the gods by pouring libations of various liquids upon flaming altars. According to the ancient Greeks, the gods were anthropomorphic enough to have sex with humans. This gave rise to legends of half-mortal demigods with extraordinary powers. One of the most famous of these demigods was Hercules.Learn more about Ancient Greece
Bread, vegetables and fruit were the mainstays of a typical ancient Greek diet. Much like in the Mediterranean diet of modern times, fish was the most commonly consumed protein.Full Answer >
Overall, the ancient Greeks had a polytheistic culture that emphasized the importance of sacrifices and rituals to appease the many gods and goddesses who were known to interfere in human affairs. Emphasis was on earthly rewards rather than the afterlife. Ancient Greece spanned a vast empire and hundreds of years, encompassing a variety of beliefs and practices that often incorporated elements of foreign religions.Full Answer >
Because of the agricultural advantages of living by the sea, many Greeks chose to develop their farms there. In addition, the mild climate allowed for many Greeks to become traders and pirates, which made ancient Greek society cosmopolitan.Full Answer >
The Trojan War ended when the Greeks defeated Troy using a large wooden horse. The hollow wooden horse helped the Greeks gain entry inside the city walls of Troy.Full Answer >