How Did People Worship Zeus?

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The ancient Greeks worshiped Zeus in nearly every home, with altars to the deity often placed in residential courtyards, shrines inside houses, offerings of wine and prayers offered throughout the day. Communities often erected shrines to Zeus on hilltops.

According to Theoi Project, a website exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art, offerings of wine were poured near outdoor shrines in hopes that Zeus would bring rain in times of drought.

University Press Inc., which maintains the Ancient Greece website, also indicates that worshippers of Zeus saw the god primarily as a weather deity, which is why they tended to build altars to him on mountaintops, as close as possible to the sky. They believed that thunder came from Zeus hurling thunderbolts and that the rain and wind were his to command. An oracle for Zeus existed in Dodona, in northern Greece, where priests interpreted the sounds of wind in the branches of sacred oak trees as messages from the god.

The Theoi Project indicates that most ancient Greeks believed Zeus was a great protector of all people, regardless of age, social status or level of wealth. They also believed he ruled over all other gods and goddesses.