Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean CLASSICS 517
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Linwood Conroy on Thursday September 17, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CLASSICS 517 at University of Wisconsin - Madison taught by Grant Nelsestuen in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 44 views. For similar materials see /class/205302/classics-517-university-of-wisconsin-madison in Classical Studies at University of Wisconsin - Madison.
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Date Created: 09/17/15
Greek Gods Heroes and Polytheism 9132010 541 00 PM A The Gods I Poseidon Soter of Sunium 1 Name Poseidon associated with the panhellenic deity Poseidon o Same first name same God EVEN if they have different epithets the Greeks viewed the various epithets activities as the same God as long as the first name was the same Epithet soter savior links him with the protection of sailors and especially with the victory of the Greek navy over the Persians at the ballet of Salmis in 480 o Epithet generally denotes the Deity s function o Separate sanctuary for each epithet even if a God has multiple epithets a Ex Athena had many epithets all of which reflected her with a different alter location rituals dedication and area of concern Locale sunium of Athens where his cult is located o Each of these three elements name epithet and locale are of critical importance to Greek worshipers II Because they share the same names many assume the Greek Gods of classical literature were the gods actually worshiped by the Greeks this is FALSE 1 Homer and Hesiod can be partly accredited with creating the royal family as we know it through Greek Mythology 2 At the same time Homer and Hesiod based their representations of the Gods off of a long line of oral tradition o Composite deities deities selected from local cults of the Greek world to suit poet s songs a Elaborated in poetry and songs but based off of actual cults 3 Local cult myths tended to stay the same bc of a strong sense of Greek religious conservationism o However the Gods were usually imagined and represented physically in the form that epic poetry created for them III Bottom Line the familiar 12 Olympian deities each shared a dual nature a panhellenic type in literature but also probably in every citystate a local form with its own individual cult myth function ect B Ouranic of the sky and Chthonic in the earth Gods I Deities such as Hermes Chthinios moved between the upperworld and underworld in order to perform their divine functions II Offerings 1 To ouranic deities in daylight directed towards the sky often involved feasting 2 Chthonic deities offerings were directed down towards the earth liquids at night animals sacrificed were black and no meat was set aside for sacrificers o Many MAJOR exceptions to this rule C Heroes and Heroines I Heroes real human beings who had lived human lives performed some extraordinarily great or awful deed had died and been buried and received public cult at their tomb 1 The focal point of the heroes cult was hisher tomb 2 Received downward offerings at tomb 3 The heroa was thought to contain their actual remains 4 Heroes bound unlike a God to one locality the state or neighborhood in which his tomb or heroon was located 5 All heroes were either Athenian or had myths linking them to Athens II What did Heroes provide worshipers 1 Medical healing walth childbearing seafaring protection etc 2 Worshipe meant to appease them prevent harm III Many heroes were thought to have lent their names to prominent families districts marathon or regions 1 Such heroes were worshiped by groups named after them D Gods and Heroes in Combination I Major deities rarely stood alone in cult associated with deistic family members II Deities were also associated in cult by function hint similar epithets III Heroes also drew family memvers into their cults IVHeroes and gods did not inhabit mutually exclusive realms rather they could be and often were united in cult and myth 1 Proximity of sanctuaries sometimes influenced this V Nymphs and satyrs and muses counted as deities 1 Distinguished by gender and age had alters but not named o Nymphs young women o Satyrs wild halfman halfbeasts o Muses early poets appealed to these goddesses for inspiration VI For all of these lesser deities local circumstances determined what type of deities they were and whether or not they received worship E A Human in a polytheistic world I Areas where divine help was sought wNi I Fertility of crops animals and human beings Economic prosperity Good health Safety war and seafaring o Individuals sought divine help through prayers and offerings Individuals only worshiped the divinities associated with their cities and did not participate in rituals for gods of other regions Greek Gods Heroes and Polytheism 9132010 54100 PM A Athena Poseidon and Athens I Athena and Poseidon raced to be patrons over Athens but Athena won and planted an olive tree as evidence Poseidon struck the acropolis with his trident creating a salt sea in anger 1 Athena protected the olive trees in Athens 2 Three marks on Acropolis rock where Poseidon struck it o Myth explains why in Athens Athena and Poseidon are often paired B Erechtheus Athena and Athenian Autochthony I Erechtheus born from the Athenian ground by Hephaestus semen foster sonned by Athena who installed him in the temple on the Acropolis and he became king in Athens eventually Founded the Panathenaea Athena s major festival in Athens 1 Athenians thought of themselves as autochthonous born from the earth itself in Athens not migrants like other greeks o Sense of equality since all traced from same earth parent o Since Athena was a virgin goddess they were not her direct descendents but the next best thing from her foster son C Erechtheus Poseidon and Athena I Erechtheus has to kill one of his daughters to win a war against Poseidon s son His other two daughters commit suicide in grief He kills Poseidon s son Poseidon kills Erechtheus with his trident Athena establishes heroine cult for daughters makes Erechtheus wife her own priestess and creates a cult for Erechtheus and Poseidon in her own temple Athenians worship Erechtheus every year in temple of Athena with sacrifice of bulls and rams 1 Myth known to all Athenians as part of nathional history 2 Myth retold by Euripides and other tragedians in theater D Dionysus Icarius and Ergone I 9132010 541 00 PM