In the ancient Greek world, religion was personal, direct, and present in all areas of life. With formal rituals which included animal sacrifices and libations, myths to explain the origins of mankind and give the gods a human face, temples which dominated the urban landscape, city festivals and national sporting and artistic competitions, religion... [continue reading]
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Marble statue of Nike, Olympia. Dedicated to Zeus by the Messenians and Naupaktians after their victory over Sparta in 424 BCE. Sculpted by Paionios of Mende. (Olympia Archeaological Museum, Greece).
The ancient Olympic Games were a sporting event held every four years at the sacred site of Olympia, in the western Peloponnese, in honour of Zeus, the supreme god of Greek religion. Involving participants and spectators from all over Greece and even beyond, the Games were the most important cultural event in ancient Greece and were held from 776... [continue reading]
Pan is a figure from Greek mythology who was originally a pastoral god from Arcadia. He was believed to dwell in the mountains and forests of Greece and was considered the patron of shepherds, hence one of his attributes is the lagobolon - a hare trap. Not fully human in form, his legs are that of a goat and he has horns sprouting from his head. Associated with... [continue reading]
God of the sea and rivers, creator of storms and floods, and the bringer of earthquakes and destruction, Poseidon was perhaps the most disruptive of all the ancient Greek gods, not only for mortals but also to Zeus’ peaceful reign on Olympus. Son of Kronos and Rhea, and brother of Zeus and Hades, Poseidon was a key figure in the battles for control... [continue reading]
A bronze statue of Poseidon (or Zeus) from Cape Artemisium (460 BCE), National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
The Pythia was the priestess who held court at Pytho, the sanctuary of the Delphinians, a sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. Pythia were highly-regarded, for it was believed that she channeled prophecies from Apollo himself, while steeped in a dreamlike trance. Originally the god was channeled only once a year, but at the height of its popularity... [continue reading]
Religion (from the Latin Religio, meaning 'restraint’, or Relegere, according to Cicero, meaning 'to repeat, to read again’, or, most likely, Religionem, to show respect for what is sacred) is an organized system of beliefs and practices revolving around, or leading to, a transcendent spiritual experience. There is no culture recorded... [continue reading]
Restored stone table on which were placed the sacrificial offerings to the Gods in Greek religious practice. One tray was for the 'Epidaurian Gods' (Apollo & Esklepios), the other for Zeus. (c. 300 BCE). Nemea Archaeological Museum.
Jorge Guillermo's Sibyls examines the fascinating phenomenon of oracles and prophetesses in the ancient world. Beginning with an overview of prophecy from earlier times and mankind's fascination with predicting future events, the book moves on to examine the particular association women had with prophecy. The main body of the book covers an in-depth... [continue reading]
published on 26 April 2012
Temple of Apollo, Ancient Corinth, Greece, with the Acrocorinth in the background.