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Greek Religion V. S. Roman Religion By: Lexus Ossege
Greek Family Tree Ancient Greeks believed that all aspects of their lives were influenced by the various gods. Different gods were in charge of different aspects of existence. Greeks would sacrifice to the gods to obtain favorable results for their activities. They built temples to particular gods and held festivals to honor gods who, they hoped, would intervene and make their lives better. Greeks believed gods could improve their lives and gods would take care of them after they died. Mythology was at the heart of everyday life in Ancient Greece and regarded as a part of their history. They used myth to explain natural phenomena, cultural variations, traditional enmities and friendships. It was a source of pride to be able to trace one's leaders' descent from a mythological hero or a god.
Roman Family Tree After the Romans came in contact with the Greeks in the 6 th century B. C. , the identities of the Roman gods and the Greek gods tended to meld into Greco-Roman combinations. The Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks ad reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome’s legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. The Romans treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. Stories are often concerned with politics and morality as well as how an individual's personal integrity relates to his/her responsibility to the community or Roman State. Heroism is an important theme and myths are often political or moral.
Zeus King of the Gods and “Father of Gods and men” God of Sky, Thunder, Lightning, Law, Order and Justice Symbol: Lightning Bolt Ruled the Olympians as a father ruled the family and oversaw the universe. Fathered many of the Heroes…Hercules Played a dominant role, presiding over Greek Pantheon. His largest and most famous sanctuary was at Olympia – “Temple of Zeus”. It was hailed as 1 of the “ 7 Wonders of the Ancient World” ◦ Alter not made of stone but ash from accumulated remains of centuries’ worth of animal sacrifices. Ancient Olympia games were held in his honor; men from all over Greece would collect there in order to compete against each other for their own honor and that of their city state. Each athlete would worship Zeus in his temple before competing in the Olympic games. Protector of the weak and punisher of the wicked. Punished those who lie or break oaths. Exposed liars were made to dedicate a statue of Zeus at Olympia. In Homeric Hymns, he is referred to as “chieftain of the gods” and in Homer’s epic poem “Iliad” Zeus sent thunderstorms against his enemies. In Greek art Zeus is portrayed as bearded, middle age but youthful figure and in 1 of 2 poses: standing or striding forward with thunder bolt leveled in raised right hand, or seated in majesty.
Jupiter King of the Gods, God of Thunder and Sky (Zeus’ equivalent in Greek mythology) In Roman religion and myth, he developed a 2 -fold character; became a God of War, as “Stator” he made armies stand firm & “Victor”, he gave them victory As the sky-god, he was the first resort as a divine witness to oaths. Jupiter’s primary sacred animal is the eagle. Jupiter was Rome’s chief official deity, he personified the divine authority of Rome’s highest offices, internal organizations, and external relations. A white ox with gilded horns was made as an offering by triumphal generals who surrendered the tokens of their victory at the feet of Jupiter's statue in the capitol. Unlike Zeus, there are only rare depictions of Jupiter as a child. Animals offered to Jupiter were the ox, the lamb, and the wether. The animals were required to be white. During on of the crises of the Punic Wars, Jupiter was offered every animal born that year. Festivals of viniculture and wine were devoted to Jupiter, since grapes were particularly susceptible to adverse weather. 3 Roman festivals were connected with viniculture and wine. The rustic “Vinalia Altera” on August 19 asked for good weather for ripening the grapes before harvest. When the grapes were ripe, a sheep was sacrificed to Jupiter.
Poseidon God of the Sea, Earthquakes and Horses. Symbols are: Trident, Fish, Dolphin, Horse, and Bull. Poseidon was a major civic god of several cities. In Corinth and many cities of Magna Graecia he was the chief god of the polis. In his benign aspect, Poseidon was seen as creating new islands and offering calm seas. When offended or ignored, he supposedly struck the ground with his trident and caused Chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings, and shipwrecks. Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice. Poseidon also caused certain forms of mental disturbance (epilepsy). In Greek art, Poseidon rides a chariot pulled by a hippocampus or by horses that could ride on the sea. In the Iliad Poseidon favors the Greeks, and on several occasions takes an active part in the battle against the Trojan forces. A hymn to Poseidon included among the Homeric Hymns is a brief invocation, a seven line introduction that addresses the god as both ‘ mover of Earth and
Neptune God of Water and the Sea Neptune was depicted in lots of Roman mosaics. Unlike Poseidon, Neptune was associated with fresh water. Neptune was worshipped by Romans as a God of Horses. The “Neptunalia” was the festival of Neptune on July 23, a the height of summer. The date and construction of three-branch shelters suggest a primitive role for Neptune as god of water sources in the summer’s drought and heat. Neptune is one of only three gods to whom it was appropriate to offer the sacrifice of bulls, the other two being Apollo and Mars. In Roman culture, the type of offering implies stricter connection between the deity and the worldly realm.
Hades King of the Underworld God of the dead and riches Symbols are: Cerberus (3 - headed dog) and Helm of Darkness ( cap of invisibility). Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil: his role was often maintaining relative balance. Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tired to cheat death or otherwise crossed him. Hades was a fearsome figure to Greeks still living; in no hurry to meet him, they were reluctant to swear oaths in his name and averted their faces when sacrificing to him. Since precious metals come from under the earth, Hades had control of these as well. When the Greeks wanted to appease Hades they would bang their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them. Only Black animals were sacrificed to him. In Greek art, Hades is portrayed as riding a chariot drawn by four black horses or sitting on an ebony throne. Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed to one of three realms (Elysium, Fields of Asphodel, or Tartarus). In ancient Greece, it was customary to place a coin in or on the mouth of the dead since the dead were required to pay a fare to Charon, the ferryman to the Underworld.
Pluto Ruler of the Underworld and the dead In literature, Pluto was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself. Pluto was associated with the wealth of the earth – gems and precious metals. In Roman mythology, Pluto was originally not the God of the Underworld. Considered by the Romans as giver of gold, silver & precious metals; because these “gifts” were mined he was recognized as god of physical underworld and eventually in turn as god of spiritual underworld and thus death. The Roman Senate ordained special festivals to appease Pluto. Every 100 years a festival was celebrated in his name.
Athena Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare, Divine Intelligence, Architecture, Crafts, and Philosophy. The Patron Goddess of Athens. She is the Patroness of many crafts, especially of weaving and metal work of weapons. She lead battles as the disciplined, strategic side of war, in contrast to her brother Ares, the patron of violence, bloodlust, slaughter-- “the raw force of war”. Athena appears as the patron and helper of many heroes, including Odysseus, Jason, and Heracles. “ Feast of Adorning”, was observed every May, it was a festival lasting five days. Where the Greeks performed a cleansing ritual within the personal sanctuary of the goddess. Here Athena’s statue was undressed, her clothes washed, and body purified. Athena Competed with Poseidon to be the patron deity of Athens, in a version of one founding myth. They agreed that each would give the Athenians would choose the gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring sprang up: this gave them a means of trade and water—-Athens at its height was a significant sea power, but the water was salty and not very good for drinking. Athena, however, offered them the first domesticated olive tree. They accepted the olive tree and with it the patronage of Athena, for the olive tree brought wood, oil, and food.
Minerva Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus). As she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. A head of Minerva was found in the ruins of the roman baths in Bath. Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome she took the warlike character shared by Athena. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle of the Roman Republic. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as “the owl of Minerva”, which symbolizes her tie to wisdom.
Apollo (Greek) God of Music, Poetry, Plague, Oracles (prophecy), Sun, Medicine, (Sun) Light, and Knowledge. Symbols are: Lyre, laurel wreath, Python, raven, bow and arrows. Is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in ancient Greek and Roman religion. As the patron of Delphi, Apollo was an oracular god– the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Apollo became Associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo are called paeans. In the Iliad, Apollo is the healer under the gods, but he is also the bringer of disease and death with his arrows. The god who sends a disease can also prevent it, therefore when it stops a the Greeks would make a purifying ceremony and offer him an “hecatomb” to ward off evil. Apollo became extremely important to the Greek world as an oracular deity in the archaic period, Apollo shot arrows infected with the plague into the Greek encampment during the Trojan War in retribution for Agamemnon's insult to Chryses, a priest who’s daughter Chryseis had been captured. He demanded her return, and the Achaeans complied, indirectly causing the anger of Achilles, which is theme of the Iliad.
Apollo (Roman) Apollo’s functions, name, and mythology were taken over from the Greek Apollo, except that the Oracle at Delphi no longer had the importance that it had in the Greek world. Apollo's role as the slayer of the python lead to his association with battle and victory; hence it became the Roman custom for a paean to be sung by an army on the march and before entering into battle, when a fleet left the harbor, and also after a victory had been won. Paeans – name of hymns sung to Apollo. Depicted many different ways and in many different paintings. Most famous is “Apollo Belvedere”, ancient statue in Rome. Pythian Games were held in his honor every 4 years at Delphi.
God of war and violence. Ares Symbols are: spear, helmet, dog, chariot, and boar. Ares who was often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek Literature. Ares is much more aggressive and anger driven than Mars. Peace and Agriculture have little to do with Ares, unlike Mars. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war. The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, “overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and manslaughtering. ” In the “Iliad” Zeus tells him he is the god most hateful to him. Association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality. His value as a war god is even placed in doubt. During the Trojan War, Ares is on the losing side. Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek Mythology as represented in literary narratives, through his numerous love affairs and abundant children are often alluded to. When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation. One important role of Ares sited in mainland Greece was the founding myth of Thebes, In the “Iliad’ Homer represented Ares as having no fixed allegiances, rewarding courage on both sides.
Mars God of War and agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of Rome. He was 2 nd in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. His festivals were held in March, the month named for him and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming. The character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from his Greek counterpart Ares. ◦ Virility as a kind of life force or virtue is an essential characteristic of Mars. Augustine brought the god into the center of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars in his new form. Unlike Ares who was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as away to secure peace and was a father of the Roman people. The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity. As an agricultural god, he directs energies toward creating conditions that allow crops to grow (includes warding off forces of nature) As an embodiment of masculine aggression, he is the force that drives wars – but ideally, war the delivers a secure peace.
Citation Hades Statue. 2008 Photograph. Heraklion Archaelogical Museum. Wachovsky. com. NA, July 18, 2008. February 28, 2012. “Poseidon”. www. wikipedia. com. Web. Feb. 28, 2012.