Ancient Greek Religion

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The Greek religion is not an independent sphere of life but interweaved in the fabric of society. It touches every aspect of Greek life like agriculture, social interaction, politics, art and architecture and entertainment. The sanctuaries are a place where these elements manifest in the form of various cult practices held to worship and connect with the divine through life sacrifice, dedication of objects, libation, prayer, consultation of oracles, art, drama, festivals and games. The existence of the sanctuary clearly shows that worship was just not a private experience but a social celebration of the divine. Sanctuaries created a sense of unity among people as they were places where people got together and in the process created an identity…show more content…
They are anything dedicated by a person to a deity which in turn becomes the deity’s property and therefore retained within the god’s temenos, religious area dedicated to the deity. Votives can be personal objects like spindle or armours, purpose-made objects like small figurines, and gifts of high value like the Phoenician bronze bowls. These offerings were kept on display in the god 's sanctuary for a period before being ritually discarded (Penn Museum, n.d.). Votives reflects the dedicators devotion and wealth therefore it not only has religious but social and political significance. Dedication of offerings are usually a public affair and also made sanctuaries a key arena for display. Objects dedicated signifies the cult or defines the economic, social and domestic activities of people from the city or town. Votive offering appears a prominent feature of the Archaic period as excavations at Archaic sanctuaries show the uncovering of massive amount of votives. They seem to be more significant to the Greeks in the Archaic period in comparison to the Classical age as evidence shows. Figurines mostly made of bronze are the most commonly unearthed artefacts in sanctuaries…show more content…
They were used to mark the phases of life like womanhood or marriage, beginning of a journey, clearing of obstacles, for healing, pleasing the gods and thanksgiving, and were also commonly a part of festivals. For example, soldiers made drink offerings to gods before leaving for battle, there were purification rituals before political assemblies and the well-known rite of passage like the Brauronia festival at the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron in eastern Attica which marks the coming of age of girls. The social orientation of the Greek religion was expressed in festivals which normally included not just rituals but also drama and musical plays and sports of competitive nature. The awards like wreaths of olives, amphoras filled with olive oil, money and animal for sacrifice which usually end up being dedicated to the deity in honour. People took part in the festivals in the spirit of religion and community. One of the prominent Greek festivals were games held in honour of deities to celebrate revered characteristics like the Olympic games held in western Peleponnese every forth summer in honour of Zeus the king of gods, who is commonly depicted victorious against evil. Festivals were viewed as sacred that battles were prohibited during festivals and pilgrims were allowed safe passage throughout Greece
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