Polytheism: Ancient Greek Religion

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Samuel Fleming AP World History May 10, 2011 Polytheism Polytheism is the doctrine of or belief in more than one god, or in many gods. Most polytheistic religions have certain gods assigned to certain aspects of life. In the ancient Greek religion, for example, the goddess Hera was the god who controlled family and marriage. Polytheism was the most common type of religion in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. It still lives on today in religions such as Hinduism, Shintoism, and Buddhism. The belief in multiple gods is probably the result of an earlier belief in vaguely defined spirits, demons, and other supernatural forces. However, these supernatural forces are personified and organized into a cosmic family. This "family" becomes the…show more content…
Mixed The theological are those myths which use no bodily form, but describe the very essence of the gods. The physical are those myths that depict the actions of the gods on the Earth. The psychological are those myths that regard the activities of the soul itself. The material are those myths that regard objects as gods (example: in the ancient Egyptian religion, the Earth is referred to as Gaia, and she is a sleeping goddess that creates earthquakes when she turns in her sleep). The mixed are those myths that explain the very nature of the world, and what the gods have to do with the way the world works. Polytheism was wide spread in the ancient world. The Egyptians had a highly developed belief system that was based on multiple gods. The ancient Greeks also had an intricate system of myths based on multiple deities. The Greek gods often took on human forms and, in many cases, directly interfered with human activities. When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks, the Romans took on much of the Greek polytheistic culture, only changing the names of the gods. Over time, as Rome's influence spread, it absorbed other gods from the other cultures that it conquered. Today, the planets in our Solar System are named after these gods. In addition to Egypt, Greece, and Rome, polytheism was widespread in ancient Asian, African, Europe, and Native American…show more content…
In these ancient religions, each god or goddess would have their own temples, and when people needed the help of one of these gods, they would go to these temples and sacrifice some of their crops or cattle for the god. In the ancient Rome, the richest classes of people had temple rooms in their home, and would have to go there to thank the “household gods” before they could safely leave the house. Polytheism is still very strong in today’s world. In fact, most of the world’s religions are polytheistic, or at least have polytheistic tendencies. Polytheism is present in Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and many others in the East, and in many tribal religions throughout Africa and the Americas. Polytheistic beliefs are rapidly becoming more popular in today’s Western Civilization. This is due to the immigration of Eastern cultures, and the mainstream popularity of New Age

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