Over the centuries, the Greco-Roman Mythologies have inspired all sorts of literature. The fascinating stories of deities, heroes and mortals have spanned thousands of studies, written books by scholars and adaptations in popular culture across two thousand years. The Gods and Goddesses’ allure is not likely going to slow down within centuries to come. The people’s enthrallment over their literature is profound and appears to be unending.
The combination of power, beautiful women, heroes, monsters, war and pillaging is intoxicating to the common mortal’s senses that the stories have to be told and retold to be appreciated by people across all cultures. The heady mixture is there but what is most fascinating in the author of this paper’s point of view is power. The Gods and Goddesses have plenty of it and they use their immortality and considerable prowess to play all sorts of mischief to the ancient Greeks and Roman populace. They have used their powers so that they can interact with the citizens.
Because of these frequent interactions with the citizenry, the Gods and Goddesses of the Greek and Roman mythologies are feared, loved and awed. For the ancient Greeks, there were no questions that they exist (no atheists, per se). This paper shall examine how the God and Goddesses of the Greco-Roman mythology have used their powers to endear themselves to the mortals. Ancient Greco-Roman Worship The ancient Greeks and Romans believed in a number of Gods but perhaps the most popular of them are the Olympians where Zeus/Jupiter is the ruler.
With so many Gods to choose from, this provided the ancient Greeks a measure of independence as they are not constrained to worship only one divine power. The respect of Greeks and Romans for their Gods is immeasurable. The evidence of their worship is still present today, given the shrines and temples that are preserved to this date. Each of the 12 Olympians have their own temples, which may be considered their home on Earth. Within this temple is a priest or priestess that oversees the people’s worship.
There are standards that must be observed within these temples, a mortal cannot simply offer whatever offering he or she wishes to give, the offering must be the best of its kind and it must be the purest and cleanest of the lot. Offerings are made to ask for a favor or to be condoned for previous mistakes or to give thanks for a favor received (123Helpme. com n. d. ). Aside from the temples, the God and Goddesses are present in the mortals’ simplest daily tasks.
For instance, fishermen would often pray to Poseidon/Neptune, God of the sea, before going out to the sea as the God is believed to control everything that the sea does, and thus, not calling out to Him might result to bad tides and death. Hunters would often pray to Artemis/Diana, they would avoid hunting her sacred animal which is the deer. Special celebrations are also made in honor of the Gods and Goddesses. The most famous of the festival held in honor of these deities is the Olympics, which up until now is being observed.
Hundreds of ancient Greek people would compete in tournaments to prove their athletic abilities and to please the Gods. These festivals are not all athletic celebrations. There are occasions to rejoice about the good harvest, bathing of sacred statues and all other else that prove reverence to the Gods. Such esteem for their deities can only be respected by the modern world as it brought about cultural benefits that we enjoy up until today. The Humanity of the Gods and Goddesses Unlike the Christian God that is forgiving and good, the ancient Greco-Roman Gods were nothing of the sort.
They were temperamental and vain and they have the power to create enough chaos to last for decades. These attributes make the ancient Greeks and Romans fear them and at the same time, love them. They are human in the sense that they are not all-knowing, they can be wounded and they give in to tantrums like the best of the mortals. Their powers and immortality set aside, they are revered by the people because they have the tendencies to let their presence be known, the people know they are amongst them; they interact and communicate with the mortals, which is something the Christian God has not done.
The story of Adonis is not a new one but it is just one of the many stories in Greco-Roman mythology that embodies the humanity of the Gods. Adonis was a beautiful boy and Aphrodite fell in love with him (which is a sin as Aphrodite was married), so she took him for herself (another sin) and hand delivered him to Persephone who fell in love with the boy and wanted him for herself, too (yet another sin). The Goddess of Love and the Goddess of the Underworld, who are both married, were fighting over a mortal.
Such girl fight amongst Goddesses is incredulously human and one cannot help but smile about the concept. Zeus settled the matter and Aphrodite and Persephone shared Adonis with 6-month, 6-month allocation. Aphrodite seduced Adonis (another sin) but then Adonis was killed by a wild boar. Speculation exists as to whether Artemis or Ares sent the wild boar. Artemis would send the boar for revenge (another sin) while Ares would send the boar over jealousy (another sin).
In this story alone, several Gods and Goddesses already expressed human emotions such as love, covetousness, jealousy, selfishness, anger, and revenge. Aphrodite’s heart was supposedly broken after Adonis’s death and one can only marvel at the romanticism of the concept of a Goddess of Love’s broken heart over a mortal. With a God’s interference, there is no better way to change a mortal’s life. The story of the Trojan War is as ancient as it is spellbinding. Numerous events transpired but it all started with a contest amongst deities and how they asked a mortal to become a judge.
Such insecurities amongst the Goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite have caused a war that will continue on for decades. As the story progresses, more humanities of the Gods are exposed. Hera and Athena joined forces to punish the man that picked Aphrodite over them, such act is unfair as they are Goddesses and a mortal surely cannot win against them. To make matters worse, instead of overcoming the little dispute, the major Olympian Gods chose to take sides. The war has not been just among mortals but also amongst Gods and Goddesses.
Such attitude is by no means God-like by Christian standards. In this war also, Aphrodite was wounded. She bleeds like any common Greek and like any wounded, mortal child, she ran to the arms of her father to heal. This story only proves that the Gods can control just about anything in the little world the ancient Greeks and Romans lived. Despite their fickle temperament, vanities, insecurities or their bodies’ prone to bleeding, they are powerful, and can alter the course of History.
Conclusion With all their imperfections, the Greeks and Roman Gods are as powerful as any God. Their powers have been used, together with their attitudes to wield fear, love and awe amongst the mortal men who continue to worship them through war, plague and bad harvest. They are icons that proved to be the foundation of the current civilization. Reference: How the Greek Revered Their Gods. 123HelpMe. com. Retrieved, 06 Aug 2010 from http://www. 123HelpMe. com/view. asp? id=22660
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