Ancient Inquiry Project

The connection between Ancient Greek people and Greek gods

By: Nick Kruger

Introduction

We have all heard the myths, the tales told by the Ancient Greek civilization. We have heard of the Gods of Greek Mythology and the ancient legacies that follow in their path. But do we really know how the Ancient Greek people were connected with the Greek Gods? That is what I will be showing you today. You will be learning about the Greek Gods, the People of Ancient Greece as well as just how the system of Greek Mythology was connected to their society.

So... Who Were the Greek Gods?

The Greek Gods came from the system of Greek Mythology developed in Ancient Greece. In this belief system, many different Gods controlled the many aspects of Greek Life. The twelve main gods, named the Olympians, were born from beings called titans, which were the sons and daughters of the being that makes up earth named "Chaos" or "Gaea" and the being that makes up the sky named "Ouranos". The highest positioned God in this system was named Zeus, who controlled the sky, while his two brothers, Hades and Poseidon, controlled the underworld and the sea.

The Olympians

The twelve main Gods in Greek Mythology, named the Olympians, were believed to have a domain in Ancient Greece named Mount Olympus. The names of these Gods were: Zeus (God of The Sky), Hera (Goddess of Marriage, mothers and families), Poseidon (God of the sea), Apollo (god of archery, medicine, poetry, music and prophecy), Artemis (goddess of the moon, the hunt and maidens), Aphrodite (Goddess of love and beauty), Ares (God of war), Hephaestus (God of blacksmiths), Hermes (god of commerce), Demeter (goddess of agriculture), Athena (Goddess of wisdom) and Hestia (Goddess of the hearth), who was later replaced by Dionysus (God of wine). Other important Gods included: Hades (who surprisingly did not have a throne in Mount Olympus), Persephone and many more.
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A Picture of The Olympian Gods

Greek Society

There were two main types of people in the Ancient Greek civilization. The people who were free, and the slaves, who were owned by the free people. While the free people were later divided into those who were rich (athens), poor (freedmen) and average (metics), the slaves of Ancient Greek society were given no legal rights in their society and were looked down upon. Ancient Greece was divided into many different independent states, each of which were believed to be the patron cities of different Greek Gods. For example: Ancient Greek stories state that Athena is the patron God of the Greek state: Athens.

In each and every independent state, all the Gods in Ancient Greece was also worshipped, honoured and represented through offerings, statues, temples and much more, especially their patron God.


In Ancient Greece, there existed an extremely large disrespect for woman in the system of Gods as well as in Ancient Greek society. Woman and girls were not given as close to as many rights as men and were not given as many privileges as well. They weren't even permitted to often take part in public life! Their social status only came from their husband or partner and their life options were very limited compared to what men were offered.


For the free people in Ancient Greece, the Greeks believed in being free as long as they acted within the laws of Ancient Greece, which made life quite bliss for the free people compared to the slaves. In their society, the Athens had the most power and did not have to do things like pay taxes etc. while Metics, which was the middle class, had quite a small amount of rights compared to the Athens. Metics usually were people interested in trade and manufacturing. Freedmen, who were the lowest class of free men, were the people in Ancient Greek society who were once slaves but were somehow freed by their master. These people had very, very low rights in Ancient Greece.

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Greek Civilization Hierarchy

In hierarchy of Greek society:

Athens – The Upper Class,

Metics – The Middle Class,

Freedmen – The Lower Class:

The Slaves- Lowest Class

So, How Are They Connected?

In the minds of the Greeks, the Gods were everywhere and existed in many different forms. Whether they were in their domain or roaming the Earth as a human or other living things was a mystery to them, but they still believed in their existence and revolved their lives around worshipping them. These Gods as well as the Greeks were all connected because the lives of Ancient Greek people revolved around worshipping these Gods and decorating their homes and civilization in some sort of way to represent and honour them. Although Greeks lives did not entirely revolve around the Gods, they were still influenced by them in many different ways in the myths created or put in Greek Mythology. An example of this was the Trojan War, which was fought over a woman who was named Helen of Troy. Aphrodite, the god of love, played a large part in this because not only did she create Helen Of Troy, she was the one who helped Helen's kidnapper get to her, which was what started the War. Though the Gods of Greek Mythology's involvement may seem small or large in these Myths or stories, they all influenced Greek society in many different ways.
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Helen Of Troy

How Were They Different?

Though the Ancient Greek people and their Gods were connected, they were very different in certain ways. For example, unlike the Gods, the Greeks believed in being free as long as they acted within the laws of Ancient Greece, while their Gods were believed to have been commanded and ruled over by Zeus. So in a way, it is like how Canada has a democratic society while other countries are ruled by one person or dictator. In this case, the dictator is Zeus. Everything that was done without Zeus's approval was faced with his wrath. This, in my opinion, seems quite unfair compared to the society of the Ancient Greek people. Another example of their differences is simply how the people are just people and gods are gods. The people of Ancient Greece were considered nothing compared to what Greek Mythology stated that the Gods were. The Gods were believed to have perfect physical form and knowledge beyond any mortal soul. This creates a plain, simple difference that outweighs any other difference between the Greek People and their gods. Because of these differences, it is plain to see why the Greeks worship these Gods, although they may as well not be real at all to us.
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Conclusion

I have learned that there are many different similarities and differences between the people and the Gods of Ancient Greece and its culture. Not only that, but I have come to the conclusion that indeed they connected in many different ways and that the Gods most definitely influence the Ancient Greek society and culture. I hope that you have learned something from this project as I have.

Signing out

Nick Kruger