Ancient Greece is one of the oldest civilizations that lasted from the 8th century BC during the archaic period to 146 BC when the Romans conquered the Greek during the battle of Corinth and the Greek peninsula was governed by roman rule (Hall, 2007). The Greek civilization grew after the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and comprised of several city-states that were known as poleis. Each of the poleis was independent and had its own form of government though these cities would group themselves to form leagues. The ancient Greek civilization is divided into four main periods beginning the time it was formed to the time that it fell into roman rule. The archaic period is the first which lasted from 750 BC to 500 BC. The second period is the classical period that was mainly dominated by various poleis including the Delian league and Athens during the 5th century, the Spartan hegemony that ruled during the early part of the 4th century, and later by the Boeotian league, Corinthian league, Thebes and Macedon. The Hellenistic period lasted from 323 BC to 146 BC that saw the expansion of the Greek civilization further into Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean. The forth period is the Roman Greece period that began in 146 BC after the roman victory during the battle of Corinth and lasted until 330 AD when Constantine established Byzantium as the roman capital.
Despite these diverse poleis that existed during the Greek civilization, the Greek people had a common system of religion that was characterized by a mythology comprised of several gods and goddesses that controlled various aspects of their life. This mythology encompassed several gods, goddesses, mythological beings, heroes and heroines that the Greeks believed had divine powers. The most important gods and goddesses in Greek mythology were the following:
Zeus; he was considered to be the god ruling the sun, sky, weather, order, law, fate and mount Olympus and was the king of all gods and goddesses (Burn, 1990).
Hera; she was a goddess and the wife of Zeus. She was considered to be the queen of the heavens and considered the goddess of women, marriage, childbirth, and heirs.
Poseidon; he was the god of the rivers, lakes, seas, floods and earthquakes and was the son of Kronos and Rhea (Woodward, 2007).
Hestia; she was a virgin goddess controlling the hearth, cooking and the home and was the daughter of Kronos and Rhea.
Ares; he was the god of war, violence, courage, bloodlust and civil order and was the son of Zeus and Hera.
Athena; she was the virgin goddess of wisdom, reason, handicrafts, strategy and heroic endeavors. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis (Burn, 1990).
Apollo; he was the god of poetry, music, archery, healing and prophecies and was usually associated with the sun and the truth. He was the son of Zeus and Leto and was the twin brother to Artemis.
Aphrodite; she is the goddess of love, seduction, pleasure, and lust. She was married to Hephaestus and had son Eros who usually accompanied her most of the times .
Hermes; he was the god of travel, trade, messengers, writing, athletics, thievery, and diplomacy and was the son of Zeus and Maia (Woodward, 2007).
Artemis; she was the virgin goddess of the wilderness, hunting, and wild animals and was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and a twin sister to Apollo (Burn, 1990).
Demeter; she is the goddess of agriculture, fertility, grains, harvests, and horticulture and was the daughter of Kronos and Rhea.
Eros; he was the god of sexual intercourse, love, pleasure, desire, and cupids. He was the son of Ares and Aphrodite and was married to Psyche (Woodward, 2007).
Hephaestus; he was the god of metal working, fire, sculpture, and stonemasonry. He is depicted as a cripple and was one of Aphrodite’s several lovers.
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