GREEK RELIGION   

         Most of ancient Greece worshiped the same
pantheon of gods, but particular city-states selected their favorite god or goddess to honor above all others.  In Athens the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena, was the goddess most honored.  The Parthenon "The Temple of the Virgin" was built for her. 
       Greek religion was a buffet-style of worship.  An ancient Greek was not expected to  worship to every
deity.  (With dozens of gods, worshiping them all would be too much.)  As long as a Greek recognized some higher power, it did not matter which god or goddess he chose.  Gods and goddesses had certain demographic groups:  unmarried women worshiped Artemis, wives worshiped Hera, sailors favored Poseidon, athletes praised Apollo, etc.
         Temples were considered to be the dwelling places of the gods they honored.  Typically they included a statue or image of the god or goddess worshiped.  Cattle, goats, sheep, and swine were sacrificed by the temple priests.  After killing the beasts, the priests would examine its organs.  If the organs were still undamaged and healthy, it was considered a good omen.  If the organs were corrupted and rotten, it was an unlucky sign.  This was one means the Greeks had of determining the future.  After the blood had been offered as a sacrifice, the priests took the animal's meat and cooked it.  Many sacrifices were followed by a feast, where the cooked meat was served.  In Greece the word
sacrifice was
synonymous with feast.
         The Greeks also believed in
augury, the technique of telling the future by watching the flight patterns of birds.  Sighting certain birds was
fortuitous, while seeing others was a bad sign.  (Spotting an owl in daylight indicated death.)
        Two things above all others were sacred to the Greeks: proper burial and hospitality. Anyone who murdered or dishonored a guest in Greece was guilty of a capital offense, as well as anyone who failed to properly bury a dead body.


READ ABOUT THE GREEK GODS

READ ABOUT THE ORACLE OF DELPHI

READ ABOUT THE ANCIENT OLYMPICS

READ ABOUT DEATH AND BURIAL

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ABOVE:  The Statue of Zeus Within His Temple at Olympia

BELOW:  A Maenad, a Female Follower of
Dionysus the God of Wine