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Greek religion [2014-2-15]

 The gods on Olympus: Athena, Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, and Aphrodite. Detail of a painting on a Greek …
[Credit: Alinari/Art Resource, New York]religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Hellenes. Greek religion is not the same as Greek mythology, which is concerned with traditional tales, though the two are closely interlinked. Curiously, for a people so religiously minded, the Greeks had no word for religion itself; the nearest terms were eusebeia (“piety”) and threskeia (“cult”).

Although its origins may be traced to the remotest eras, Greek religion in its developed form lasted more than a thousand years, from the time of Homer (probably 9th or 8th century bc) to the reign of the emperor Julian (4th century ad). During that period its influence spread as far west as Spain, east to the Indus River, and throughout the Mediterranean world. Its effect was most marked on the Romans, who identified their deities with those of the Greeks. Under Christianity, Greek heroes and even deities survived as saints, while the rival madonnas of southern European communities reflected the independence of local cults. The rediscovery of Greek literature during the Renaissance and, above all, the novel perfection of Classical sculpture produced a revolution in taste that had far-reaching effects on Christian religious art. The most striking characteristic of Greek religion was the belief in a multiplicity of anthropomorphic deities under one supreme god. Priests simply looked after cults; they did not constitute a clergy, and there were no sacred books.

Greek religion and mythology pervaded Classical life and survive in compelling stories.The sole requirements for the Greeks were to believe that the gods existed and to perform ritual and sacrifice, through which the gods received their due. To deny the existence of a deity was to risk reprisals, from the deity or from other mortals. The list of avowed atheists is brief. But if a Greek went through the motions of piety, he risked little, since no attempt was made to enforce orthodoxy, a religious concept almost incomprehensible to the Greeks. The large corpus of myths concerned with gods, heroes, and rituals embodied the worldview of Greek religion and remains its legacy. (See Greek mythology.) It should be noted that the myths varied over time and that, within limits, a writer—e.g., a Greek tragedian—could alter a myth by changing not only the role played by the gods in it but also the evaluation of the gods’ actions.

From the later 6th century bc onward, myths and gods were subject to rational criticism on ethical or other grounds. In these circumstances it is easy to overlook the fact that most Greeks “believed” in their gods in roughly the modern sense of the term and that they prayed in a time of crisis not merely to the “relevant” deity but to any deity on whose aid they had established a claim by sacrifice. To this end, each Greek polis had a series of public festivals throughout the year that were intended to ensure the aid of all the gods who were thus honoured. They reminded the gods of services rendered and asked for a quid pro quo. Particularly during times of crises, the Greeks, like the Romans, were often willing to petition deities borrowed from other cultures.


The roots of Greek religion

Zeus hurling a thunderbolt, bronze statuette from Dodona, Greece, early 5th century bc; in the …
[Credit: Antikenabteilung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Preussischer Kulturbesitz]The study of a religion’s history includes the study of the history of those who espoused it, together with their spiritual, ethical, political, and intellectual experiences. Greek religion as it is currently understood probably resulted from the mingling of religious beliefs and practices between the incoming Greek-speaking peoples who arrived from the north during the 2nd millennium bc and the indigenous inhabitants whom they called Pelasgi. The incomers’ pantheon was headed by the Indo-European sky god variously known as Zeus (Greek), Dyaus (Indian), or Jupiter (Roman). But there was also a Cretan sky god, whose birth and death were celebrated in rituals and myths quite different from those of the incomers. The incomers applied the name of Zeus to his Cretan counterpart. In addition, there was a tendency, fostered but not necessarily originated by Homer and Hesiod, for major Greek deities to be given a home on Mount Olympus. Once established there in a conspicuous position, the Olympians came to be identified with local deities and to be assigned as consorts to the local god or goddess.

Head of Hera, sculpture from the votive group in the Heraeum at Olympia; in the Archaeological …
[Credit: Foto Marburg]An unintended consequence (since the Greeks were monogamous) was that Zeus in particular became markedly polygamous. (Zeus already had a consort when he arrived in the Greek world and took Hera, herself a major goddess in Argos, as another.) Hesiod used—or sometimes invented—the family links among the deities, traced out over several generations, to explain the origin and present condition of the universe. At some date, Zeus and other deities were identified locally with heroes and heroines from the Homeric poems and called by such names as Zeus Agamemnon. The Pelasgian and the Greek strands of the religion of the Greeks can sometimes be disentangled, but the view held by some scholars that any belief related to fertility must be Pelasgian, on the grounds that the Pelasgi were agriculturalists while the Greeks were nomadic pastoralists and warriors, seems somewhat simplistic. Pastoralists and warriors certainly require fertility in their herds—not to mention in their own number.

    In [En Digest] At 23:19:57 | Comments[0] | 4389 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

“东莞挺住” 谁在亢奋? [2014-2-11]


    In [網絡資料] At 21:47:32 | Comments[0] | 3759 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

甘肃陇中汉民族的民间信仰——敬神 [2014-2-9]




    In [信仰宗教] At 17:02:02 | Comments[0] | 4355 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

近代历史学家与当代学者关系 [2014-2-5]



    In [My Articles] At 12:14:54 | Comments[0] | 4313 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

英语话春节:年味十足的传统习俗 [2014-1-28]

2014 Spring Festival falls on January 31. The holiday in China starts from January 31 to February 6, 2014. It is the Year of the Horse according to Chinese zodiac.

Chinese Spring Festival, also called Lunar New Year, has more than 4,000 years of history. Being one of the traditional Chinese festivals, it is the grandest and the most important festival for Chinese people. It is also the time for the whole families to get together, which is similar with Christmas Day to the westerners. Originating during the Shang Dynasty (about 17th - 11th century BC), Spring Festival, which celebrates family reunion, is full of rich and colorful activities, and hopes with the advent of spring and flowers blossoming. People from different regions and different ethnic groups celebrate it in their unique ways.

Festival Time

It comes on the first day of Chinese lunar calendar and lasts for almost half of a month. But in folk custom, this traditional holiday lasts from the 23rd day of the twelfth month to the 15th day of the first month (Lantern Festival) in the lunar calendar. Among these days, the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the New Year is the peak time. The exact days are different in every year according to the lunar calendar.


    In [En Digest] At 19:47:54 | Comments[0] | 5975 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

2013中国人婚恋报告:心理晚婚线普遍认同30岁 [2014-1-14]


心理晚婚线 男女定位不同






    In [網絡資料] At 11:54:01 | Comments[0] | 7275 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

货物崇拜 [2014-1-11]

货物崇拜 (英文:Cargo Cults,又译货物运动)是一种宗教形式,尤其出现于一些与世隔绝的落后土著之中。当货物崇拜者看见外来的先进科技物品,便会将之当作神祇般崇拜。

AFP/Getty Images 

Dancers in 2006 celebrate the anniversary of the John Frum Movement cargo cult on the island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago.


    In [信仰宗教] At 16:34:27 | Comments[0] | 14730 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

紙質文物的修復與保護 [2014-1-6]



第一章 紙質文物的演變過程

    In [歷史札記] At 23:42:53 | Comments[0] | 6694 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

看冰雕去哈尔滨 [2014-1-5]




    In [網絡資料] At 15:54:29 | Comments[0] | 4611 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

匠心独运 中国古代锁具的收藏与投资 [2014-1-5]

清康熙万字锦地铜锁。 本报资料图
清康熙万字锦地铜锁。 本报资料图




  到了清代中后期至民国年间,锁具的发展又上了一个新的台阶,出现了横开锁,从简单到复杂分别为:一字锁、工字锁、上字锁、下字锁、山字锁、土字锁、士字锁、吉字锁、古字锁、尚字锁、寿字锁、喜字锁等,我们从文字中就能看出其中越来越复杂。当然在封建社会,锁具的复杂程度也是身份的象征,比如一字锁、工字锁、土字锁、士字锁等带有简单锁孔的锁具通常都是给平民百姓使用的,而带有吉、寿、喜等吉祥内涵文字的锁具则多是给达官贵人和宫廷使用的,当时通过使用的锁具就能看出这家人的身份背景。京 周


    In [國學散記] At 15:27:10 | Comments[0] | 4966 Views | From [Internet] | Read More | UP

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