Ancient Greek Beliefs of an average might have been influenced both by traditional beliefs about the gods and ideas derived from the teachings of the philosophers. In addition, the teachings of philosophers like Plato and Socrates deal with the subjects we often group under “religious” today – the meaning of life, the existence of an afterlife, the nature of the universe, and God or gods.
The ancient Greeks, regardless of the nuances of the religious shifts, believed it was a necessity to live in such a way as to appease the gods and thus diligently sought to offer frequent sacrifices, prayers, and hymns, living in constant awareness of the imminent anger of the gods.
Ancient Greek Beliefs
The Greeks attempted to please the Gods, fearing that they could upset them with insolence and impiety. The Greeks placed great importance on Twelve Pantheon Gods. They also worshipped other deities such as oracles, lesser divinities, Demi-Gods, and Heroes.
The afterlife was also very important to the Greeks, as they believed that their souls were carried on to another dimension and lived on after death. This ideology about death was a direct contrast to other forms of Paganism. Other Pagan religions believed that there was no Heaven or Hell, rather they believed in reincarnation. The ancient Greeks believed that food, jewelry, clothing, chariots, weaponry and the like could be carried into the spirit world.
In the afterlife, the individual/s would be able to use their precious belongings. Sometimes, the ancient Greeks would kill family members and close friends of the dead to make for a more enjoyable and comfortable afterlife. As in Greek Beliefs, Though it is not definitely recorded, it might be legitimate to also assume that animals, such as horses to pull the chariots, were put to death and buried with the deceased.
Another aspect of Greek religion worth mentioning is the set of mythological and sometimes monstrous creatures that populate its myths, the most notable being the following:
1. Amazons – race of female warriors
2. Keres – evil female spirits
3. Medusa a winged female monster with hair made of snakes.
4. Satyrs half-man, half-goat nature spirits who dwelled in woods and mountains and were lusty followers of Dionysus
5. Centaurs half-man, half-horse creatures who were wild and lawless but possessed cultural knowledge
6. Sirens –
7. Typhon – represents disorder and devastation