Greek relationship between humans and the gods

The Interaction of Humans With the Gods in Greek Mythology | Synonym

greek relationship between humans and the gods

"The ancient Greeks did not have a sacred text like the Bible. No one decided what versions of the myths were authoritative.". After all, the gods created humans in their image. The interaction between the Greek gods and mankind were what helped develop the After becoming friends, Semele confided in Hera about her relationship with Zeus. Greek mythology emphasized the weakness of humans in contrast to the great In general, the relations between people and gods were considered friendly.

Worshiping the Gods Worship is the basic way to start. You always have someone you idolize or look up to.

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Humans depended on the gods for basic everyday tasks. For instance, some would pray to Poseidon, the god of the sea, for safe travels on the waters. Humans would also give sacrifices and make monuments in their honor. The interaction between gods and mortals did not only happen within temples. Zeus was famous for mingling into the lives of humans.

Generally, the outcome was never good. One story that is famous is the interaction between Zeus and Semele. Semele was a mortal woman who was simply living her life when one day Zeus took notice of her when she was sacrificing a bull at his temple.

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He fell in love with her and visited her many times. Hera changed herself into a normal mortal and befriended Semele.

greek relationship between humans and the gods

After becoming friends, Semele confided in Hera about her relationship with Zeus. But Hera made her doubt about Zeus being the actual god Zeus. So, to test her theory Semele decided to ask Zeus to grant her one wish and that one wish was to show her his true godly form.

greek relationship between humans and the gods

But the real problem was mortals cannot see the true form of a god without disintegrating. And that is exactly what happened to her.

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Zeus was able to save the unborn baby and sewed it inside his thigh to let it grow. A few months later the god Dionysus, the god of wine, was born. This action demonstrates her characterization as a less maternal figure than Aphrodite in Sappho.

greek relationship between humans and the gods

Similarly, Athena forces Odysseus to witness the madness of Ajax, sharply telling him to stay and watch: Furthermore she goes on to threaten him, stating that success is fleeting and can be taken away in a day Watching Ajax, evidently, is an exercise in learning humility, through both watching the effects of a lack of humility and threats on consequences of acting prideful.

In short, Sophocles portrays Athena as a tough-love sort of parent, willing to take a harsh stance to prevent insolent behavior. On the other hand, Sappho portrays gods as benevolent entities, willing to assist in anyway possible to ensure happiness. The first example of this occurs in the very first fragment, where Sappho begs Aphrodite to help her catch the attention of a potential romantic interest. Aphrodite comes to Sappho with a gentle disposition, smiling and ready to assist.

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Sappho also depicts this maternal nature in the second fragment, where Sappho calls Aphrodite to a paradisal place in order to celebrate a happy occasion. While in the first fragment Sappho calls upon Aphrodite to help her in a time of need, Sappho also includes Aphrodite in celebrations of happy events thereby demonstrating that their relationship is very close. The gods treat humans as children, with less wisdom and a need for education that they must fulfill.

However, the respective representations differ when examining the actual relationship in context.

greek relationship between humans and the gods

Sophocles depicts Athena as a tough love sort of parent, willing to shock and threaten in order to help in the long run. Conversely, Sappho illustrates a very close relationship with Aphrodite, similar to that between a mother and daughter, confiding in Aphrodite in both celebration and crisis.

greek relationship between humans and the gods

Overall however, it is evident that both writers view gods as authoritative figures, despite the intense similarity in the respective personalities of gods and humans.