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Direct And Indirect Methods Of Communication With The Gods In Ancient Greece

1061 words - 5 pages

Both directly and indirectly, the Ancient Greeks communicated with their gods through various methods that ranged from oracles and seers to sacrifice. The oracles of ancient Greece were consulted on issues ranging from serious community matters to private healing and served as a conduit for communication between the mortals and the gods. Seers and oracles were an important part of Ancient Greek divination through which the gods provided with insight of events to come. In addition, sacrifice at the hearth or public bonfires were used as a means of direct communication with the gods in order to convey prayers to the heavens.
In terms of indirect communication with the gods, one of the most ...view middle of the document...

The prophecies were only given on the seventh day of each month in every season with the exception of winter. This was due to the fact that Apollo was also the god of the sun and was believed to be inactive in winter.
Seers were also consulted in order to both send and receive communications with the gods. Unlike the oracles, seers interpreted signs from the gods in the form of birds. Divination was also used. This was the art of interpreting animal entrails after a sacrifice or strange happenings that disrupted the natural way of life. Seers were often said to be descended from Apollo, such as those from the prophetic clan Iamidae, or individuals upon whom Apollo had bestowed the power of divination, such as Euenius (Rieu, E. V. 1972). When the Greeks were at war seers would accompany the army and before a battle began, would perform an animal sacrifice from which the omens for battle would be divined and, if favourable, the battle would begin (Rieu, E. V. 1972).
Sacrifice was a daily practice of direct communication with the gods. Along with their sacrifice, be it at the hearth or in a ritual bonfire, Ancient Greeks would send their prayers along with their sacrifice in the hope it would please the gods. Before every meal, Ancient Greeks would place parts of the food into the hearth as a sacrifice to the gods, particularly Hestia. The ancient Greeks often sacrificed animals in groups as well as at home, especially on important occasions such as leaving on a long journey, to convey to the gods their prayers for luck and protection. An animal, usually a goat or bull, would be slaughtered and its thigh bones, wrapped in fat, would be placed in the fire as an offering to the gods. The left over parts of the sacrifice would then be consumed by the people (Rieu, E. V. 2003). Apart from items of food, the Ancient Greeks also commonly offered libations which were a liquid of some sort, usually wine, milk, oil, or honey. The libation was poured into the flames until only a small amount remained in the cup. This small measure was then drunk by the individual offering the sacrifice. The...

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