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Through Cultural Diffusion, Greek Mythology Became Part Of The Roman Pantheon; Greek Thought Affects Us In Almost All Areas Of Life, And Its End Is Humanism.

1129 words - 5 pages

Through cultural diffusion, Greek Mythology became part of the Roman Pantheon; Greek thought affects us in almost all areas of life, and its end is Humanism.Before we understand the affects of Greek Mythology and thought, we must first learn the origins and development of the Greek ideas. Greek religion originated from the worship of one god, who was called Zeus, and developed into the worship of many. Idolatry is usually a corruption of a truer religion. The religions before Greek thought worshipped an omnipotent, all-powerful god or gods. It could be said that many of the religions were twisted versions of the worship of the one true God.The Greek religion was different. Instead of making their gods great, transcendent, and mysterious, the Greeks, in the words of Edith Hamilton, an honorable citizen of Athens, "...made their gods in their own image." This is the beginning of humanism, for not only did the Greeks make their gods human-like, but actually glorified the human body in their gods. Humanism was later developed into an anti-God religion. Through an observation of the often contradictory systems of nature, the Greeks created myths to explain nature. Thus the gods often are pictured as quarreling and fighting in often shameful and base actions. This was a novel idea in the ideas of religion; instead of omnipotent all-powerful gods the Greeks had created human gods. They had created Humanism, which would develop into a belief that the metaphysical did not exist at all.Some of the deeper thinking Greeks recognized the impossibility of these ideas. Some believed that the gods should not be brought down to the level of man in righteousness, but worshipped reverently as above man and his excitements. The poets, without much philosophical thinking, had developed the stories of the gods. Most Greek Mythology was written by poets, like Homer, and had little to do with religion. The philosopher Socrates appears in his writings to express doubt in the mythologies and believed more in a single omnipotent god. Plato wrote about him in a conversation Socrates had with Euthyphro. Euthyphro, who was incriminating his father, used the instance of Zeus killing his father Cronus for murder as a proof for his case. In response Socrates said, "And do you really believe that the gods fought with one another, and had dire quarrels, battles, and the like, as the poets say, and as you may see represented in the works of great artists?" Socrates hints at the unreality of the Greek gods, for they are imperfect, like man, and thus are not an apt standard for piety.The Romans were so greatly influenced by the Greeks, that their culture is almost a complete continuation of Greece. Greece built colonies on the Italian peninsula, thus influencing Etruscan cities. As the Roman army expanded it conquered the Etruscans, who were also influenced by the Greeks, and then the Greek colonies. Although Rome had physically conquered Greece, it was Greek thought had conquered...

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