The Greeks and the Gods. 3/19/14 Do now: in notebook. What do you think the relationship was like between the Greeks and their gods? Take out HW. Do Now: Read the passage and answer the question in your notebook.
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And straightway music and singing beguile the immortals. All the Muses together, voice answering heavenly voice, Hymn the undying gifts of the gods and the sufferings of men, Who, enduring so much at the hands of the gods everlasting, Live heedless and helpless, unable to find for themselves Either a cure for death or a bulwark against old age.
From this short passage by Homer, what do you think the relationship is between the Ancient Greeks and the gods?
The Greek gods may seem all-too human to us: they get angry over little insults; they let their lusts carry them away (Zeus; Aphrodite and Ares); they steal from each other (Hermes); they engage in petty feuds with one another (Zeus and Hera). Moreover, the Greek gods appear to humans and mingle with them, helping or hindering them and at times.
But though the gods may look and act like humans, they are not at all the same as them. For one thing, men inhabit a body that grows old and can die, one which needs to be replenished with sleep, and one that needs food for its belly to survive. The gods, on the other hand, inhabit a body that is "deathless," that is always young and beautiful, and that does not need the same sort of nourishment as men. The gods may bleed when their skin is pricked (Iliad book 5), but they bleed a special blood called ichor, and they cannot die of their wounds. Unlike men who eat bread and wine, the gods eat immortal, uncooked food called ambrosia and nectar
For the gods are neither good nor evil, merely powerful, and humans must watch out for and propitiate that power. Gods were admired and feared, but not particularly beloved.