Religion was very important to the Ancient Greeks. Theirs was politheistic. That means that they believed in multiple gods and goddesses.
These gods and goddesses controlled nature and guided each person’s life. They were so important to the culture that Ancient Greeks built monuments, statues, and other buildings to honor them. They also practiced rituals to show their respect and to please them. They also did this to secure their good fortune, and win the favor of the gods. Other common practices were building altars, praying, presenting gifts, and dedicating festivals to the gods.
In fact, the Olympics was originally a festival created to honor the god Zeus! It was called the Olympics because it was held in the city of Olympia.
There were many gods and goddesses the Ancient Greeks venerated, but there were a few of particular importance.
Zeus was believed to be the King of the gods. He was also worshipped as the god of the sky, weather, law and order, destiny, fate, and kingship.
Hera was the queen of the gods. She was the goddess of marriage, women, the sky, and the stars of heaven.
Athena was the goddess of wisdom, was, heroic endeavors, weaving, pottery, and crafts. These were all very important elements of Ancient Greek daily life, from war to pottery. In her statues and monuments, she is depicted as a stately woman of dignity.
Apollo was the god of oracles, music, song, poetry, archery, healing, plagues, and considered a protector of young people. He was depicted in art forms as being a handsome, beardless young man
Artemis was the goddess of hunting, wilderness, childbirth, and wild animals. She was believed to be the protectress of girls up until they reached marrying age.
Aphrodite was an Olympian goddess. She was the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. She was always shown in statues and other depictions as being a beautiful woman.
The Greeks believed that these gods and goddesses worked together to control the cosmos and people’s lives. The Ancient Greeks wanted to please them and honor them so that the gods would not allow any misfortune or troubles to enter into their lives.