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In ancient times the Greeks had absolute and undeniable respect for their gods They demonstrated their admiration by putting in place many rituals and celebrations to reverence the gods that they loved and feared in order to ensure harmony with them In particular the focus will be on the religious beliefs of the Greeks including prayer and sacrifice as well as on festivals and the arts such as the ancient Olympic games and theatre These aspects of their culture made a significant contribution to their quality of life Moreover these topics will be examined in relation to the twelve Olympian gods and their associates The ancient Greeks practiced a religion that was in effect a building block to many ensuing pagan religions This religion revolved around their reverence to the gods Essentially the Greeks worshipped numerous gods making their religion polytheistic They believed that exercising the opportunity to choose between a wide array of gods to worship offered them a great sense of freedom that they treasured After all the Greeks were known for their intellectual distinction of which their means of worship played a huge part Each city-state or polis thus had an affiliated god who protected and guided its residents Within a given polis the belief in common gods unified the people Ultimately the Greeks yearned for this unity and order in the universe which is a characteristic that is not unlike that of people today It might seem contradictory that they believed in many gods and sought organization at the same time for larger numbers are inherently unstable But to the god-fearing Greeks each god represented a different facet of life that together upheld an organized universe if each of these gods was properly appeased To satisfy these gods the Greeks participated in activities such as prayer and sacrifice and erected divine temples and centers for oracles in honor of specific gods There is evidence of this institutionalization early on in the
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