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Myths are ancient tales that are told in a conventional way. The incidents depicted in the myths are supernatural, although they do describe the origins of such cultural traditions or even natural phenomena (Burkhardt, page 12-45). Myths are stories that have symbols that have many meanings. A mythical narrative is often set in the everlasting past, long before written history or the emergence of critical history. The Greeks have a rich history that contains many stories that are portrayed by idols. These statues depicted the numerous gods, and the Greeks assumed that these gods resided in a specific location. This paper discusses the Greek pantheon as a myth deducing what this myth reveals about social values.
The term pantheon refers to a temple, in the Greek culture, that is dedicated for spiritual purposes. The famous pantheon of ancient Greek was built in Rome and believed to have been built between the year 27BCE and 14CE (Burkhardt, page 10-65). This building was dedicated to all the gods of Greek where different people converged to worship the many gods who were preserved in the pantheon. This tradition had a big reflection on the Greek culture, especially on their social values. Without such strong social values, the Greek could not have gone all the way to preserve their culture through the many practices they had. Every event had a specific god attached to it and at some point, the gods were viewed as normal human beings. They could make mistakes, fall in love and occasionally get jealous amongst themselves.
The Greek’s culture has had a great influence on the modern society since it has helped shape it. A number of values are revealed in the Greek culture that goes a long way in shaping other cultures in the modern day (Tziovas, page 9-23). The first social value that is revealed in the Greek pantheon is that of intelligence. Education was a requirement within the Greek culture even though it was a bit biased. The system did not pay more attention to the woman rather it put a lot of emphasis on the men to acquire knowledge. One had to develop an understanding of the Greek gods so that they be able to interpret certain things to the common person. The belief that the gods could fall in love, get jealous and even make mistakes is a clearly thought out plan that was used to give credit to certain things. This required higher levels of intelligence for one to understand the specific phases of lives that the Greek gods were at any given point in time.
Another value reflected in the Greek pantheon is that of glory which was a cherished value within the Greek culture. The Greek had a god of war whom they believed had the powers to protect them on any battlefield (Tziovas, page 12-33). Knowledge and stories of war successes were passed to future generations through a number of tools. One of such tools was the preservation within the pantheon where different gods were put. The Greek culture had a strong emphasis on glory to an extent that they believed all souls of those who had died were sent to a place referred to as Hades. In Hades, it is only those souls that had achieved relative glory that was allowed in and preference was given based on the level of glory one achieved during their lifetime. Such beliefs were preserved in a goddess who was put in the pantheon. The Greeks worshiped the goddess and offered offerings so that they could be blessed and achieve certain glories that will see souls sent to Hades.
Hospitality is another social value that the Greeks valued which is also revealed from the pantheon. The ancient Greek culture ensured that hospitality was embraced by all societal members, especially towards travelers. The Greeks offered shelter, food, and protection to any person who was a traveler and passing through their land (Burkhardt, page 05-36). A god was specifically assigned to protect the travelers in the course of their journey. The Greeks offered burnt offerings to appease the gods so that it protects these travelers. This is also captured in the story of Odyssey where Odysseus traveled to a faraway place and had to request for help. Though there have been arguments as to whether the Greeks were merely carrying their duty out of their nature or they were doing it out of fear of their god, what is clear is that they were a hospitable lot.
There is also the value of loyalty that is considered one of the most influential values within the Greek culture. The Greeks ensured that loyalty was embedded in everything that they did. (Tziovas, page 10-24)) There was loyalty to the family, their religion and even friendship amongst the Greek people. There were also higher levels of loyalty to the community among the Greek as well as loyalty to their gods. The pantheon clearly illustrates the loyalty the Greeks had on their gods as they had to go out of their way to build them a place they could stay. They also observed loyalty to their gods to the extent that they were not allowed to question the motives of the gods. Either, by accepting the fact that the gods could at times make mistakes, the Greeks showed greater levels of loyalty to their gods in the sense that whatever mistake that the gods did was to be part of them and not challenged. The gods occasionally sent the Greeks tests to determine the levels of their loyalty to them. The Greeks were expected to maintain higher degrees of faith as a sign of loyalty and belief in their gods. This, they did with a lot of determination and dedication to their gods.
Collectivism or togetherness is another value that is revealed through the pantheon of the ancient Greek culture. The Greeks believed in togetherness amongst themselves as their success greatly relied on them working as a team. There are a number of occasions that the Greek showed togetherness amongst themselves (Burkhardt, page 9-26). During festivities, the Greeks had to come together for purposes of celebration. Either, they would show togetherness during a war where the community took care of their warriors. The families of the people at the battlefields were also taken care of and the community dedicated a god for them. They had the duty of going to the praying points, which in most cases is the pantheon, and offered sacrifices to the gods. These sacrifices were to appease the god of war so that the warriors could be protected. They also showed togetherness when it came to service to the community. The Greeks could join hands in putting up community buildings as well as when harvesting in the fields. Whenever there were communal celebrations, the Greek were supposed to converge at a specific point where they could all take part in the celebrations.
Spirituality is another social value that is revealed in the Greek pantheon. The Greeks were a very religious group that put a lot of emphasis on their spirituality to a greater extent (Tziovas, page 12-36)). In the Greek culture, there was a specific day dedicated for prayers that people were expected to strictly observe. Special prayers were also offered periodically for specific purposes. There were a number of gods that they believed in and were taken to be sacred. There were also sacred prayer points where the gods were put to live. It is these points that the Greeks took to offering their sacrifices for purposes of blessings. This spiritual value of the Greek people led to the establishment of the Rome empire and eventually the advent of Christianity. Either, it led to the development of Rome as a state and religious town where people could converge and offer their prayers.
In conclusion, therefore, the values revealed in the Greek culture and their practices had a big impact in the determination of the greater modern culture. The history of civilization dates back to the period of the Greek culture. A number of elements in the Greek culture are still found in the modern-day culture. The heavy borrowing is a clear indication that the Greek culture is still valued in the present. For a culture to be valued, it must have strong values that people would easily want to associate themselves with. It is this strong culture that makes the Greek pantheon a great symbol and preserves their values.
Burkhardt, J. History of Greek Culture. Dover Publications, 2013. Internet resource.
Tziovas, Dēmētrēs. Re-imagining the Past: Antiquity and Modern Greek Culture. , 2014. Print.
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