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Do you have to make a decision?
01-02-2010, 11:14 PM
Post: #1
Do you have to make a decision?
Do followers of specific types of polytheism have to choose their god? What I mean is, say if there is a legend of two gods fighting, does the polytheist have to choose one of those gods or is he faithful to both?
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01-03-2010, 12:29 AM
Post: #2
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
Really it depends on the religion. In some polytheistic religions gods have various aspects. God A would be over the harvest, while god B would be over cattle, so a farmer would pray to each god about different things. In others, people would take a particular god as their patron, and focus their worship on that god. In some religions you could choose which you did, or you might mostly worship one god but pay homage to others.

Also keep in mind that most gods weren't worshiped like Christians Jews and Muslims worship their god. Again it depends on the particular religion, but a lot of the older polytheistic religions didn't really see the gods as creatures that you beseech, or pray too, or coax to bless you. They just sort of were, like forces of nature.

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01-03-2010, 12:49 AM
Post: #3
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
(01-03-2010 12:29 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Really it depends on the religion. In some polytheistic religions gods have various aspects. God A would be over the harvest, while god B would be over cattle, so a farmer would pray to each god about different things. In others, people would take a particular god as their patron, and focus their worship on that god. In some religions you could choose which you did, or you might mostly worship one god but pay homage to others.

Also keep in mind that most gods weren't worshiped like Christians Jews and Muslims worship their god. Again it depends on the particular religion, but a lot of the older polytheistic religions didn't really see the gods as creatures that you beseech, or pray too, or coax to bless you. They just sort of were, like forces of nature.
So the romanticized story of Athens vs Sparta could have two different stories of the way their gods had a dispute?
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01-03-2010, 02:17 AM
Post: #4
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
Gee, I know my Greek mythology, but Greek history... little more fuzzy on. But if I recall correctly, the greek cities had patron gods. But that did not keep individuals from following gods of their own. Greeks and Romans were rather easy going about their religion, as long as you followed it in some way they didn't really care how you followed it.

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01-03-2010, 03:00 AM
Post: #5
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
We can see in the Rus peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire that both Veles and Perun are invoked together in oath, even though they represent opposing chthonic underworld/ celestial forces, constantly locked in a cycle of struggle and temporary peace. Perun frequently "kills" his enemy, but this only returns him to the underworld, his home, and neither one is ever destroyed. There was no line drawn between followers of one and the other, because both forces are necessary and have their place in the world.
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01-03-2010, 08:19 AM
Post: #6
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
(01-03-2010 02:17 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Gee, I know my Greek mythology, but Greek history... little more fuzzy on. But if I recall correctly, the greek cities had patron gods. But that did not keep individuals from following gods of their own. Greeks and Romans were rather easy going about their religion, as long as you followed it in some way they didn't really care how you followed it.

If memory serves (where is that book!), Edith Hamilton's The Way of the Greeks commented that worship of the gods meant some specific but relatively easy rituals as signs of respect, plus the following of straightforward moral codes. These codes did not come from the gods. They were embedded in common Greek culture and presumed to be natural and obvious.

The plethora of gods appears to have started as the patron gods of the various city states. When warfare among them became less frequent and trade and culture sharing more common, these multiple gods got merged in the popular imagination into a pantheon. Each one took on more exaggerated forms of its primary characteristics.

One common characteristic of these gods was that they were quite human. The Greeks were always a very humanistic people and could not imagine the gods as otherwise, for better or worse. That, according to Hamilton, was the single most important defining characteristic of the Way of the Greeks.
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01-03-2010, 10:36 AM
Post: #7
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
That was how the Egyptian pantheon started as well, with various cities having patron deities, and those deities coming together to form pantheons when Egypt united into first the two kingdoms, and then finally Egypt itself.

But in Egypt there wasn't really personal worship of the deities. The priests handled that.

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01-04-2010, 12:04 AM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2010 04:48 AM by Venedi Sporoi.)
Post: #8
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
Pantheons were seemingly shaped partially by the patron deities of cities. This happened in Greece and Egypt, as well as the Mesopotamian cities. If I recall, the famous city of Jericho is one additional example, being named after the Canaanite fertility deity Yarikh. It's a process that can be seen virtually everywhere in the ancient world where there were cities.

At the same time, many researchers believe that is only one stage of the formation, as one must imagine that even before cities were ever built, cultures in prehistory worshipped groups of deities. It also follows that many cities in the same region had common cultural forebearers who had populated the region in a time out of mind, and sometimes knew each other's Gods. For this reason, I think the formation of mythologies are better seen as the accumulation of different layers of influence over time. A good example would be the story of Uranos' catration with a flint sickle, which is likely a neolithic remnant.

What one sees is that as a city grows and flourishes, it takes its patron deity along for the ride- so we see Suen becoming the head of a Mesopotamian pantheon as his city Ur grows to eclipse others. We also see Anu, Enlil, and then Marduk rise to the top, replacing their predecessors in stories like the slaying of Tiamat. So one can see how such a process shapes a pantheon's structure. didn't arise from the orderly grouping of Gods from monotheistic city states, but probably from a much messier, chaotic sea of local deities in which a handful surpassed and/or assimilated the rest. This would be the result of multiple groups of Gods clashing, with some, such as the titans being elbowed out.
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02-03-2010, 11:52 AM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2010 12:02 PM by muslim girl.)
Post: #9
RE: Do you have to make a decision?
I have a wrong with translation
I have written wrong post
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