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Markus Kempin
Mr. Ross
Social Studies 7-A
May 24th, 2015
Impact of the gods
How did the gods affect the life of humans, and how did they react?
Imagine being a sailor for the Greek Navy. You are about to set out on a
2-day voyage to attack a city. You have been warned that there has been
drownings and shipwrecks before and youre nervous. The god of the sea;
Poseidon is said to be one of the most moody gods ever and you want to please
him in order for you to be safe at sea. You and your crew sacrifice a horse and
pray to him before leaving. According to ancient Greeks the Olympians or gods
had been in control of earth since 1684 BCE, before that the Titans ruled earth.
All of the gods divine powers brought miracles to earth but catastrophes too.
Since then humans had had to respect and please the gods in order to be
happy, prosperous and survive. Each god has unique abilities and attributes.
When they are pleased or unpleased either because of human or personal
matters they would affect the weather, disasters, seasons and life in general.
Poseidon would affect the ocean, Zeus the weather & health and Demeter the
seasons. (include ways they affect human life)
Poseidon was known as the god of the sea. He had a nickname known as
the Earth Shaker because when he got angry he would cause earthquakes.
When Poseidon was in a good mood he created new islands and offered calm
seas. When he was not worshiped he struck the ground with his trident and

caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drowning and shipwrecks. To prevent all


of this, people would drown horses as a sacrifice. People sacrifice horses
because Poseidon created them. This is because of the fact that when Poseidon
desired Demeter he became eager to gain her love. In order to put Poseidon
off, Demeter told him to create the most beautiful animal the world had ever
seen. In this quest he created many animals but never got the perfect animal.
By the time he accomplished his goal and created the horse his love for
Demeter had faded. Many soldiers used to do this before battle in order to be
able to sail in clam seas. Fisherman also performed this.
Zeus had 3 main jobs, one to be the leader of the Olympians, two to
control the weather and three to cause disease, cure, birth and death. Zeus
would punish people who disobeyed the law, lied or betrayed people. When he
got mad he would make huge thunderstorms. In order to prevent storms people
would pray to Zeus, as well as not disobey the law, lie or betray. In a famous
myth the Greeks sacrificed Iphigenia in order for the Greek ships sail to Troy.
The people would use the gods for healing, using customary and routinely
rituals, hymns, prayers and sacrifice. The healing cures of the Greeks consisted
of 2 main ways: Direct- Through divine intervention, commonly transiting divine
power into body (example) (through substance or object). The healing power of
the gods was transmitted by simple divine presence, by the laying-on of hands,
through some sacred object, or through the channel of a priest or sacred
animal. An example is a story told by Marinos about Procious and how he was
suffering from arthritis. He had covered the fingers in cloth and the sacred
sparrow picked away at it. When the cloth was off so was the disease. Gaining
power to cure oneself by touching the image of the god, or his altar, was often

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used. For example, the statues of Theagenes in Thasos, Pulydamas at Olympia,
and the Corinthian general Pelichos was thought to possess healing powers for
fevers. Another way of healing is through indirect cures. They are obtained by
following directions gotten through dreams and visions. Fragments from the
shrine at Lebena recorded cures of remedies indicated by the gods in visions.
Therapies included mild and innocent purgatives, roots, herbs, diets, fasts,
rubbing with ointments, baths, and gymnastics.

Hades ruled the underworld. The underworld was connected to the living
world by the river of Styx. Charon rowed dead spirits through this river. There is
Tartarus, which is for the very bad. There is the Asphodel Meadow for the
neutral people. Then there are the Elysian Fields, which are for the heroes,
kings and holy mortals. He fell in love with Persephone (daughter of Demeter).
Hades abducted Persephone and forced her to live with him. Hermes said that
if she did not eat anything than she must be returned to Olympus. Hades
tricked her into eating a pomegranate seed. Therefore she lived half a year in
the underworld and another half in Olympus. Demeter was the god of harvest
and seasons. Therefore when she didnt have Persephone she didnt let things
grow (winter) and when she did she allowed crops to grow (summer). From my
research people argued that Demeter would cause life and death instead or
harvest and no harvest, but due to the fact she is the god of harvest it is more
reasonable that she caused crop seasons and no crop seasons. Farmers would
pray to her for good crops as well as pray to Persephone so she could return to
Demeter early. They believed that if they didnt pray to Demeter they would
get bad crops and not be able to feed their families.

Gods will always have divine powers in any religion and will always affect
humans in some way. Poseidon, Zeus, Hades and Demeter are only 4 of so
many gods which each played a vital role in Greek life. People might look as
these examples as just stories but for Greek people they believed in these
stories. All of these gods each are believed to be in charge of something, which
they will affect depending on their mood, worshipers and personal life. Imagine
what the Greeks wouldve done without the belief that their gods protect them
and could help their sick relatives?