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    Hellenistic religion

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Serapis,a Greco-Egyptian God worshipped in Hellenistic Egypt

    Hellenistic religionis any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived

    under the influence of ancientGreekculture during theHellenistic periodand theRoman Empire(c. 300 BCE to 300 CE). There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: theGreek gods

    continued to be worshipped, and the same rites were practiced as before.

    Change came from the addition of new religions from other countries, such as including the

    EgyptianGod(esse)s ofIsisandSerapis,and theSyrianGods ofAtargatisand ofHadad,which

    provided a new outlet for people seeking fulfillment in both the present life and theafterlife.The

    worship of Hellenistic rulers was also a feature of this period, most notably in Egypt, where thePtolemiesadopted earlier pharaonic practice, and established themselves asgod-kings.

    Elsewhere rulers might receive divine status without the full status of a God.

    Magicwas practiced widely, and these too, were a continuation from earlier times. Throughout

    the Hellenistic world, people would consultoracles,and usecharmsand figurines to deter

    misfortune or to cast spells. Also developed in this era was the complex system ofastrology,which sought to determine a person's character and future in the movements of thesun,moon,

    andplanets.The systems ofHellenistic philosophy,such asStoicismandEpicureanism,offered

    an alternative to traditional religion, even if their impact was largely limited to the educated elite.

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    1 Classical Greek religion

    2 Hellenistic religion

    o 2.1 New religions of the period

    o 2.2 Ruler cults

    o 2.3 Astrology and Theurgy

    o

    2.4 Hellenistic philosophy 3 See also

    4 Notes

    5 References

    Classical Greek religion[edit]

    Main article:Religion in ancient Greece

    Remains of the temple of Apollo atCorinth.

    Central to Greek religion in classical times were thetwelve Olympian deitiesheaded byZeus.Each god was honored with stonetemplesandstatues,and sanctuaries (sacred enclosures) were

    founded, which, although dedicated to a specific deity, often contained statues commemoratingother gods.

    [1]The city-states would conduct various festivals and rituals throughout the year,

    with particular emphasis directed towards the patron god of the city, such asAthenaatAthens,or

    ApolloatCorinth.[1]

    Religious practice would also involve theworship of heroes,people who were regarded as semi-

    divine. Such heroes ranged from the mythical figures in the epics ofHomerto historical people

    such as the founder of a city.[1]

    At the local level, the landscape was filled with sacred spots andmonuments; for example, many statues ofNymphswere found near and aroundsprings,and the

    stylized figures ofHermescould often be found on street corners.[1]

    Magicwas a central part of Greek religion[2]andoracleswould allow people to determine divinewill in the rustle of leaves; the shape of flame and smoke on an altar; the flight of birds; the

    noises made by a spring; or in the entrails of an animal.[3]

    Also long established were the

    Eleusinian Mysteries,associated withDemeterandPersephone.[3][3]

    People were indoctrinatedinto mystery religions through initiation ceremonies, which were traditionally kept secret. These

    religions often had a goal of personal improvement, which would also extend to theafterlife.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Classical_Greek_religionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Classical_Greek_religionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Hellenistic_religionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Hellenistic_religionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#New_religions_of_the_periodhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#New_religions_of_the_periodhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Ruler_cultshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Ruler_cultshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Astrology_and_Theurgyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Astrology_and_Theurgyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Hellenistic_philosophyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Hellenistic_philosophyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#See_alsohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#See_alsohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Noteshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Noteshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Referenceshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion#Referenceshttp://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hellenistic_religion&action=edit&section=1http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hellenistic_religion&action=edit&section=1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Greecehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Greecehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Greecehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wi