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Artistic representation of the Statue of Zeus in Olympia Zeus in Greek mythology is the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky and thunder. Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort was Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He has many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. His Roman counterpart was Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart Tinia. In Hindu mythology his counterpart was Indra with ever common weapon as thunderbolt. Delphi is perhaps best-known for the oracle at the sanctuary that became dedicated to Apollo during the classical period. It had origins in prehistoric times and the worship of Gaia. The priestess of the oracle at Delphi was known as the Pythia. Apollo spoke through his oracle, who had to be an older woman of blameless life chosen from among the peasants of the area. The sibyl or prophetess took the name Pythia and sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth. When Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, according to legend, and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the sibyl would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied. It has been postulated that a gas came out of this opening that is known to produce violent trances, though this theory remains debatable. The oracle spoke in riddles, which were interpreted by the priests of the temple, and people consulted her on everything from important matters of public policy to personal affairs. Acropolis at Athens Roman Religions The Romans originally followed a rural animistic tradition, in which many spirits were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the cosmos and human activities, such as ploughing. The early Romans referred to these as numina. Another aspect of this animistic belief was ancestor, or genius, worship, with each family honoring their own dead by their own rites. Rome had a strong belief in gods. When they took over Greece, they inherited the Greek gods but fused them with their Roman counterparts. Based heavily in Greek and Etruscan mythology, Roman religion came to encompass and absorb hundreds of other religions, developing a rich and complex mythology. In addition, an Imperial cult supplemented the pantheon with Julius Caesar and some of the emperors. Under the Empire, religion in Rome evolved in many ways. Numerous foreign cults grew popular, such as the worship of the Egyptian Isis and the Persian Mithras. The importance of the imperial cult grew steadily, reaching its peak during the Crisis of the Third Century. 12 Roman month names are: Martius - Mars, the Roman god of war Aprilis - Latin aperire, "to open,” - spring Maius - Greek goddess Maia Iunius - Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter Quintilis (later Iulius) Sextilis (later Augustus) Septembris Octobris Novembris Decembris Ianuarius - Roman god Janus Februarius - Latin term februum, which means purification Stonehenge in Salisbury, England Became important part of modern New Age believes in Druidry- nature gods, wicca.
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