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Greek and Roman Mythologies
Ancient Greece
Hermes (Mercury)

When did the Greek Gods originate?

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2011-09-15 02:02:30
2011-09-15 02:02:30

Before scientific knowledge available to us today, people invented divine forces to explain the forces of nature and events. We have physical archaeological evidence of this going back up to 60,000 years ago.

The familiar Greek gods were brought into Greece by nomads in the second millennium BCE, who replaced or overlaid the previous inhabitants and their gods. Being nomads, they had sky gods; the previous agricultural inhabitants of course had earth gods. The new gods had to absorb the old gods (just as in Christianity it has absorbed previous practices eg Christmas being reset from January to December to absorb the hard-to-stamp-out Saturnalia, and popular Isis was absorbed into Mary). So in Greece the earth goddess Demeter was retained as a mystery cult; Apollo raped the priestess at Delphi (ie pinched her shrine but kept the priestess and snake), etc etc.

We have an obvious high-god progression Uranus-Chronos-Zeus with each predecessor deposed by succeeding waves of nomadic invaders and their own substituted. And there were all the other gods who looked after different parts of the environment and activity (eg Hermes, as well as being messenger of the gods, was patron of medicine and thieves).

The Greeks themselves were aware of this succession of gods - the 5th Century BCE tragedies refer to 'the old gods' and 'the young gods' (ie the current ones).

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