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How the gods were worshipped in ancient Greece

Ancient Greek cult- the sacrifice of a hogThe ancient Greeks would pray on their feet, with their hands up to the sky while they were praising Zeus and the other heavenly gods.

Whenever they wanted to worship Hades, the King of the Underworld, or other deities of the underworld, they would kneel down to the earth, powerfully hitting the earth with their hands in order to be heard loudly.

In their prayers, the ancient Greeks asked for help and support from the god or the goddess they were referring to, reminding them of all the good deeds they had done for them. They offered goods such as wine, oil, milk, sweets and nuts and sacrificed the fat and bones of animals such as rams, ewes, cows, bulls and goats, depending on what they believed that their gods preferred.

According to some beliefs, it had even come to attempts of human sacrifices, in order to worship deities such as Hades or Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.

Would a god find out that a human did not praise him like he should, the punishment was usually heavy and oftentimes eternal, like in the case of Meropis, who was transformed by Athena, the goddess of wisdom, into an owl because of her impudence.

Offers and sacrifices were made also to the dead, to honor them and have their protection. The ancient Greeks believed that the dead lived in Hades (the Underworld) and enjoyed the offers from their relatives.

marble water basin On the left you see a "perirrhanteria", which was a marble water basin set up near altars and was used from the 7th century B.C. for ritual purification of the worshippers and to sprinkle the sacrificed animals. The basin is stored in the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus.

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