Greek city-state patron gods

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Ancient Greek temples were dedicated to a certain deity. A typical temple would have a statue inside. An altar would be placed outside, upon which offerings would be placed as sacrifices to the city's patron deity. The Parthenon is a famous example of an Ancient Greek temple.

Athena and Apollo are among the most common choices of patron gods of the ancient Greek cities.[1]

Examples of city-state patron gods[edit]

  • Athens worshipped Athena, the goddess of wisdom, as a patron city-state god.[2] The designation of Athena as patron of Athens occurred during the Great Panathenaea in 566 B.C., potentially coinciding with construction of the Altar of Athena Polias.[3] An epithet of Athena commonly referred to as Athena Alea, served as patron of the cities of Alea, Mantinea and Tegea.
  • Sparta worshipped Athena as their patron goddess, under the epithet "Athena Poliachos" (Athena Protector of the City).[4] However, Apollo was a favorite of Spartans and was widely worshipped in the most important religious celebrations in the polis.[5]
  • Delphi and Delos had Apollo as their patron god, and honored him as Delphian Apollo and Delian Apollo respectively. Delos was considered to be the birthplace of the god.
  • Elis and Olympia had Zeus as their city god. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.[6]
  • Syracuse, as with Athens, worshipped Athena. Reference to Athena can be seen on their city-state banner.[7]
  • Thespiae was a city/state that worshiped Eros. Due to this, the Thespian hoplites would bear the crescent moon symbol on their shield, the crescent moon was "the lunar Aphrodite". The was a bull's foot. Another name for Dionysus was Axios Tauros, which translates as 'worthy bull'.[8]
  • Corinth chose Poseidon, lord of the sea, as their city-state patron god.[9]
  • The patron god of Thebes was Apollo and Dionysus, also called Bacchus and Iacchos. Dionysus' mother, Semele, was a Theban princess. Sophocles includes in his play Antigone an ode to Dionysus, the guardian of Thebes. Because Thebans had close ties with Delphi, Apollo was also the patron god of the city.[10]
  • Megara worshipped Apollo as their patron god, and as such, he is lauded by the poet Theognis of Megara in his collection of works Theognidea as guardian of the city.[11]
  • The polis of Argos was dedicated to the worship of Hera.[12]
  • The island city-state of Samos, in the Aegean Sea, worshipped Hera too as their patron.[13]
  • Rhodes was a city on an island, which built the Colossus of Rhodes, a giant statue, in honor to their patron god, Helios.[14]
  • Both Eretria and Epidauros worshipped Apollo as their patron god. Eretria, as Apollo Daphnephoros; and Epidauros as Apollo Maleatas (Apollo's son, Asklepios, was also worshipped at Epidauros).[15]
  • The patron god of the city of Miletus, in Asia Minor, was Apollo. The sanctuary and oracle of Didyma, devoted to Apollo, was within Miletus' territory.[16]
  • The patron goddess of Ephesus, also in Asia Minor, was Artemis, who had been identified with an oriental mother goddess, like Cybele.[17] The Temple of Artemis, or Artemision, in Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • The city of Cnidus, in Asia Minor, worshiped Aphrodite as their patron.[18]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cole 1995, p.300
  2. ^ Buckley 2010, p. 103
  3. ^ Buckley 2010, p. 110
  4. ^ Cartledge 2002, p. 309
  5. ^ Peterson 1992
  6. ^ Connolly & Solway 2001
  7. ^ Hansen 2006
  8. ^ Rhodes 2007
  9. ^ Kearns 2009
  10. ^ "Antigone". Sophocles. Translated by Robin Bond.
  11. ^ Zhou 2010, pp.76-77
  12. ^ Burkert 1985, p. 139
  13. ^ Cole 1995, p.295
  14. ^ Connolly & Solway 2001
  15. ^ Cole 1995, p.300
  16. ^ Cartledge 2011, p.40
  17. ^ Fine 1983, p.128
  18. ^ Cole 1995, p.295

References[edit]

  • Buckley, Terry (2010). Aspects of Greek History: 750-323 BC. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415549776.
  • Burke rt, Walter (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674362810.
  • Cartledge, Paul (2002). Sparta and Livonia: A Regional History 1300-362 BC. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415263565.
  • Cartledge, Paul (2011). Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199601349.
  • Cole, Susan Guetel (1995). Hansen, Mogens Herman, ed. Civic Cult and Riv Duty. In "Sources for the Ancient Greek City-State: Symposium August, 24-27 1994, Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre". Kg l. Dansk Deliberateness Sealskin. ISBN 9788773042670.
  • Connolly, Peter; Sol way, Andrew (2001). Ancient Greece. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199108107.
  • Fine, John V.A. (1983). The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674033116.
  • Yearns, Emily (2009). Ancient Greek religion: A source book. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1405149280.
  • Lawson, John Schubert (2012). Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion. A Study in Survivals. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107677036.
  • Michelson, Jon (2009). "Ancient Greek religion"
  • Ostler, Nicholas (2005). "Empires of the World: A Language History of the World"
  • Peterson, Michael (1992). Cults of Apollo at Sparta: The Hyacinth, the Dairymaid and the Karnataka. ABM Homers. ISBN 9179160271.
  • Price, Simon (1999). "Religions of the Ancient Greeks"
  • Zhou, Unique (2010). Festivals, Feasts, and Gender Relations in Ancient China and Greece. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107665507.