Etruscan religion comprises a set of stories and religious practices of the Etruscan civilization, originating in the 7th century BC from the preceding Iron Age Villanovan culture influenced by the mythology of ancient Greece and Phoenicia, sharing similarities with concurrent Roman mythology and religion. As the Etruscan civilization was assimilated into the Roman Republic in the 4th century BC, the Etruscan religion and mythology were incorporated into classical Roman culture, following the Roman tendency to absorb some of the local gods and customs of conquered lands; the Etruscan system of belief was an immanent polytheism. Long after the assimilation of the Etruscans, Seneca the Younger said that the difference between the Romans and the Etruscans was thatWhereas we believe lightning to be released as a result of the collision of clouds, they believe that the clouds collide so as to release lightning: for as they attribute all to deity, they are led to believe not that things have a meaning insofar as they occur, but rather that they occur because they must have a meaning.
Around the mun or muni, or tombs, were the man or mani, the souls of the ancestors. In iconography after the 5th century BC, the deceased are shown traveling to the underworld. In several instances of Etruscan art, such as in the François Tomb in Vulci, a spirit of the dead is identified by the term hinthial " underneath". A god was called an ais; the abode of a god was a sacred place, such as a favi, a grave or temple. There, one would need to make a fler, or "offering". Three layers of deities are portrayed in Etruscan art. One appears to be lesser divinities of an indigenous origin: the sun. Ruling over them were higher deities that seem to reflect the Indo-European system: Tin or Tinia, the sky, Uni his wife, Cel, the earth goddess; as a third layer, the Greek gods were adopted by the Etruscan system during the Etruscan Orientalizing Period of 750/700-600 BC. Examples are Aritimi and Pacha, over time the primary trinity became Tinia and Menrva; the Etruscans believed their religion had been revealed to them by seers, the two main ones being Tages, a childlike figure born from tilled land, gifted with prescience, Vegoia, a female figure.
The Etruscans believed in intimate contact with divinity. They did nothing without proper consultation with the signs from them; these practices were taken over in total by the Romans. The Etruscan scriptures were a corpus of texts termed the Etrusca Disciplina; this name appears in Valerius Maximus, Marcus Tullius Cicero refers to a disciplina in his writings on the subject. Massimo Pallottino summarizes the known scriptures as the Libri Haruspicini, containing the theory and rules of divination from animal entrails; the last was composed of the Libri Fatales, detailing the religiously correct methods of founding cities and shrines, draining fields, formulating laws and ordinances, measuring space and dividing time. The revelations of the prophet Tages were given in the Libri Tagetici, which included the Libri Haruspicini and the Acherontici, those of the prophetess Vegoia in the Libri Vegoici, which included the Libri Fulgurales and part of the Libri Rituales; these works did not present prophecies or scriptures in the ordinary sense: the Etrusca Disciplina foretold nothing itself.
The Etruscans appear to have had religion and no great visions. Instead they concentrated on the problem of the will of the gods: questioning why, if the gods created the universe and humanity and have a will and a plan for everyone and everything in it, they did not devise a system for communicating that will in a clear manner; the Etruscans accepted the inscrutability of their gods' wills. They did not attempt to rationalize or explain divine actions or formulate any doctrines of the gods' intentions; as answer to the problem of ascertaining the divine will, they developed an elaborate system of divination. These revelations may not be otherwise understandable and may not be pleasant or easy, but are perilous to doubt; the Etrusca Disciplina therefore was a set of rules for the conduct of all sorts of divination. Cicero saidFor a hasty acceptance of an erroneous opinion is discreditable in any case, so in an inquiry as to how much weight should be given to auspices, to sacred rites, to religious observances.
He quipped, regarding d
Ludi were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people. Ludi were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals, were presented as part of the cult of state; the earliest ludi were horse races in the circus. Animal exhibitions with mock hunts and theatrical performances became part of the festivals. Days on which ludi were held were public holidays, no business could be conducted—"remarkably," it has been noted, "considering that in the Imperial era more than 135 days might be spent at these entertainments" during the year. Although their entertainment value may have overshadowed religious sentiment at any given moment in late antiquity the ludi were understood as part of the worship of the traditional gods, the Church Fathers thus advised Christians not to participate in the festivities; the singular form ludus, "game, sport" or "play" has several meanings in Latin. The plural is used for "games" in a sense analogous to the Greek festivals of games, such as the Panhellenic Games.
The late-antique scholar Isidore of Seville, classifies the forms of ludus as gymnicus, circensis and scaenicus. The relation of gladiatorial games to the ludi is complex. All ludi seem to have been votive offerings, staged as the fulfillment of a vow to a deity whose favor had been sought and evidenced. In 366 BC, the Ludi Romani became the first games to be placed on the religious calendar as an annual event sponsored by the state as a whole. Games in the circus were preceded by a parade featuring the competitors, mounted youths of the Roman nobility, armed dancers, musicians, a satyr chorus, images of the gods; as the product of military victory, ludi were connected to triumphs. The first recorded venatio was presented in 186 BC by M. Fulvius Nobilior as part of his ludi votivi, for which he paid with booty displayed at his triumph; as religious ceremonies, ludi were organized at first by various colleges of priests. Although public money was allocated for the staging of ludi, the presiding official came to augment the splendor of his games from personal funds as a form of public relations.
The sponsor was able to advertise his wealth, while declaring that he intended to share it for public benefit. Although some men with an eye on the consulship skipped the office of aedile for the reason that massive expenditures were expected, those with sufficient resources spent lavishly to cultivate the favor of the people; the religious festivals to which the ludi were attached occasioned public banquets, public works such as the refurbishing or building of temples. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar at the Ides of March in 44 BC, Marcus Brutus realized that a significant segment of the populus regarded him not as a liberator, but as the murderer of a beloved champion, among other gestures of goodwill toward the people, he arranged to sponsor the Ludi Apollinares, held annually July 6–13. Caesar's heir Octavian at once upstaged him with Ludi Victoriae Caesaris, "games in honor of Caesar's victory," which ran July 20–28 in conjunction with a festival to honor Venus Genetrix, Caesar's patron deity and divine matriarch of the Julian gens.
It was during these ludi, which served as funeral games, that the comet famously appeared to "announce" Caesar's newly divine status. Octavian recognized the value of the festivals in unifying the people, as Augustus instituted new ludi within his program of religious reform; the ludi compitalicii were entertainments staged by the neighborhoods or community associations of Rome in conjunction with the Compitalia, the new year festival held on movable dates between the Saturnalia and January 5 in honor of the crossroads Lares. In the late Republic, performances were held at the main intersections of neighborhoods throughout the city on the same day. During the civil wars of the 80s, these ludi gave rise to unruly plebeian political expression by the neighborhood organizations. Freedmen played a leading role, slaves participated in the festivities. In 67 BC, the Compitalia had been disrupted by a riot at the ludi, which were the scene of disturbances in 66–65 BC; this unrest on the first occasion was a response to the trial of Manilius, who had backed reforms pertaining to the voting rights of freedmen, on the second is attached to the murky events referred to misleadingly as the First Catilinarian Conspiracy.
Along with some forms of occupational guilds and neighborhood associations, the ludi compitalicii were banned by the senate in 64 BC. An unnamed tribune of the plebs supported efforts to stage the ludi for 61 BC, but the consul-designate Metellus Celer squelched the attempt. In 58 BC, Clodius Pulcher, who had given up his patrician status to become one of the people's tribunes, restored the right of association, but before his law was enacted, his aide Sextus Cloelius had prepared the way by organizing new-year ludi; the consul Calpurnius Piso, father-in-law of Caesar, permitted the games though the organizations that ran them were still outlawed. Caesar banned the collegia and ludi again in 46 BC. In 7 BC, Augustus reorganized Rome for administrative purposes into 265 districts which replaced but which were still called vici. An image of the Genius of Augustus now
Squatting is a posture where the weight of the body is on the feet but the knees and hips are bent. In contrast sitting involves taking the weight of the body, at least in part, on the buttocks against the ground or a horizontal object such as a chair seat; the angle between the legs when squatting can vary from zero to splayed out, flexibility permitting. Another variable may be the degree of forward tilt of the upper body from the hips – see here and here. Squatting may be either: full – known as full squat, deep squat, on one's haunches, on one's hunkers, or hunkering – see text and see image gallery partial – known as partial, half, parallel, intermediate, incomplete or monkey squat etc. – see text and see image gallery. Crouching is considered to be synonymous with squatting, it is common to kneel with the other leg. One or both heels may be up when squatting. Young children instinctively squat. Among Chinese, Southeast Asian and Eastern European adults, squatting takes the place of sitting or standing.
Elements of squatting are used in everyday life without us realising it, whenever we lower our body. The variations in this section apply to full squatting but can apply to or have elements of partial squatting. Squatting for both legs can involve: heels down for both feet heels up for both feet, or the heel up for just one foot. Heels down squatting for both feet is the most stable arrangement of the three but most Western adults cannot do it. Where the heel is up for one foot, the thigh for that leg is more parallel to the ground than the other leg, additionally the heel up foot is planted further back than the heel down foot. Where the heel is up for both feet, it can be by different degrees thus giving two different thigh angles, it is common for one leg to be kneeling, while the other leg is: squatting with the heel down, or squatting with the heel up. Genuflection requires the heel down version of the squat/kneel combination; the kneel in the squat/kneel combination is just taking the heel up for one foot variant of both legs squatting a stage further.
The heel up squat version of the squat/kneel combination is a stage before both legs kneeling. Variations are possible as to which part of the toes touch the ground for a kneeling leg: the tip the under part the upper part; as a verb – early 15th century. Squatting in the sense of "crouch on the heels" is from the Old French words esquatir and escatir. Squatting in the sense of "compress, press down, lay flat, crush" is from about 1400. Meaning "posture of one who squats" is from 1570s. Act of squatting is from 1580s. Weight-lifting sense is from 1954. Young children squat instinctively as a continuous movement from standing up whenever they want to lower themselves to ground level. One- and two-year-olds can be seen playing in a stable squatting position, with feet wide apart and bottom not quite touching the floor, although at first they need to hold onto something to stand up again. Full squatting involves resting one's weight on the feet with the buttocks resting on the backs of the calves, it may be used as a posture for resting or working at ground level where the ground is too dirty or wet to sit or kneel.
Most Western adults cannot place their heels flat on the ground when squatting because of shortened Achilles tendons caused by habitually: sitting on chairs or seats wearing shoes with heels For this reason the squatting position is not sustainable for them for more than a few minutes as heels-up squatting is a less stable position than heels-down squatting. See dorsiflexion. Catchers in baseball and wicket-keepers in cricket facing slow deliveries assume full squatting positions. Australian wicket-keeper Sammy Carter was the first to squat on his haunches rather than bend over from the waist. Gopnik is a pejorative term to describe a particular subculture in Russia, the former Soviet republics, other East Slavic countries. Gopniks are seen squatting in groups, it is described as a learned behavior attributed to Russian prison culture. Gopniks wear Adidas tracksuits, due to them being popularised by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team; the Slav squat or Russian squat is associated with Gopniks in Eastern European countries together with stereotypical Eastern European behavior such as consumption of vodka and cigarettes and participation in street gambling.
It is a full squat with both heels down. Equivalents to the Slav squat in Western culture, sometimes with the hands together in a prayer position, are the rap squat, prison pose, jail pose, they are used as photographic poses. "Hunkerin'" is, in particular, the name applied to the American fad of resting in the squatting position in the late 1950s. Life referred to it as "sociable squatting"; such behavior had been seen in many cultures in Asia, for centuries when it became a fad in the United States in 1959. While the word "hunkerin'" is believed to originate from the Scots word for "haunches", claims were made for Yorkshire and Japan. Time reported that the craze started at the University of Arkansas when a shortage of chairs at a fraternity house led students to imitate their Ozark forefathers, who hunkered regularly; the fad spread first to Missouri and Oklahoma across the U. S. While males were the predominant hunkerers, it was reported that females were welcomed by many groups. Within months, re
Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism
Religion in the Greco-Roman world at the time of the Constantinian shift comprised three main currents: the traditional religions of ancient Greece and Rome. Early Christianity grew in Rome and the Roman Empire from the 1st to 4th centuries. In 313 it was tolerated and in 380 it became the state church of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica. Hellenistic polytheistic traditions survived in pockets of Greece throughout Late Antiquity until they diminished after the triumph of Christianity; the Romans tended towards syncretism, seeing the same gods under different names in different places of the Empire, accommodating other Europeans such as the Hellenes and Celts, Semitic and other groups in the Middle East. Under Roman authority, the various national myths most similar to Rome were adopted by analogue into the overall Roman mythos, further cementing Imperial control; the Romans were tolerant and accommodating towards new deities and the religious experiences of other peoples who formed part of their wider Empire.
The more philosophical outlook of the Hellenic parts of the Roman empire led to a renaissance of intellectual religious thought around the start of the 2nd century. Writings pseudepigraphically attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, discussing esoteric philosophy and alchemy, began to spread from Roman Egypt throughout the empire. Although such hermetica was written with the theological aim of spiritual improvement, each text had an anonymous and spontaneous origin, rather than being part of an organised movement. A more organised form of alatrist henotheistic panentheism emerged in parallel to Hermetism. In the 1st century BC Cicero's friend Nigidius Figulus made an attempt to revive Pythagorean doctrines, an effort, successful under Apollonius of Tyana in the 1st century. At least one major meeting place for followers of this neopythagoreanism was built in Rome itself, near Porta Maggiore, to a design similar to Christian churches, though subterranean. In the 2nd century, Numenius of Apamea sought to fuse additional elements of Platonism into Neopythagoreanism, a direction which Plotinus continued, forming neoplatonism, a religion of theistic monism.
Neoplatonism began to be adopted by prominent scholars such as the Christian theologian Origen and the anti-Christian Porphyry. During the rule of Gallienus, the imperial family themselves gave patronage to Plotinus, encouraged his philosophical activities. Neoplatonism was further developed by Iamblichus, who believed that physical invocations would be able to produce soteriological results, therefore added religious ritual to the philosophy. Emperor Julian tried to unify traditional Roman religion by mixing it with Iamblichus' form of neoplatonism. At some time around the first century, the members of the Roman military began to adopt the mystery cult of Mithraism; as the Roman legions moved around, so too Mithraism spread throughout the Roman Empire. Mithraism wasn't exclusive - it was possible and common to follow Mithraism and other cults simultaneously, it became popular within Rome itself gaining members among the more aristocratic classes, counting some of the Roman senators as adherents.
Although, for reasons unknown, Mithraism excluded women, by the third century it had gained a wide following. From the reign of Septimius Severus, less gender-specific, forms of sun-worship increased in popularity throughout the Roman Empire. Elagabalus used his authority to install El-Gabal as the chief deity of the Roman pantheon, merging the god with the Roman sun gods to form Deus Sol Invictus, meaning God - the Undefeated Sun, making him superior to Jupiter, assigning either Astarte, Urania, or some combination of the three, as El-Gabal's wife, he rode roughshod over other elements of traditional religion, marrying a Vestal Virgin, moved the most sacred relics of Roman religion to a new temple dedicated to El-Gabal. As much as the religiously conservative senators may have disapproved, the lavish annual public festivals held in El-Gabal's honour found favour among the popular masses on account of the festivals involving the wide distribution of food. Nearly half a century after Elagabalus, Aurelian came to power.
He was a reformer, strengthening the position of the sun-god as the main divinity of the Ro
In ancient Roman religion, the Arval Brethren or Arval Brothers were a body of priests who offered annual sacrifices to the Lares and gods to guarantee good harvests. Inscriptions provide evidence of their oaths and sacrifices. Roman legend held that the priestly college was originated by Romulus, first king of Rome, who took the place of a dead son of his nurse Acca Laurentia, formed the priesthood with the remaining eleven sons, they were connected with the Sabine priesthood of Sodales Titii who were originally their counterpart among the Sabines. Thus it can be inferred. There is further proof of the high antiquity of the college in the verbal forms of the song with which, down to late times, a part of the ceremonies was accompanied, and, still preserved, they persisted to the imperial period. Arval Brethren formed a college of twelve priests, although archaeologists have found only up to nine names at a time in the inscriptions, they were appointed for life and did not lose their status in exile.
According to Pliny the Elder, their sign was a white band with the chaplet of sheaves of grain. The Brethren assembled in the Regia, their task was the worship of Dea Dia, an old fertility goddess an aspect of Maia or Ceres. On the three days of her May festival, they offered sacrifices and chanted secretly inside the temple of the goddess at her lucus the Carmen Arvale; the magister of the college selected the exact three days of the celebration by an unknown method. The celebration began in Rome on the first day, was transferred to a sacred grove outside the city wall on the second day and ended back in the city on the third day, their duties included ritual propitiations or thanksgivings as the Ambarvalia, the sacrifices done at the borders of Rome at the fifth mile of the Via Campana or Salaria. Before the sacrifice, the sacrificial victim was led three times around a grain field where a chorus of farmers and farm-servants danced and sang praises for Ceres and offered her libations of milk and wine.
Archaic traits of the rituals included the prohibition of the use of iron, the use of the olla terrea and of the sacrificial burner of Dea Dia made of silver and adorned with grassy clods. The importance of Arval Brethren dwindled during the Roman Republic, but emperor Augustus revived their practices to enforce his own authority. In his time the college consisted of a master, a vice-master, a priest, a praetor, with eight ordinary members, attended by various servants, in particular by four chorus boys, sons of senators, having both parents alive; each wore a wreath of a white fillet and the toga praetexta. The election of members was by co-optation on the motion of the president, with a flamen, was himself elected for one year. After Augustus' time emperors and senators frequented the festivities. At least two emperors, Marcus Aurelius and Elagabalus, were formally accepted as members of the Brethren; the first full descriptions of their rituals originate from this time. It is clear that, while the members were themselves always persons of distinction, the duties of their office were held in high respect.
And yet no mention of them occurs in the writings of Cicero or Livy, that literary allusions to them are scarce. On the other hand, we possess a long series of the acta or minutes of their proceedings, drawn up by themselves, inscribed on stone. Excavations, commenced in the 16th century and continued to the 19th, in the grove of the Dea Dia, yielded 96 of these records from 14 to 241 AD; the last inscriptions about the Arval Brethren date from about 325 AD. They were abolished along with Rome's other traditional priesthoods by 400 AD
Thomas De Quincey
Thomas Penson De Quincey was an English essayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Many scholars suggest that in publishing this work De Quincey inaugurated the tradition of addiction literature in the West. Thomas Quincey was born at 86 Cross Street, Lancashire, his father, a successful merchant with an interest in literature, died when De Quincey was quite young. Soon after his birth the family went to The Farm and later to Greenheys, a larger country house in Chorlton-on-Medlock near Manchester. In 1796, three years after the death of his father, Thomas Quincey, his mother – the erstwhile Elizabeth Penson – took the name "De Quincey." In the same year, De Quincey's mother moved to Bath and enrolled him at King Edward's School. De Quincey was a sickly child, his youth was spent in solitude, when his elder brother, came home, he wreaked havoc in the quiet surroundings. De Quincey's mother was a woman of strong character and intelligence, but seems to have inspired more awe than affection in her children.
She brought them up taking De Quincey out of school after three years because she was afraid he would become big-headed, sending him to an inferior school at Wingfield in Wiltshire. It is said that at this time, in 1799, De Quincey first read Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge. In 1800, De Quincey, aged 15, was ready for the University of Oxford. "That boy," his master at Bath had said, "could harangue an Athenian mob better than you or I could address an English one." He was sent to Manchester Grammar School, in order that after three years' stay he might obtain a scholarship to Brasenose College, but he took flight after 19 months. His first plan had been to reach William Wordsworth, whose Lyrical Ballads had consoled him in fits of depression and had awakened in him a deep reverence for the poet, but for that De Quincey was too timid, so he made his way to Chester, where his mother dwelt, in the hope of seeing a sister. From July to November 1802, De Quincey lived as a wayfarer, he soon lost his guinea by ceasing to keep his family informed of his whereabouts, had difficulty making ends meet.
Still fearing pursuit, he borrowed some money and travelled to London, where he tried to borrow more. Having failed, he lived close to starvation rather than return to his family; this deprived period left a profound mark upon De Quincey's psychology, upon the writing he would do. Discovered by chance by his friends, De Quincey was brought home and allowed to go to Worcester College, Oxford, on a reduced income. Here, we are told, "he came to be looked upon as a strange being who associated with no one." In 1804, while at Oxford, he began the occasional use of opium. He failed to take the oral examination leading to a degree, he became an acquaintance of Coleridge and Wordsworth, having sought out Charles Lamb in London. His acquaintance with Wordsworth led to his settling in 1809 in the Lake District, he lived for ten years in Dove Cottage, which Wordsworth had occupied and, now a popular tourist attraction, for another five years at Fox Ghyll near Rydal. De Quincey was married in 1816, soon after, having no money left, he took up literary work in earnest.
His wife Margaret bore him eight children before her death in 1837. Three of De Quincey's daughters survived him. One of his sons, Paul Frederick de Quincey, emigrated to New Zealand. In July 1818 De Quincey became editor of The Westmorland Gazette, a Tory newspaper published in Kendal, after its first editor had been dismissed, he was unreliable at meeting deadlines, in June 1819 the proprietors complained about "their dissatisfaction with the lack of'regular communication between the Editor and the Printer'", he resigned in November 1819. De Quincey's political sympathies tended towards the right, he was "a champion of aristocratic privilege," reserved "Jacobin" as his highest term of opprobrium, held reactionary views on the Peterloo Massacre and the Sepoy rebellion, on Catholic Emancipation and the enfranchisement of the common people, yet was a staunch abolitionist on the issue of slavery. In 1821 he went to London to dispose of some translations from German authors, but was persuaded first to write and publish an account of his opium experiences, which that year appeared in the London Magazine.
This new sensation eclipsed Lamb's Essays of Elia, which were appearing in the same periodical. The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater were soon published in book form. De Quincey made literary acquaintances. Thomas Hood found the shrinking author "at home in a German ocean of literature, in a storm, flooding all the floor, the tables and the chairs – billows of books …" De Quincey was famous for his conversation, he soon exchanged London and the Lakes for Edinburgh, the nearby village of Polton, Glasgow. In the 1830s he is listed as living at 1 Forres S
Ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared similarities. Most ancient Greeks recognized the twelve major Olympian gods and goddesses:, although philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism used language that seems to assume a single transcendent deity; the worship of these deities, several others, was found across the Greek world, though they have different epithets that distinguished aspects of the deity, reflect the absorption of other local deities into the pan-Hellenic scheme. The religious practices of the Greeks extended beyond mainland Greece, to the islands and coasts of Ionia in Asia Minor, to Magna Graecia, to scattered Greek colonies in the Western Mediterranean, such as Massalia. Early Italian religions such as the Etruscan were influenced by Greek religion in forming much of the ancient Roman religion.
While there were few concepts universal to all the Greek peoples, there were common beliefs shared by many. Ancient Greek theology was polytheistic, based on the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses, as well as a range of lesser supernatural beings of various types. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not almighty; some deities had dominion over certain aspects of nature. For instance, Zeus was the sky-god, sending thunder and lightning, Poseidon ruled over the sea and earthquakes, Hades projected his remarkable power throughout the realms of death and the Underworld, Helios controlled the sun. Other deities ruled over abstract concepts. All significant deities were visualized as "human" in form, although able to transform themselves into animals or natural phenomena. While being immortal, the gods were not all-good or all-powerful, they had to obey fate, known to Greek mythology as the Moirai, which overrode any of their divine powers or wills.
For instance, in mythology, it was Odysseus' fate to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, the gods could only lengthen his journey and make it harder for him, but they could not stop him. The gods had human vices, they would interact with humans, sometimes spawning children with them. At times certain gods would be opposed to others, they would try to outdo each other. In the Iliad, Aphrodite and Apollo support the Trojan side in the Trojan War, while Hera and Poseidon support the Greeks; some gods were associated with a certain city. Athena was associated with the city of Athens, Apollo with Delphi and Delos, Zeus with Olympia and Aphrodite with Corinth, but other gods were worshipped in these cities. Other deities were associated with nations outside of Greece. Identity of names was not a guarantee of a similar cultus. Though the worship of the major deities spread from one locality to another, though most larger cities boasted temples to several major gods, the identification of different gods with different places remained strong to the end.
The Greeks believed in an underworld. One of the most widespread areas of this underworld was ruled over by Hades, a brother of Zeus, was known as Hades. Other well known realms are Tartarus, a place of torment for the damned, Elysium, a place of pleasures for the virtuous. In the early Mycenean religion all the dead went to Hades, but the rise of mystery cults in the Archaic age led to the development of places such as Tartarus and Elysium. A few Greeks, like Achilles, Amphiaraus Ganymede, Melicertes, Peleus, a great number of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, were considered to have been physically immortalized and brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, the ocean, or beneath the ground; such beliefs are found in the most ancient such as Homer and Hesiod. This belief remained strong into the Christian era. For most people at the moment of death there was, however, no hope of anything but continued existence as a disembodied soul; some Greeks, such as the philosophers Pythagoras and Plato embraced the idea of reincarnation, though this was only accepted by a few.
Epicurus taught that the soul was atoms which dissolved at death, so there was no existence after death. Greek religion had an extensive mythology, it consisted of stories of the gods and how they interacted with humans. Myths revolved around heroes and their actions, such as Heracles and his twelve labors and his voyage home and the quest for the Golden Fleece and Theseus and the Minotaur. Many species existed in Greek mythology. Chief among these were the gods and humans, though the Titans frequently appeared in Greek myths. Lesser species included the half-man-half-horse centaurs, the nature based nymphs and the half man, half goat satyrs; some creatures in Greek mythology were monstrous, such as the one-eyed giant Cyclop