Free Greek Gods Influence Warfare Essay Sample

In the poem, The Iliad by Homer, religion, superstition, and deities play a major role in the life of ancient Greeks. The Greeks believe and interact with gods and goddesses in almost all aspects of their lives. In The Iliad, the Greek gods and goddesses are the cause and determine the outcome of most wars. The deities are usually unseen, but can choose when to make themselves perceptible, and to whom by taking any human shape. For example, the goddess, Athena appears to a man called Diomedes. She wants a favor from him so she “raise[s] the veil so that can see the goddess”.  Athena takes different forms when interacting with humans. She could turn into a bird, or another human. Other gods take different forms and have the same freedom of interaction. They disappear or appear to mortals at will.

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The gods and goddesses use the humans for their personal gains and intentions. They recognize the fact that the Greek humans respect and adore the deities. Therefore, they use this to their advantage to fight rival gods. In Iliad, Athena and Hera hate the Trojans, hence the two hurt Aphrodite who in turn spurs Zeus to enter the Trojan and Achaeans conflict. On the contrary, Zeus, support the Trojans together with Aphrodite and Artemis. Greeks under the leadership of Kings travel to attack city of Troy during the war. Hera promises Achilles great wealth and gifts so that he could spare the life of Agamemnon, a Greek leader who took away his girlfriend. Achilles does not kill Agamemnon out of the respect of Athena and Hera as goddesses.

The god and goddesses interact freely with humans, though in disguise. They are wiser and more powerful so they know most human weaknesses. They therefore manipulate humans using simple schemes like seduction, promises of power, and wealth. Poseidon is angry that the Trojans did not pay him for helping construct a might wall about the city to protect Troy from the sea, therefore, to avenge he leads the Achaeans combat that kill many Trojans. The humans in turn had their ways of convincing the god to do favors for them. They offered gifts, prayers, and sacrifices when making requests since they knew this motivated the gods. For example, Apollo answers Chryses’ prayers when Agamemnon captures her by unleashing a ten-day plague over the Achaeans.

The consequences of the human-god interactions were more warfare and rivalry in ancient Greece. The immortals used the mortals as objects of their god-to-god rivalry. The gods argued among themselves and made the humans their battlefield. The outcomes of the human battles depended on which god was supporting which side at a certain time. The humans lost trust for the gods when they started realizing that the relationship was one-sided and not representative. All they did was for the benefits of the gods.

Whereas some gods (like Zeus) stood for justice and were for the opinion that human affairs be left to humans, some god and goddesses influenced human decisions which led to division and hatred between human factions. Poseidon is always making alliances with goddess Hera, who is Zeus wife to make sure that Zeus stays away from the Achaean-Trojans conflict. Consequently, using lies, Hera confiscates Aphrodite’s sexual seduction charms that she used to make Zeus sleep in love for some time while Poseidon led a campaign against the Trojans.   


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