3 Answers

  1. If I understand it correctly, the question is what would have happened if the gods had become not just a reality of ancient Greek life as cult characters, but real figures of polis life, real politicians – since the Greeks did not know any other “public life” than the polis, and the intervention of the gods in private life remained a private matter. There were some attempts to involve the gods in politics: for example, the tyrant Peisistratus conquered Athens by coming in a chariot driven by a beautiful woman who was taken for Athena by the people. Therefore, in the scenario of intervention of the gods, a different political system was simply established, a meritocratic-oligarchic one, possibly with conflicts between the gods. In any case, unions of Greek states, proto-empires, would have been created faster – something that philosophers from Thales to Heraclitus and Parmenides tried unsuccessfully to do, and that Pericles successfully did.

  2. The real existence of Greek gods would have affected ancient society in the same way that the real existence of a monotheistic deity (Jesus, Allah, etc.) would have affected modern society.

  3. It would have affected, but definitely not in the sense of technological development, if you remember the myth of Prometheus, the gods of Olympus reacted badly even to the fact that Prometheus taught people how to extract fire. Most likely the gods would have used humans for the following things:

    1) Sacrifices that nourished the gods and at the same time the dead (ghosts), due to which the dead were kept in the kingdom of Hades. And including human ones (although not all the gods craved them, and some, judging by the myths, directly forbade them, like Poseidon).

    2) Magic wars-the gods would try to spread the ideas of courage and heroism in order to create more heroes among people, who would then be given weapons and sent to fight with various monsters.

    3) Hedonism – for most people, a regime of enjoying life would be established (both out of charity and so that people would think less about the fact that they are the sources of the power of the gods to some extent, and even more so that they would not try to steal ambrosia and nectar themselves). In addition, individual gods would strongly need hedonism as a source of worship (Aphrodite, Dionysus).

    4) Conventional warfare – (Ares, Pallas Athena and the war spirits would need sacrifices), the gods would provoke mortals to war. However, in this sense, they would almost not have to work.

    People's lives would be quite poor, all” passionate ” people would be sent by the gods to fight monsters or eliminated in one way or another. The rest of them would have lived in monotonous labor and rare but colorful pleasures (the gods would have made sure that the reward for labor from nature would have been plentiful).

    Sooner or later, the following things would have happened:: 1) People would gather and still steal ambrosia with nectar, and then “pile” on the gods, 2) The gods themselves would split and start a war with each other, because there was a strong rivalry among them. At the same time, the split would most likely be along the lines of “rational behavior” (worship of reason, science and the arts) – i.e. Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, Pallas Athena, Hephaestus, Helios muses, etc. and “natural behavior” (instincts, will) – Gaia, Hecate, Selene, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Hades, Persephone, etc. On the side of the “rationals” would be the most intelligent nature spirits, most likely nereids and possibly even titans, most of the heroes. On the sides of “irrationals” – satyrs, fauns, natural spirits of rivers and trees, monsters, witches and sorcerers (Circe, for example), as well as minor gods such as the gods of revenge, hunger, disease, and so on. It's just that rationals are disgusted by human sacrifice, excessive evil, and their worship is mostly rational, while irrationals should be given sacrifice and more wars, and they don't really care about keeping the balance. Recall that the Trojan war according to the myth was started by the goddess of discord Eris, who provoked first of all Hera and Aphrodite (the first of the goddesses was envious and vindictive, the second-petty and windy). Well, Pallas Athena there was in the top three only because she “complexed” because of her masculinity.:)

    P.S. This is if you judge by the myths, because the gods of Olympus are in fact largely selfish and extra-moral (they like to prescribe morality to others, they themselves live as they want), but at the same time they appreciate hospitality, heroism, masculinity, and so on. (which helped them survive.)

Leave a Reply