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Religion in Graecia
In some ways the Graecians are a very religious people, with countless temples and shrines built across the islands venerating their ancestors. Their ancestors, known collectively as the Pantheon, are numerous and well-followed and it is rare for any Graecian to at least not pay lip service to them. However on the other hand ancestors aren’t beings to be loved, rather feared. For all too often they are portrayed as petty and cruel.
So the ancestors are appeased with sacrifices, placated with offerings and soothed with praise. Priests, whose sole job it is to keep the ancestors happy, lead this effort and rally the populace into hosting great festivals and building huge temples in the ancestors name.
Whilst each individual priest dedicates his life to one ancestor, the populace as a whole often venerate the entire Pantheon; partly due to not wanting to place all their eggs in one basket, but also because different occasions call for different ancestors.
Take the example of a fisherman setting out from Troy to catch his wares. First, whilst sailing across the choppy waters of the Ionic Gulf, he might whisper a prayer to Poseidon to becalm the sea. Then, after working solidly until dusk, he might set anchor back in Troy and start selling his fish to passers-by, offering his first catch to Hermes to grant him good fortune. Finally, on the way back home and under a moon lit sky he might worry about wolves and worse things in the forest and pray to Artemis for deliverance.
As mentioned above the Graecian Pantheon is home to numerous ancestors, but it is led by a great twelve known as the Olympians. It is said that in archaic times the Olympians fought a great war against a rival Pantheon known as the Titans and in victory, imprisoned them within the darkest reaches of the underworld to plot their revenge. Certainly what cults remain of the Titans are hostile and antagonistic towards Graecia as a whole.
The Olympians are known as Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athene, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Dinoysus and Hermes and they are the primary ancestors the Graecians worship. They are exceptions, such as the Olympians brothers and sisters such as notably Hades and Hestia and also mercurial Pan and dark Hekate. However, to the Graecians, most other Ancestors are servants to the great twelve or are eventually subsumed by them.
This is actually quite common. For instance Hermes is sometimes known as “Hermes Thoth” to include any Aegyptian expatriates in his cult, in Argolis Hera is sometimes known as “Hera Argeia” to associate Hera with the great mother of Argos and in more recent times Apollo and Artemis’ temples have been strengthened via the incorporation of the cults of “Apollo Flamor” and “Artemis Safire”.
Magic is generally untrusted throughout Graecia as something potentially unwholesome. Most magos (as they are known locally) are trained within the cults of Hermes and Hekate. The Hermetics are entrusted with the safe keeping of the Graecian ritual and transport circles and for that are widely respected, but the followers of Hekate receive no such affection and often practice their faith in secret.
Channelling receives no such animosity and healers and physicians are most welcome upon Graecia’s shores. Although not every channeler automatically joins, many of them are members of the Temple of Asclepius, based in Epidavros. The followers of Asclepius are dedicated to the good health and wellbeing of their fellow citizens and aim to be apolitical; but in practice have been known to withdraw their services if their interests are threatened.
Necromancy is widely distrusted and rare. In some of the Graecian city-states it is outright banned. However behind closed doors the Temples of Poseidon, Hermes and Hekate all stand accused of dabbling with the unliving. The Temple of Hades is a special case for whilst some of the cults priests are the most ardent opponents of the unliving, others openly flaunt their abilities. The Temple is divided.