Cultura e Letteratura
Ancient Gods

Ancient Gods

Ancient Gods

Explore the fascinating gods of the ancient world and find out about their myths, rites, temples and worship. Learn about the polytheistic beliefs of the ancient Sumerians, Canaanites, Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Celts, Norse and pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons, and discover some of their most evocative sacred stories, locations and figures. Plus, investigate the secret world of household deities and be amazed by the weird quirks and bizarre responsibilities of some of the strangest gods in history.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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6,85 €

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1 minuti
ancient gods

Who were the gods of the ancients? Some of them are still familiar figures today: the well-known gods of Egypt, Greece and Rome have long outlived the worshippers that built their great temples; the gods of Scandinavia have built an unexpectedly lucrative movie career. But what about some of the others? The ancient world was packed with incredible, powerful, and strange deities. They were patrons of all sorts of things, from weather and crops to objects and concepts – if you can think of it, it’s highly likely that somewhere had a god whose job it was to look after it. There were gods whose legends spread from place to place and gods whose worship never left their native lands, although it’s surprising to see quite how many disparate places shared…

1 minuti
ancient gods

Future PLC Richmond House, 33 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EZ Editorial Editor April Madden Designer Perry Wardell-Wicks Editorial Director Jon White Senior Art Editor Andy Downes All About History Editorial Editor Jonathan Gordon Senior Designer Kym Winters Editor in Chief Tim Williamson Senior Art Editor Duncan Crook Contributors Dee Dee Chainey, Steve Dacombe, Andy Downes, Ben Gazur, Katharine Marsh, Poppy-Jay Palmer, Katy Stokes, Steve Williams Cover images Alamy, Getty, Wiki Advertising Media packs are available on request Commercial Director Clare Dove International Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw Circulation Head of Newstrade Tim Mathers Production Head of Production Mark Constance Production Project Manager Clare Scott Advertising Production Manager Joanne Crosby Digital Editions Controller Jason Hudson Production Managers Keely Miller, Nola Cokely, Vivienne Calvert, Fran Twentyman Management Chief Content Officer Aaron Asadi Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Head of Art & Design Greg Whitaker Printed by William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT Distributed by Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place,…

2 minuti
history of the gods

Whatever your view of religion, it is impossible to deny the power of the divine in human history. In the earliest written texts of the Sumerians from over 3000 BCE the gods spring out fully formed. Even before the invention of writing, then, humans had been worshipping a variety of deities, and as soon as they were able to they wrote about them. Of the gods that existed before written accounts, all we are left with is a handful of haunting images of lost gods that archaeologists pull from the ground. It is sometimes easy to mock the ancient gods. For early Christian authors they were small things. “Who needs a god of hinges?” Saint Augustine asked Romans who prayed to Cardea. When even a scratch could cause a deadly infection,…

2 minuti
timeline: a history of the gods

38,000 BCE Lion (wo)Man Discovered in a cave in Germany this statue of a half-lion, half-human is the earliest known example of figurative art. The Löwenmensch figurine is carved from mammoth ivory and may represent an early spirit or deity. 9000 BCE The first temple? Around 9,000 years ago at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, hunter-gatherers came together to erect one of the world’s first religious monuments. For around 2,000 years the site was used and added to before being abandoned and deliberately buried. 3000 BCE Sumerians write it down We know complex religions existed before the invention of writing because as soon as the Sumerians created cuneiform they wrote down stories of deities as elaborate as any that would come later. 2400 BCE Pyramid Texts In Egyptian pyramids, long spells and rituals were carved into the walls. Their aim was to…

5 minuti
digging for deities

Until relatively recently, many of the ancient religions of the world were lost and forgotten. References in classical texts might give a hint of the pantheons but often these were skewed by the views of their authors. Herodotus claimed to have heard about Egyptian gods from priests but then described them as if they were Greek deities. The voices of the priests themselves were silenced. All that changed in the 19th century. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon’s soldiers in 1799 gave us a direct view into ancient Egypt. On this stone is written the same inscription in three languages: Greek, Demotic, and Hieroglyphic. With Greek well understood and Demotic translated, it was possible for scholars to work out how to read hieroglyphics. Thousands of inscriptions suddenly became clear,…

1 minuti
underground cults

Across the Roman world, strange underground temples have been discovered dedicated to the little-known god Mithras. Part of the reason Mithras is so little known is because members of his cult were sworn to secrecy about his worship. To reconstruct what took place in his cave-like temples historians must rely on the scant clues left in archaeological record. A Mithraeum temple mostly follows exactly the same layout. Usually Mithraea were created from existing caves or constructed so as to look like caverns with a single entrance leading into a long chamber that ends with an altar or stone relief. Along the sides of the chamber are two banks of seats. The most striking feature is the carved image of Mithras found at the heart of every temple. Known as the Tauroctony…