Those Who Once Reigned: Experts Name Famous and Forgotten Ancient Gods
Statue of a Minoan snake goddess or priestess. ( C messier/CC BY SA 4.0 )
Eventually, when the Mycenaeans took over the Aegean and assimilated into Minoan culture, this deity would evolve to A-ta-na-po-ti-ni-ja or Mistress Athena. Where this Mistress Athena stood in the Mycenaean pantheon is unclear, but by the time the Greeks emerged from their Dark Age circa 800 BC, she would start to take a backseat to other "more powerful" and male Olympians.
—Author and independent historical researcher, and Ancient Origins guest author Petros Koutoupis
4. Meeting Zeus and Hermes —By Paul Devereux
Ancient gods seem mainly to have been personifications of natural phenomena – which is why many seem interchangeable across cultures, even under different names. In that light, I could say that I once ‘met’ Zeus, the chief god in the Ancient Greek pantheon.
I was staying in a hotel room which had a balcony overhanging the ravine beneath the Delphi temple site. Late at night a thunderstorm erupted. It was the only time I've ever seen lightning flashing horizontally at eye level. I knew where the ancient Greeks got Zeus from right then and there.
‘The chariot of Zeus.’ ( Public Domain )
I ‘met’ him again on Crete while driving a dodgy rental car along a crazy winding dirt track (with a seriously precipitous drop on one side) up Mount Juktas, which rises above Knossos. I wanted to visit the Minoan shrine on the summit, but halfway up a bolt of lightning struck the mountainside above and sent a load of rubble showering down. Taking cowardice as the better part of valour, I retreated, asking Zeus to let me up to the shrine next day. I was granted permission and obtained some rare photos of this little-visited shrine when I returned.
My favorite Greek God is Hermes, probably the Roman Pan, who was the pre-dynastic Egyptian god Min. My first time in Greece I got lost on the mainland and just drove on without any idea of where I was going. Miraculously, while following a winding country lane, I was led to some fabled Greek sites, like Mycenae. It was as if Hermes, the messenger and wayfarer god, had hitched a ride and led me there. Better than SatNav!
‘Hermes’. ( TNS Sofres/CC BY 2.0 )
—Author, researcher, editor and presenter, and Ancient Origins guest author Paul Devereux
5. The Continued Influence of Phobus —By Adrienne Mayor
Even though his influence is still extremely powerful today, Phobus is a forgotten deity from classical antiquity. He is the ancient god of terror and the origin of the word "phobia." In antiquity, Phobus/"Fear" personified fright - especially the terrors of war. For example, when a huge Amazon army attacked Athens in Greek mythology, the citizens were so terrified that the great hero Theseus decided to make a sacrifice to Phobus. The sacrifice ritual required cutting the throat of a black bull over a black shield, then plunging one's hands into the gore while beseeching the god for courage in the face of terrible danger.
Phobus (Phobos) is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )
In 331 BC, Alexander the Great carried out the last recorded historical sacrifice to the god of fear. It was on the eve of the Battle of Gaugemela, when Alexander's men were severely outnumbered by Darius's vast Persian army. Against all odds, the Greeks overwhelmed the Persians the next day.
Although it is no longer common practice to sacrifice bulls to allay fear, no one can deny the rising power of Phobus and the horrors of war.
—Author, Stanford University Research Scholar, and Ancient Origins guest author , Adrienne Mayor
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6. Combining Deities: The Case of Horus and Jesus —Dr. Ken Jeremiah
With the changing religious beliefs of various cultures, certain gods were seemingly neglected or forgotten, while others were held in increasingly higher esteem. Although it is certainly true that some religions were wiped out by their conquerors, most cultures and religions do not stand alone. One deity’s important attributes are often applied to others; thus, divine representations are combined. Consider the god Serapis - its only purpose was to help unify the Egyptian and Greek populations. The government officials combined Egypt’s Osiris with Apis, a bull-like deity.