Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gods or Mere Men? Marshall Best Discusses the Ancient Gods

     One of the fundamental background issues in the Guiamo Chronicles are the role of the gods. Today, we typically think of the Roman and Greek gods to be like what we find in movies like Percy Jackson. For instance, Hades is seen as the arch-villain with diabolical powers from the depths of fiery hell. Yet, the Romans record him to be quite the opposite. He was considered by the Romans to be a gentle and benevolent person who cares for the souls of the dead. More importantly, the ancients recognized openly that the gods were mere men who, upon their deaths, were given the honors of godhood. It is a form of ancestor worship.
      They gave their ancestors (particularly their inventive ancestors) the position of god, demigod, hero or man based upon the degree of their discoveries. If for instance, someone invented music, they would become the god of music. If someone invented a subset of this, for instance a flute, they would be honored as a demigod. If they invented a lesser thing, such as a particularly beautiful song, they would be a hero. Many of the gods were great inventors and are described as so in the ancient writings.  Even the Egyptians recognized much of this. They divided their own history into four ages. The age of the gods, the age of the demigods, the age of the heroes and the age of the pharaohs.
     Now in ancient Britain, the gods were found in the hundreds. They would also be an ancestor honored with godhood. Their domain might simply be over a particular stream or well, or perhaps a village, or if they were significant enough to the entire tribe, they would be a great tribal god. But in truth, the gods of old were mere men and women who were honored with godhood.

This is how they are portrayed throughout the Guiamo Chronicles and I think the reader will find this very intriguing.


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