There is no doubt that a
feeling of gratitude to the gods for their protecting care, and the abundance
with which they were believed to bless mankind, has induced men of all nations
and in all countries to feel a desire to sacrifice to their divinities some
portion of the gifts so generously lavished upon them.
Among the Greeks, sacrifices
were of various kinds. They consisted of free-will offerings, propitiatory
Free-will offerings were
grateful acknowledgments for benefits received, and usually consisted of the
first-fruits of the field, or the finest of the flocks and herds, which were
required to be without spot or blemish.
were brought with the object of appeasing the anger of the gods.
In addition to those above
enumerated, sacrifices were made, either with a view of obtaining success in an
enterprise about to be undertaken, or in fulfilment of a vow, or at the command
of an oracle.
Every sacrifice was accompanied
by salt and also by a libation, which usually consisted of wine, the cup being
always filled to the brim, indicating that the offering was made without stint.
When sacrificing to the infernal gods the cup containing the libation was
filled with blood.