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Page 10

Greek Sacrifices

 

    The two chief elements of Greek worship, however, are not consideration of the future, but sacrificial and prayer. Sacrifices in their simple form, as we have seen, take place continually, before every routine act. They become more formal when the proposed action is really important, or when the suppliant wishes to give thanks for some boon, or, at rarer intervals, to desire purification from some offense. There is no need of a priest for the simpler sacrifices. The father of the family can pour out the libation, can burn the food upon the altar, can utter the prayer for all his house; but in the greater sacrifices a priest is desirable, not as a sacred intermediary betwixt god and man, but as an expert to advise the worshipper what are the competent rites, and to keep him from ignorantly angering heaven by unhappy words and actions.[10]

    Let us witness a sacrifice of this more formal kind, and while doing so we can tread upon the spot we have seemed in a manner to shun during our wanderings through Athens, the famous and holy Acropolis.

 

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