Greek Rituals Sacrified Children

     Find out what Greek Rituals were like and why the Greeks used to sacrifice animals, children and bad-looking people in their rituals. Greek Mythology for the real world.

Greek Rituals:

     Not only positive legacies were left by the Greeks. There is also a dark aspect, a widespread belief among Greek society about the existence of demons and ghosts that personified people's most terrible fears. This fear was often depicted in classic pieces, which represented poisonings, murders and deaths; many of the causes brought about by politics, others just by a simple cultural issue.

Rites in Ancient Greece:

     Rites of passage: they were moments of transition in which the individual submitted! Only through these rituals would a newborn, for example, be inserted and accepted into society. Before that, a baby could be discarded (as we often see in the city of Sparta). A young person would only become an adult and enjoy full citizens' rights after going through these rites. The rituals were divided into three phases:

1 - Isolation and marginalization of the individual;

2 - Transition and training for the new role to be played before society;

3 - Reintegration of society and the new social group.

Half the Babies were Dead on Sparta:

     At the time when male babies were born, parents were required to take him to wise government elders for medical examinations. If the child did not have a physical problem, the father could take him home, but if the baby was born with a disability or less healthy appearance, he was considered useless and was abandoned to die. The test also had a second phase: the baby was bathed with wine ... If he had any allergic symptoms, he was diagnosed as epileptic and was abandoned. 50% of babies were sacrificed in this dark part of the story.


     In times of crisis, war and plagues, when society feared for its survival, each city should choose its ugliest inhabitant - it is very likely that "ugly" in this context meant someone with some deformity. The chosen ones would be named Pharmakos and would serve as a kind of scapegoat, someone to be blamed on others.
     During the ceremony, which lasted for days, the Pharmakos were very well fed with the most exquisite delicacies available at the time, such as figs, cakes and cheese. They also wore good clothing and necklaces with black and white figs, symbolizing men and women. The purpose of the ceremony was to free the community from misfortunes and this was done with the expulsion of the chosen one from the city. Along the way, Pharmakos was chased and stoned, and could be sacrificed by the population. Other elements were thrown, like onion and garlic bulbs, which, in popular faith, repelled miasma, bad spirits and bad luck.

Romantism in Sacrifice:

     Greek society was obsessed with beauty and purity and those who escaped these standards were seen as a threat. Physical imperfections could even be seen as a moral failure, and as a result, many children with disabilities have been abandoned outside the city walls. 

     There is another important point: Greek mythology suggests that human sacrifice has the power to save a community. Therefore, the Pharmakos ritual was a catharsis, representing the purification of the whole society through the sacrifice of its marginalized members.

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