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The Gods and Human Behavior

The greatest difficulty for humans lay in anticipating what might offend a god. Fortunately, some of the gods' expectations were codified in a moral order with rules of behavior for human beings. For example, the Greeks believed that the gods demanded hospitality for strangers and proper burial for family members1 and that the gods punished human arrogance2 and murderous violence. Oracles, dreams, divination, and the prophecies of seers were all regarded as clues as to what humans might have done to anger the gods. Offenses could be forgetting a sacrifice, violating the sanctity of a temple area, or breaking an oath or sworn agreement made to another person.

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