Los Dioses del Olimpo. Familia de Luis XIV
La familia de Luis XIV como los dioses del Olimpo. El rey como Júpiter, y la reina Mª Teresa , a su lado, como Juno. El resto de la familia adopta las personalidades de Apolo, Artemisa, Neptuno, Flora, etc. Jean Nocret. 1670, Versalles.

Los griegos fueron de origen campesino y su religión conservó siempre el carácter que le dieron en un principio aquellos hombres apegados a la tierra. El campesino, apenas levantado, se asoma a la puerta de su casa y en la madrugada de la mañana, con temor y respeto, eleva su mirada hacia la colina cercana. Allí, en la altura, reside un dios todopoderoso, Zeus, que puede convocar todas las nubes y distribuir las lluvias.

Al pasar cerca de un montón de piedras (un herma), parecido a todos los que a través de los campos jalonan su camino, se inclina, recoge una piedra y piadosamente la coloca sobre las otras; este montículo es sagrado: Hermes, el dios de los viajeros, lo habita. También es sagrada la tumba donde descansa algún muerto conocido, un héroe local. El campesino camina observando atentamente a su alrededor. El río que atraviesa, la fuente donde se abreva, están poblados de divinidades. La diosa Deméter protege el campo que va a sembrar.

Un gesto suyo, torpe o descuidado, en el mundo viviente y sensible que lo rodea, puede ofender a un dios, herirlo y desatar su cólera. Si sube a la montaña penetra en el ámbito menos familiar de los dioses que allí viven. Las divinidades de la naturaleza se agitan constantemente a su alrededor. Las ninfas de las aguas y de los bosques pasan escoltadas por la “dama de los lugares salvajes”. Artemisa, y el marino que osa aventurarse en el mar se somete a los caprichos de un dios irritable y celoso: Poseidón. Las olas del mar están pobladas de nereidas y sirenas que poseen la seducción mortal de los mundos desconocidos. Ante esta naturaleza extraña, a menudo hostil, el griego se siente seguro en su casa, protegido por Zeus, y cerca de sus genios domésticos.

Los griegos viven entre los innumerables dioses que ellos mismos han esparcido por el mundo. Unos son humildes divinidades de la caza y de los campos, asociadas a la existencia cotidiana; otros, grandes dioses más lejanos, que suelen manifestarse por ciertos signos: truenos, relámpagos o sueños y hasta se mezclan con los hombres, ¿Este extranjero, este mendigo —se suelen preguntar— no será un dios disfrazado?

Los griegos le atribuyen a la mayoría de los dioses, apariencia y sentimientos humanos. En los tiempos primitivos de su civilización, el griego había sentido la debilidad del hombre frente a las fuerzas desconocidas que lo asedian y amenazan. Incapaz de explicarlas, las atribuye a voluntades superiores a la suya, es decir, a voluntades divinas. Las venera bajo todas las formas en que se manifiestan: en la piedra, en el animal, en el viento, en el rayo. Después las va modelando a su imagen; un dios que tiene forma de hombre puede inspirar temor y respeto, pero no el horror a lo desconocido.

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