Cults are considered to be negative formations of religion. The rise of cults coincided with a people’s desire to practice religion as they wanted: to experience religious freedom. In the past, people were not all allowed to take part in the religion of their choice because of sex and status. Athens developed a democratic state around 5th century in the city-state of Athens, and that is where many changes to religion began.
The Rise of Cults in Athens Coincided with a Pan Hellenic Takeover
Most people call Athens the first democracy, but women and slaves could not vote. After a succession of different men in power, the power was split up into ten groups based on where they lived. Then, another succession of men held power until Pericles took power. After his death, democracy failed. When the Macedonians took power, the Pan Hellenistic religion started as rebellion against the state religion.
Women’s Power in Athens Flourished under Pan Hellenism and Cults
The religion that sprang up in Greece, Athens and the surrounding city-states was a state religion that all were expected to practice. For those who did not want to practice, they joined so-called “mystery cults”. The mystery cults gave people a feeling of awakening, doctrine, survival after death, communal worship and a band of spiritual fellowship. It counted the unheard and gave them both voice and power.
In Athens, women obtained power by becoming priestesses in temples and that gave them property, salary and respect. It showed that women were important to the survival of a country. Many women who held those positions were of noble blood and spoke about politics as well as religions. They helped shape nations, policy and schooling. They gave much to the society in Athens which is why they are still known today.