I read somewhere that before Christianity, the Greeks worshiped the seven Greek Gods and eventually it was outlawed or forbidden.

My question is, Why was the Worship of Zeus and his kin banned?

I'm assuming there was a war somewhere in the answer and somewhere down the line, the people converted.

(I understand if this gets closed, I looked to see if their was a duplicate. Didn't see one)

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is more the history of mythology, not actual mythology
    – bleh
    May 3, 2017 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


Well, first of all, the Greeks had a polytheistic (pagan) society, which the Christians didn't have. They instead practiced monotheism. The Greeks never actually banned the practice of polytheism, but the Christians did. While the Christians were in the process of recruiting gentiles to Christianity, many people were still pagans.The Christians slowly recruited more and more people and there were less and less pagans in the world. Once Christianity became the religion of most societies, anyone, and I mean anyone, who was not Christian, was targeted, not only pagans. In a Christian society, if you weren't Christian, you were treated badly, and that meant the banning of polytheism. Now, there are modern pagans, but had they lived when Christians controlled most societies (they still technically do, but not in the same way they used to), they would most likely have been executed or forced to convert.

Christian religion control

More info on polytheism ban/end of Greco-Roman polytheism

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great_and_Christianity is relevant about the rise of Christianity as the religion supported officially in the Roman empire.
    – b_jonas
    May 3, 2017 at 20:21
  • @b_jonas Yes, and Greece (as an empire) was long gone by the time of the Roman support for the Christian religion. Plus, the Roman myths took a lot of inspiration from the Greek myths. Naturally Rome had already conquered Greece (although they did lose it), because of a stupid Greek General albeit, but they still won. Rome was really where the "ban of polytheism" occured.
    – Sam
    May 3, 2017 at 20:29
  • the question doesn't ask specifically about the Greek empire. It says "the Greeks worshiped the seven Greek Gods and eventually it was outlawed or forbidden". The Greeks as a group of people still existed under the Roman empire.
    – b_jonas
    May 3, 2017 at 20:30
  • @b_jonas Yes, however the Christians were not putting a ban on the worship of Zeus and his kin (although the question is still not great because it only asks about Zeus and his brothers and sisters), but a ban on polytheism as a whole.
    – Sam
    May 3, 2017 at 20:33
  • So essentially, like I say in my answer, this worship was banned because of the Christian ban on polytheism. This occured because Christianity became the religion for most societies. A path that was definitely aided by the Roman support for the Christian religion.
    – Sam
    May 3, 2017 at 20:35

Pagan religion was outlawed forcibly by Imperial Decree of his majesty Emperor Theodosius II.

The decree commanded the immediate closure of temples, oracles, schools etc that were even remotely connected to paganism. At some places of the empire, pogroms against anything pagan started directly after. They destroyed ancient temples, burnt 'pagan' books, closed the philosophy schools, banned gymnastics... They even attacked the tomb of Alexander the Great because he was pagan when he lived...

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It is the very point where the period of 'Late Antiquity' ends, and the period of the 'Middle Ages' start. Next time you visit Greece or Italy and you see ruins of ancient temples, remember that most probably fanatic religious mobs turned them to ruins.

  • Also, the cultural wars had begun before then. For example, in The Book of ACTS, the Temple of Artemis [Diana] in Ephesus (one of the Wonders of the World according to Herodotus) had an enormous burning of pagan writings and a riot resulted as Ephesus was being Christianized. Years later Rome was burned). The culture wars were evident in Acts, Revelations, and the rest of the New Testament.
    – user12711
    Jan 16, 2020 at 16:18

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