Greek religion may be studied under various aspects; and many recent contributions to this study have been mainly concerned either with the remote origin of many of its ceremonies in primitive ritual, or with the manner in which some of its obscurer manifestations met the deeper spiritual needs which did not find satisfaction in the official cults.
attract his presence and serve as a ready channel of communication with him. From the point of view of art, it would seem at first sight that the result would be a desire to make the image as beautiful as possible, and as worthy an embodiment of the deity as the sculptor could devise. This doubtless was the result in the finest period of art in Greece, and it involved, as we shall see, a great deal of reciprocal influence on the part of religion and art. But in earlier times the case is not so simple; and even in statues of the fifth century it is not easy to understand the conditions under which the sculptor worked without some reference to the historical development that lay behind him.
Before the rise of sculpture in Greece, images of the gods, some of them only rudely anthropomorphic, had long been objects of worship; and it was by no means safe in religious matters to depart too rashly from the forms consecrated by tradition. This was partly owing to the feeling that when a certain form had been a
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