The Greeks were a polytheistic people. Their belief in the gods wasn't really a religion per se, because their gods didn't set forth moral guidelines for life. They were simply glorified (and immortal) versions of men, and were praised because of their greatness.Their religion was originally matriarchal, and land-based, but eventually the main focus centered on the male gods and became more secularized. Each emotion/thought/idea/object had a god/deity associated with it, although the Greeks didn't worship their abstractions. The main three gods were Zeus, who controlled the heavens, Poseidon, who controlled the oceans and seas, and Hades, who controlled the land of the dead. The Greeks basically had 12 (or 14) major gods, which they called the Olympians. They lived on Mount Olympus (hence, the name OLYMPIANS), and no one except the gods could go up there. One mortal tried, but he fell off the mountainside before completing his ascent. Most Greek myths center on Male heroes, like Herakles, Jason, Perseus, and Theseus. They completed great feats of cunning and strength. Creatures depicted the wilder side of the Greek life. Nymphs (which means 'young maiden') were tree spirits. If you cut down a tree you killed the nymph, or made it homeless, and it was better to ask the nymph permission to cut down her tree lest she incur the wrath of the gods upon you. After death the Greeks believed that you went to the underworld. Normal people went to Acheron, where they spent eternity as mindless shades. The heroes and great men went to the Elysian Fields, where the weather was always perfect, and life was just peachy. Tartarus was for the wicked people. Sisyphus will spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it fall back down just as he is about to reach the top. Let's just say that Tartarus is like the Greek version of Hell: the wicked will be tortured for all eternity, with no hope of redemption. Heaven didn't exist for the Greeks, as only the Gods could enjoy the heavens. No great creator was going to give them happiness in the afterlife, but Acheron kinda gives a new meaning to the phrase "Ignorance is bliss". Really only the heroes enjoyed themselves after death.

The Greeks believed that man was made by Prometheus, who formed them out of clay. He also gave them fire, and was chained to a mountain for it, with an eagle constantly pecking at his liver. He was immortal, though, so his liver grew back every night. Like the Judao-Christian religions there was a flood story. A man and a woman escaped, and by throwing rocks over their shoulders a new race of people was born (that's the race the Greeks considered them to be a part of). The original race was so plagued by the ills that a woman named Pandora unleashed accidentally on the world that the Gods decided to start all over, and flooded the earth. As ever ancient Greek knew, stone was stronger than clay.