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Favoritism And The Powers Of The Gods

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Favoritism and the Powers of the Gods

In ancient times, people believed that their lives would be significantly better off if the gods favored them. In the Aeneid, gods were battling with each other over who would control fate. Even the Bible shows us incidences of favoritism. In a society where everything is governed by the gods, the favor of a god bestowed upon a person was extremely important. In the sources, The Aeneid and The Bible, favoritism and the powers of the gods play crucial roles in determining the outcome of the stories.

While reading the Bible, one cannot help but notice the obvious cases of favoritism. In the story of Cain and Abel, the Lord God is portrayed as a supreme being, who demands that the highest respect be paid to Him. In receiving offerings from Cain and Abel, God expects that they would bring Him only the best they could give. He took it for granted that each of the boys would sacrifice anything to please Him. However, this wasn't to be:

3 In the course of time

Cain brought an offering to the Lord

from the fruit of the soil, 4 while Abel,

for his part, brought one of the best first-

lings of his flock. The Lord looked with

favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on

Cain and his offering he did not.

(Genesis 4:3-5)

This passage shows that by giving an offering that is deemed worthy, the favor of God will shine down. However, the opposite also holds true, that if one's offering is only sub-par, then God will not look down upon you with favor, as is the case with Cain.

This idea is also portrayed in the story of Noah. The Lord God has seen that his beautiful creation has been corrupted, and decides that he will destroy all living things on Earth. However, God spares Noah and all of Noah's descendants because, "Noah found this favor with the Lord" (Genesis 6:8). The Bible describes how Noah sought the approval of God. In the story it says he was, "a good man and blameless in that age, for he walked with God" (Genesis 6:9-10). God concludes to save Noah because he obeyed Him and became what God wanted him to be, without ever relinquishing his own convictions and personal identity.

The idea of favoritism in Roman literature is extremely popular. Never was this more apparent than in The Aeneid of Virgil. In the Aeneid, when the gods became angry they look down upon the world and try to upset the flow of life. In the case of Aeneas, a Trojan War hero, some gods are working to help him, while others are doing everything in their power to hinder his voyage. On his side was Venus, the goddess of love, who is also Aeneas' mother. She provides all the assistance she can to aide Aeneus' voyage, and she also works unceasingly to keep Juno's wrath from affecting Aeneus. A perfect showing of Venus' assistance to guide Aeneas is when she prays for Aeneas to have a safe voyage to Italy:

I pray:

Permit this remnant to entrust their sails

safely across the waters. Let them reach

Laurentine Tiber if what I beseech

Is just, if fate has given them those walls.

(The Aeneid, Book V: 1049-1054)

This is just one instance of Venus using her power to help Aeneas. She wants to ensure that Aeneas has protection from any outside force that could possibly make his voyage unsuccessful. Overall, Venus does not want to see any harm come to her son, and she will do anything to protect him from danger.

Regardless of all the help Aeneas receives, there are also many barriers standing in the way of his fated journey to Rome. Juno, who is the queen of the gods, does everything in her power to keep the Trojans, but especially Aeneas, from completing his journey to Italy and thus fulfilling his fate. Even when Juno realizes that she cannot stop Aeneas from reaching his final destination, she will not give

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