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A pantheon (from Greek Πάνθειον[1] - pantheion, literally "a temple of all gods", neut. of πανθεῖος - pantheios, "of or common to all gods", from πᾶν - pan, "all" + θεῖος - theios, "of or for the gods", from θεός - theos, "god") is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.

Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a pantheon of gods and the development of monotheism.

Pantheon can also refer to a temple or sacred building explicitly dedicated to "all deities", avoiding the difficulty of giving an exhaustive list. The most famous such structure is the Pantheon of Rome, built in the year 27 BC. The building was dedicated to "all gods" as a gesture embracing the religious syncretism in the increasingly multicultural Roman Empire, with subjects worshipping gods from many cultures and traditions. The building was later renovated for use as a Christian church in 609 under Pope Boniface IV.

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Specific pantheons

Fictional pantheons

Certain works of fiction and fictional universes include their own complete pantheons of gods, such as the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Dragonlance books, and various Dungeons & Dragons universes. Also, the Discworld series has its own pantheon of gods, each taking up a specific area (such as Anoia, Goddess of Jammed Drawers), and many of them parodies of Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods such as Sobek, Dionysus and Athena

Figurative use

Since the 16th century the word has also been used in a secular sense, meaning a set of exalted people. This meaning, in modern parlance, is often used to describe the rise of a person into that exalted group, e.g., "Mick Jagger has joined the pantheon of rock megastars."

References

  • Wrigley, Richard & Craske, Matthew (2004), Pantheons transformations of a monumental idea. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0754608085.
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