Meaning of Apotheosis

Apotheosis is a term that derives from the Latin apotheōsis and that finds its most remote origin in a Greek word that can be translated as “deification”. The concept may refer to the granting of the dignity of the gods to the heroes.

Apotheosis consisted, in the ancient world, of a ceremony that invested some mortal (such as an emperor or another monarch) with divine characteristics. This supposed that those virtuous men, after their death, ascended to a category proper to the gods. It is important to note that apotheosis was also practiced in many cultures with ruling figures, kings, queens, princes and princesses who were wanted to be remembered for some kind of memorable action taken during their tenure.

The Greeks, for example, not only offered solemn and majestic funerals to the great men of their time, but also elevated them and rendered them divine honors through apotheosis.

Beginning and end of apotheosis rituals

This type of ceremonies have their origin in Ancient Greece and have been inherited by other cultures, such as the Roman. However in the case of the Greeks the deity to the hero was granted through an oracle, while the Romans did it through a decree of the senate.

There was, in turn, an extreme relationship between the adored figures and the constellation; so much so that it was believed that when one of them died it would come to occupy a place in the sky. When Julius Caesar died, for example, a paradoxical event took place; the moment he was killed a new comet was circling in the sky, the stella crinita. This further strengthened the people’s belief in the deity of this man who had been taken from them. The faith of the people was confirmed by the evidence and the apotheosis acquired irrevocable strength. Beginning with Caesar, the rest of the emperors who succeeded him were automatically placed on a pedestal, considered gods to the people.

When Christianity is established and a large number of followers are obtained, the divinity of these public figures is questioned; suddenly it seemed as if the people stopped believing that human creatures with supernatural powers could exist. However, what happened was that power and respect began to be deposited in bishops and saints and not in those who ruled the regions.

Acceptances of the term today

The notion, today and by extension of this classical meaning, is used to name the exaggerated exaltation or flattery of a person: “The singer’s apotheosis in his homeland became evident from the last series of concerts he offered in the local theater “, ” The truth is that I have my feet on the ground and I do not believe in any apotheosis, beyond the good intentions of the people “, ” Some officials celebrate the apotheosis of their superiors with the intention of achieving a promotion ”.

It should be mentioned that today the term apotheosis is used to refer to a highly enthusiastic manifestation that takes place at some point in an event, celebration or other type of collective act. We leave you two representative examples of this last case: “With the striker’s last goal, the apotheosis came”, “The public shouted and applauded in the midst of the apotheosis”.