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Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level and most commonly, the treatment of a human like a god. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre. In theology, apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject in a particularly grand or exalted manner.


The name consists of two kanji, 御 go meaning honorable and 霊 ryō meaning soul or spirit. Arising mainly in the Heian period, the belief was that "the spirits of powerful lords who had been wronged were capable of catastrophic vengeance, including destruction of crops and the summoning of a typhoon or an earthquake". According to tradition, the only way to "quell the wrath of a goryō" was with the help of a yamabushi, who could "perform the necessary rites that would tame the spirit". An example of a goryō is the Shinto kami known as Tenjin: Government official Sugawara no Michizane was killed in a plot by a rival member of the Fujiwara clan. In the years after his death, the capital city was struck by heavy rain and lightning, and his chief Fujiwara adversary and Emperor Daigos crown prince died, while fires caused by lightning and floods destroyed many of residences. The court drew the conclusion that the disturbances were caused by Michizanes angry spirit. In order to placate him, the emperor restored all his offices, burned the official order of exile, and he was promoted to Senior Second Rank. Even this wasnt enough, and 70 years later he was elevated to the post of Daijō-daijin, and he was deified as Tenjin-sama, which means "heavenly deity". He became the patron god of calligraphy, of poetry and of those who suffer injustice. A shrine was established at Kitano. With the support of the government, it was immediately raised to the first rank of official shrines.

Imperial cult

An imperial cult is a form of state religion in which an emperor or a dynasty of emperors are worshipped as demigods or deities. "Cult" here is used to mean "worship", not in the modern pejorative sense. The cult may be one of personality in the case of a newly arisen Euhemerus figure, or one of national identity or supranational identity in the case of a multi-ethnic state. A divine king is a monarch who is held in a special religious significance by his subjects, and serves as both head of state and a deity or head religious figure. This system of government combines theocracy with an absolute monarchy.

Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of historys most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philips assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his fathers pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire Persian Empire and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Beas River. Alexander endeavoured to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexanders surviving generals and heirs. Alexanders legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexanders settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century AD and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the Greek genocide of the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He was undefeated in battle and became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves. Military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked among the most influential people in history.


Ali ibn Abi Talib was a cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 to 661, but is regarded as the rightful immediate successor to Muhammad as an Imam by Shia Muslims. Ali was born inside the sacred sanctuary of the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. He was the first male who accepted Islam under Muhammads watch. Ali protected Muhammad from an early age and took part in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammads daughter Fatimah. He was appointed caliph by Muhammads companions in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. Alis reign saw civil wars and in 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa. Ali is important to both Shias and Sunnis, politically and spiritually. The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased according to sectarian lines, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth Rashidun Caliph, Shia Muslims regard Ali as the first Caliph and Imam after Muhammad. Shia Muslims also believe that Ali and the other Shia Imams, all of whom are from the House of Muhammads, known as the Ahl al-Bayt, are the rightful successors to Muhammad.

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