Hubris, intentionally dishonouring behaviour, was a powerful term of moral condemnation in ancient Greece; and in Athens, and perhaps elsewhere, it was also treated as a serious crime. The common use of hubris in English to suggest pride, over-confidence, or alternatively any behaviour which offends divine powers, rests, it is now generally held, on misunderstanding of ancient texts, and concomitant and over-simplified views of Greek attitudes to the gods have lent support to many doubtful, and often over-Christianizing, interpretations, above all of Greek tragedy.The best ancient discussion of hubris is found in *Aristotle's Rhetoric: his definition is that hubris is ‘doing and saying things at which the victim incurs shame, not in order that one may achieve anything other than what is done, but simply to get pleasure from it. For those who act in return for something do not commit hubris, they avenge themselves. The cause of the pleasure for those committing hubris is that by harming people, they think themselves superior; that is why the young and the rich are hubristic, as they think they are superior when they commit hubris’ (Rh.
Ceremonies were not identical all over Greece. For example, at Sparta they included a mock abduction (Plut.Lyc. 15. 3). But they were shaped by largely similar perceptions about the ceremony and the deities concerned with it. Thus, *Artemis was concerned with the girl's transition to womanhood, *Hera, especially as Hera Teleia, with the institution of marriage, *Aphrodite with its erotic aspect. The evidence is more plentiful for Athens, where it includes images on vases, some of which (e.g. the loutrophoroi) were actually used in the wedding ceremony. What follows is centred on Athens. But the main elements were common to all; thus, the form of the preliminary *sacrifices and offerings may have varied from place to place, but such sacrifices and offerings were made everywhere. After a ritual bath, in water carried in loutrophoroi from a particular spring or river, in Athens *Callirrhoë, the bride and groom were dressed and (especially the bride) adorned.
The category of “sacred laws” is one within which modern scholarship on Greek religion assembles inscriptions which in various ways regulate the conduct of cult. Many have a broadly policing function: fines or other punishments are imposed for cutting wood, pasturing animals, lighting fires within a sanctuary, or disorderly conduct at a festival. Some deal with other aspects of sanctuary management such as the positioning and care of votive offerings. Some prescribe ritual activities such as processions or sacrifices to be conducted at new or reorganized festivals; the financing of cult is often a concern. Many define the duties and perquisites of priests and priestesses. A distinctive subclass is the “sale of priesthood” text, from those parts of the east Greek world where some priesthoods were so allocated. Each time a sale was to occur, a job description was published which functioned as a cross between advertisement and contract. Calendars listing month by month the sacrifices to be offered by a particular city or subgroup within one are also conventionally included among sacred laws.